Kentucky Students and Teachers Need Choice

Charter schools often allow innovation not found in public schools that are bound by monopoly bargaining contracts and teacher union power.   Nina Reese, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and Joe Williams of  Democrats for Education Reform understand the need for schools that allow teachers to put students’ needs first.   Check out their op-ed in the Louisville Courier-Journal

Every parent has  dreams     for their children.  Dreams that they will grow up healthy and happy, do well in school, go to college, and be successful beyond their wildest imaginings. Maybe he will start his own company; maybe she will be an engineer. When you hold your child for the first time, you know you will do anything you can to give her every opportunity in the world.

For too many Kentucky families, dreams don’t come true and the doors to opportunity remain closed. We all know a good education is critical, but we’ve let too many Kentucky schools fail parents and their children for far too long. According to The Nation’s Report Card, only one in three Kentucky fourth- and eighth-graders read at or above grade level. In Jefferson County, it’s even worse. The district is home to 18 of the state’s 41 schools identified as “failing” under federal standards. And a staggering one out of every four Louisville teens drops out of high school.

All children deserve the opportunity to go to a school that will challenge and prepare them for the future. And we have a chance right now to make that happen in Kentucky. Policymakers, the business community and faith leaders have come together to give children who aren’t reaching their full potential other school options.

Forty-two states and Washington, D.C., allow for high-quality public charter schools that are proving every child can succeed. Charter schools are independent public schools that are allowed the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for improved student achievement. Charter schools are public schools. They do not have special entrance requirements and they do not charge tuition.

Kentucky neighbors Indiana and Tennessee both allow public charter schools, and the students who attend them are doing better in school than their traditional public school peers. According to research done by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University (CREDO), low-income students who attend public charter schools in Indiana do significantly better in math compared to their low-income peers in traditional public schools. And in Tennessee, students who attend public charter schools learn the equivalent of 86 additional days of instruction in reading and 72 more days in math, compared to their traditional school peers.

Democrats for Education Reform, make the case for charter schools in Kentucky, and every state.