Charter Schools: Taking on the Questions – Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

Charter Schools: Taking on the Questions

With the passage of 2022’s House Bill 9, Kentucky has moved a step closer to having some public charter schools. That step invites many different questions about policy, impact, evidence, principles, and practicalities. Today, we’re releasing a series of posts by Susan Perkins Weston, each aimed at one major question we’ve heard recently and also over the years since the Prichard Committee’s “Exploring Charter Schools in Kentucky: An Informational Guide” came out in November 2015.

Here are the questions the series will address based on current Kentucky law:

1. What is a charter school?
2. What student results are charter schools expected to deliver?
3. Which school laws do charter schools have to follow?
4. How can students be admitted to charter schools?
5. Who can authorize charter schools?
6. Who can apply to start a charter school?
7. How can charter schools be closed if they do not deliver?
8. What funding can charter schools receive?

Bluntly, we know the charter school debates are too big to be ended by any set of essays.

These posts don’t aim to end the debates, but we hope we can make the discussions more constructive and more focused on Kentucky’s specific approach to implementation. We’ve included statute information to help readers go deeper, and we welcome questions as well as contrary interpretations of every kind. To round out the series, we’ve pulled together a unified list of key new questions that seem not to have definite answers in place.

The posts may also frustrate every kind of reader. For those who support charter schools, the posts identify practical challenges in need of attention. For those who expect charter schools to be an unhelpful disruption, the posts pay attention to ways charters can become effective. For those hoping for simplicity, these posts will show complexity. For those ready for complex full answers, many questions will remain.

The Prichard Committee does not support or oppose charter schools for themselves. Our goal is excellence with equity in public education. In our 2014 report, we highlighted evidence that some charter schools have successfully contributed to moving forward on that agenda, as well as noting evidence that many charter schools do not help much and some moved students in the wrong direction. As Kentucky is positioned to oven some charter schools in the near future, our focus remains the same: we want excellence and equity for all Kentucky students, and we’ll press for charter schools to be part of achieving that goal. We plan to be serious about quality and serious about diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging –for Kentucky public charter schools along with all the other public schools that serve our students and build our shared future.