So surely these men would want to see every student see the benefits of these charter schools, regardless of the level of involvement of their parents or guardians in their education. Right?
Amidst the details of the 37 pages of HB 520 are two statements on page 9.
(5) A local school district shall provide or publicize to parents and the general public information about public charter school authorized by the local school district as an enrollment option within the district to the same extent and through the same means that the school district provides and publicizes information about noncharter public schools in the district.
(6) A local school district shall not assign or require any student enrolled in the local school district to attend a public charter school.
By law, JCPS MUST provide every school age child a seat in the school system. This means JCPS has to assign every student to a school, regardless of parental or guardian interest in the outcome. The new law takes the option of assigning children to a charter school off the table, meaning that kids who don't have parents or guardian advocating for them will likely never see the inside of a charter school.
I'm curious how many of the kids who are underperforming in JCPS have no guardian of parental involvement in their education and simply go to their assigned "resides" school? How many of those kids are the very ones that Hal Heiner, Matt Bevin, Jerry Stephenson, and the Bluegrass Institute's Jim Waters and Richard Innes exploited as their reason for supporting charter schools? If charter schools are the panacea that these men say they are for disadvantaged students, why was the law written to ensure these kids will never see the inside of a charter school? What exactly are charter forces afraid of?
Could it be they know that the kids with nobody fighting for them are often at an extreme disadvantage in school? Maybe they realize that having to educate them would be difficult for these charter schools. Could it be they know that the obligation of JCPS and other public school systems to meet the needs of these kids will mean they will be at a disadvantage when measured against charter schools?
It's worth noting that charter school forces were never able to explain why some students are underachieving, or how charter schools would address that underachievement beyond being "something new". When I attempted to engage some in discussions about how economic, geographic, and other issues outside of the classroom play into educational outcomes, most refused to engage with the exception of a Kentucky State Senator who told me "those people (in the West End of Louisville) don't want to work."
The truth is that charter school advocates had no interest in discussing the factors that keep kids from learning, beyond broad criticisms of the public schools. They also have no real interest in bringing up the performance of those being least served by society and our school system. These kids were merely a means to an end as a way to justify their actions and shield charter forces from criticism. If charter forces truly believed in their product was better and cared about these kids, they would not have written restrictions for student assignment into the bill. Instead they'd rather make sure that these kids are someone else's problem.