FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Education and Workforce Development Secretary Pushes for Public Charter Schools
CONTACT: Brandon Porter, 270-576-1755
DATE: January 17, 2017
NOTE: Audio clips of Secretary Heiner are available
Frankfort, KY – Kentucky is one of only seven states that do not give parents and students the option of public charter schools. Education and Workforce Development Secretary Hal Heiner hopes this will change during this session of the General Assembly. Heiner is pushing for movement in Frankfort, “Here in Kentucky we need to have a law that authorizes the finances and lays out who can be an authorizer and what it means for someone to be an authorizer of a public charter school.” Along with giving authorization for the charter school, Heiner says legislators should also give a plan for the accountability of the charter school.
Describing the school, Heiner says, “A public charter school provides a particular need that is not being met in a traditional public school.” This can vary from special needs students to unique approaches in teaching. He says that as the culture is changing they are finding the typical school day does not work well for some families. In fact, some families need care for their child from 7:00am until 7:00pm if the child is going to learn and function at their highest potential.
Some opponents have made the case that public charter schools will hurt existing public schools. Heiner disagrees with this thought and says, “Dollars will follow the student just like they do now if a student moves from county A to county B. The charter school will act like a different school district even if it is within the same building of the existing public school.”
In the end, Heiner believes Kentucky can learn from the other 43 states that have authorized public charter schools. He believes students with special needs and learning gaps will benefit most from charter schools. He says statistics show that over just a few years in a charter school, students that scored below average on yearly assessments greatly close the gap on other students that were at or above the state’s average.
Senate Bill 70 would pave the way for public charter schools and it has already been introduced in this year’s General Assembly session. It is scheduled for congressional hearing when the session resumes on February 7.