A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

William McCann: Kentucky’s newly-adopted charter schools law may mean further cuts to arts education

I am conflicted about the newly adopted charter schools law for which regulations are now being promulgated by the Kentucky Department of Education. Studies have shown that charter schools are no better than the public schools with which they compete. But since charter schools are paid for out of state education coffers the result is that charter schools will cause the Kentucky elementary-secondary...

Governor Bevin signs legislation allowing charter schools in Kentucky for the first time

Gov. Matt Bevin, joined by legislators, education officials and community leaders, on Tuesday ceremonially signed House Bill 520 in the State Capitol Rotunda. Enacted during the regular session of the 2017 General Assembly, HB 520 enables the creation of public charter schools for the first time in the Commonwealth. “We owe it to the generations yet to come to provide them with an equal opportunity...

State Board of Education gives unanimous approval to accountability system, discusses charters

By Brenna Kelly Kentucky Teacher At a special meeting in Frankfort Thursday, the Kentucky Board of Education unanimously approved the regulation that will govern Kentucky’s new accountability system under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Senate Bill 1 (2017). The accountability system, as outlined in 703 KAR 5:270, is designed to promote and hold schools and districts accountable...

Commentary: Collaboration, excellence and equity must drive charter school implementation

By Brigitte Blom Ramsey and John B. King Jr. Special to KyForward This year, the Kentucky General Assembly held a robust legislative debate that resulted in a divide on the topic of public charter schools. Spirited debate about how to improve education for all students can result in better public policy, especially when discussions focus on the shared goal of what is best for children. In these discussions,...

Bevin establishes Charter Schools Advisory Council, reorganizes key education boards and committees

Gov. Matt Bevin signed an executive order Friday that establishes the Kentucky Charter Schools Advisory Council to ensure successful implementation of House Bill 520 (HB 520). The order also realigns key education boards, councils and committees to provide an efficient, modern structure for implementing Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) and provides for greater coordination of efforts across the education system,...

Commentary: Ensuring a strong public education system in Kentucky is top priority

By Stephen Pruitt Special to KyForward This month, I am sharing my thoughts about an issue that stirred up a lot of feelings and opinions on both sides of the political aisle during the 2017 regular session of the Kentucky General Assembly. House Bill 520, which was signed into law in March, gives local school boards and the mayors of Lexington and Louisville the authority to authorize charter schools....

Commentary: All schools can have charter-like autonomy if they also accept charter accountability

By Gary Houchens Special to KyForward During Kentucky’s debate over becoming the 44th state to allow charter schools, and especially since the charter law successfully passed the state’s General Assembly in March, I have often heard public school advocates ask why, if autonomy seems to be a key to charter school success, shouldn’t all schools – including those operated by public...

Commentary: It’s time to set the record straight about the impact of charter schools in Kentucky

By Julia Crigler Special to KyForward Kentucky state legislators recently delivered a big victory for K-12 students across the commonwealth: They will soon have access to charter schools. Kentucky is now the 44th state to enact this critical school-choice reform, which has proven highly effective at improving the lives of millions of children across the country. Yet, despite the benefits that await...

Bevin blocks one provision of charter school funding, vetoes bill on court-ordered mental health treatment

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Matt Bevin has issued his first vetoes of the legislative session, setting the stage for possible overrides when lawmakers return to Frankfort on Wednesday for the final two days of the session. Kentucky governors have line-item veto powers on appropriations measures, and Bevin used that to strike one provision from charter school funding legislation...

UK’s Gatton College, Schnatter Institute combine to host panel discussion on impact of charter schools

By Carl Nathe Special to KyForward The topic of charter schools has been in the news a lot lately and the John H. Schnatter Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise and the BB&T Program for the Study of Capitalism, units housed within the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics, will host a panel discussion on charter schools on Thursday afternoon, March 30. The...

Bevin signs Planned Parenthood, Blue Lives Matter and Charter Schools bills into law

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Planned Parenthood stands to lose any shot it had at government funding for family planning under a bill signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin on Tuesday. The law will puts Planned Parenthood at the back of the line among organizations seeking family planning funding in Kentucky. Bevin has signed more than 50 bills into law since the start of this year’s legislative session,...

Charter school measures now in place, but questions about funding remain unresolved

By Pam Thomas Special to KyForward The Kentucky General Assembly gave final approval to charter schools in the waning days of the 2017 legislative session after heated and lengthy debate in both chambers. The approval came in two parts, with the operating provisions included in House Bill 520 and the funding provisions in House Bill 471. The funding provisions in HB 471 raise new questions about how...

Legislative Update: Approval of charter schools, nuclear power plant construction among highlights

This has been a year for early arrivals at the State Capitol. Within a week of the 2017 legislative session’s start in January, bills started arriving in the governor’s office to be signed into law, an extraordinarily quick start for a session of the General Assembly. We’ve had more early arrivals at the Capitol in recent weeks as hundreds of the tulips in the Capitol gardens have already started...

Commentary: After the debate, common ground must be found on the issue of charter schools

By Brigitte Blom Ramsey Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence Charter school legislation hung in the balance in the waning days of the 2017 session of Kentucky’s General Assembly.  At the center of the debate is HB520 – passed Wednesday on the House floor after three hours of intense discussion and by the Senate this week.  We agree with strong assertions on both sides of the conversation: ...

Legislative Briefs: Charter schools measure gets final approval; felon employment act advances

The Kentucky Senate and House each voted Wednesday in favor of legislation to allow publicly funded charter schools to operate in Kentucky. The bill now goes to Gov. Matt Bevin, a supporter of charter schools, to be signed into law. House Bill 520, sponsored by House Education Committee Chairman and public school teacher John Carney, R-Campbellsville, HB 520 would allow local school boards to authorize...

House advances bill to allow operation of charter schools in Kentucky, Senate will consider measure

Public charter schools would be allowed to operate in Kentucky under a bill advanced Friday by the Kentucky House. House Bill 520, sponsored by House Education Committee Chairman and public school teacher John Carney, R-Campbellsville, passed the House by a vote of 56-39 and now goes to the Senate for its consideration. The bill would allow local school boards and the mayors of Louisville and Lexington...

Commentary: Latest version of proposed charter school legislation bad deal for Kentucky

By Marty Solomon Special to KyForward House Bill 520 is the latest version of charter school legislation that is bad for Kentucky. The worst aspect is that it would require public school monies to be handed over to charter schools. For example, if a charter were created in Boone County with 400 students, the Boone County public schools would be required to cut its budget by about $3.6 million and...

State Senate approves sweeping education reform bill; measure moves to House for consideration

The Kentucky Senate passed a measure Friday that could result in the rewriting of public school lesson plans and tests in favor of a locally-centric form of educating. After the approval of Senate Bill 1, dubbed the let the teacher teach act, Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, hailed the moment as the day in which Kentucky set a successful course for its public school curriculum. “Our No. 1 resource...

Commentary: Charter schools aren’t the answer to education issues facing Kentucky

By Stephanie Winkler Special to KyForward There are two lies that have been told so often that they now are taken as truth: 1) that Kentucky’s public schools (and indeed, all public schools) are “failing,” and; 2) that charter schools and “school choice” are the answer to that problem. Neither is true. It’s no secret to anyone who is paying attention that Kentucky’s public schools are...

Commentary: Kentucky has opportunity for best charter school law in U.S., but the details count

By Terry Brooks Special to KyForward The hottest toy of this past Christmas season was Hatchimals — plastic eggs with one of two interactive creatures inside. The lucky recipient nurtures the egg, causing it to hatch; and after hatching, the creature inside learns to talk, walk and play games with the help of the child. Right about now, the egg is hatching. The same is true of charter schools in...