When Gov. Steve Beshear announced the budget compromise, he left the door open to adding other topics to the special session of the General Assembly. He should resist the urge to include a charter schools bill in his call.
Charter schools are exempt from most of the rules that govern public schools and are permitted to devise their own curriculums. They have been popular among conservatives who believe the public school system has failed and that alternatives are needed.
In other places, charter schools have failed. A recent New York
story documented problems, especially with for-profit firms that are brought in to manage charter schools. A study in Milwaukee found little diff erence in test scores between children in charter schools and in public schools.
We already have many of the advantages of charter schools in Kentucky — in the public sector. Among these are school councils, which afford parents an opportunity to govern their own schools. In Jeff erson County, students have a wide array of choices through magnet, traditional and neighborhood schools. Both parents and businesses like things the way they are.
It is true that the state might have placed better in the Race to the Top competition if we had charter schools. But a chase after some stimulus dollars is hardly worth upsetting a strong public education system.
— The Courier-Journal, Louisville