"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kentucky Weighs RTTT Bribe Against Potential Damage By Charter Schools

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

. . . . That leaves charter schools as the "well, now, not so fast" possible addition to the session agenda. Where the dropout bill was subjected to three months-plus of public debate, charter schools didn't generate much conversation until the session's closing days, if not its closing hours, and only then because they were seen as being helpful in qualifying Kentucky for $175 million in federal Race to the Top funds.

Despite support from President Barack Obama, charter schools remain a divisive issue. Studies of them in various parts of the country have produced mixed results at best.

As a divisive issue, charter schools have the potential for once again blowing up budget negotiations because of lines drawn in the political sands. Passing a budget that averts a shutdown of large segments of state government is far too important to take that risk.

Charter schools may be a path Kentucky eventually wants to take. But rushing down that path with minimal debate and study on the hope — and hope is all it is at the moment — that we'll win a prize could result in far more damage to Kentucky education than $175 million can repair.

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