When the current Kentucky legislative session ends this week, many issues will be left on the table for future years. One of those issues is charter schools. Kentucky is among nine states without charters, and the push to change that has been polarizing in Frankfort. A compromise to create a pilot charter project was close to passage last month, but it fell apart.
“Well it certainly looks like charter schools are dead for this General Assembly,” says former Louisville mayoral candidate Hal Heiner. Heiner is the head of a recently-formed group that ran TV ads in support of charters earlier this year.
“You know my hope is that Kentucky would follow Tennessee’s lead for instance where they called a special session for charter schools, their Democratic governor called a special session, they expanded their charter school program,” he says.
Heiner blames teachers’ unions for blocking the legislation. But union leaders say charter schools don’t guarantee academic success. They want the state to wait until the most recently-implemented education reforms take full effect before considering charters.
Heiner declined to say what his new pro-charter group plans to do for the rest of this year.
“Well certainly the growth of the grassroots movement that I think has just in the past year has doubled in terms of what I see in terms of parents saying it’s just simply time for educational choice. This one size fits all system doesn’t really fit all,” he says.