The Charter School Vultures Are Circling

Keep your children indoors!

The Kentucky Department of Education recently released the proposed regulations for charter schools. What no one’s reported yet is that the vultures are already starting to circle to see if they can kill some of the very reasonable regulations.

Among The KDE proposals are that charter schools meet performance standards, including test scores, graduation rates and promotion rates; that those applying to run Kentucky charters reveal performance, finances and any closings of charters they’ve run in other states; and that authorizers — school boards and/or the mayors of Louisville and Lexington — be able to monitor charters and hold them accountable. These seem like reasonable expectations that taxpayers, parents, and educators should be pleased to see in the regulations.

But an industry umbrella group, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, lost no time in urging that regulations be more lax. In fact, they claim,

“These draft documents would severely hamper the ability of high-caliber founding groups to create and sustain excellent schools for the students who need them the most,” said Lisa Grover, NAPCS’s senior director of state advocacy and support wrote in a statement released Sept. 21. “They must be significantly [emphasis added] altered if Kentucky wants its strong public charter school law to actually lead to high-quality charter schools for disadvantaged students.”

Here’s a link to their press release:

Here’s a link to their letter:

In a letter NAPCS sent to KDE’s Kentucky Charter Schools Advisory Council, the association expresses its disappointment and states “these draft documents would severely hamper the ability of high-quality founding groups to create and sustain excellent schools for the students who need them the most,” although the letter does not specify what would cause this.

But Joel Adams, executive director of the Kentucky Public Charter Schools Association, laid it out: requiring the proposed charter school application and the proposed charter school contract “existentially threaten the birth of charter schooling in Kentucky.”

Yes, you read that right: requiring a group to fill out an application, reveal its track record and sign a standardized contract is much too rigorous for charter school operators and would threaten the creation of charters. Adams insists in his letter that “[n]either is required by the statute to be created as a uniform document.” Adams also objects to charter school authorizers having “broad approval and intervention powers” over charters.

So if those authorizing a charter school do not have the power to oversee the charter school they create, who does? No one, that’s who! And that’s the point: to allow secretive, unaccountable charter schools, given to mismanagement and corruption, to thrive, as they have in other states.

Here’s a link to Adams’ letter:

You won’t be surprised to discover that the Walton Family Foundation, a big voice for for-profit charters; the William E. Simon Foundation, and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation are big funders of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools:

The William E. Simon Foundation has given to various Koch-affiliated groups, including DonorsTrust, the Alliance for School Choice (formerly headed by Betsy DeVos and a member of the Kochs’ State Policy Network), and the Heritage Foundation.

Billionaire Eli Broad tried to turn half of L.A.’s schools over to charter chains, but, luckily, failed: He said it would cost $490 million to do this. So where would this money come from? They said fund raising, but we know it’s from public school budgets.

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