Friday, June 12, 2009

Feds tell Kentucky to pass charter school law

Heading into a special session originally called to balance the budget, but that has quickly turned into a big mess with a wide variety of issues lacking consensus, Gov. Steve Beshear may be missing a signal from federal officials about another key topic.

Earlier this week, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said:

"States that do not have public charter laws or put artificial caps on the growth of charter schools will jeopardize their applications under the [$4.35 billion] Race to the Top Fund."

Kentucky's Senate Education Committee Chairman Ken Winters, a long-time school-choice advocate, expressed hope that strong federal support may help break resistance to such improvements in Frankfort.

"I think we are getting more momentum on this," Winters said.

House Education Committee Chairman Carl Rollins wasn't enthusiastic, but nevertheless suggested the time for real discussion of the issue may be at hand.

"I'm not a fan of charter schools, but it's worth a look and the money might make it worth a second look," Rollins said.

The expanded opportunities available to charter school students are currently only available to only a precious few: