The Prichard Committee’s position on charter’s schools has been consistent since 2015: Kentucky doesn’t need charter schools to improve student outcomes. However, if done well, research shows public charter schools can be a tool in the toolbox to increase student outcomes, particularly for historically marginalized students in urban areas. To ensure public charter schools are done well, legislation should require high levels of transparency, strong and effective oversight, and accountability equal to or greater than that of traditional public schools. The pilot program in House Bill 9 is not set up with legislative language ensuring these initial charters will be done well.
With the expected passage of House Bill 9 by the Senate, it’s important that legislative sponsors send a clear message regarding the quality of these pilot applicants for a public charter in Louisville and northern Kentucky. There should be no less expectation that these early public charter schools meet the quality criteria laid out in Section 4 of the bill. In fact, nothing less than quality should do – and surely nothing less will do for Kentucky’s students.
A key principle of our position on charter schools is that funding for public charter schools should not diminish the resources available to school districts to educate and increase achievement for all students. Any proposal must guarantee that schools and districts are adequately and equitably funded according to Kentucky law as outlined in Rose v. Council for Better Education. We urge the House and the Senate to come to a budget agreement that fully funds kindergarten and school transportation – helping pull Kentucky out of the bottom third of the nation for investment in K-12 education and freeing up local taxpayer dollars, currently going to pay for those services.
Preparing each and every student for success in the future economy must be an imperative – for our communities and policy-makers alike. Nothing less than good policy, effective practice, and strong investment will do to ensure a prosperous future for all Kentuckians.
Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence