Charter Schools

State Legislators Want to Repeal Charter School Law Before Any Charter Schools Have Opened

Officials tasked with setting up charter school rules are imposing onerous regulations instead.



A group of eight Democratic assembly members in Kentucky have submitted a bill to repeal the state's charter school law, H.B. 520. The law was passed last March, and no charter schools have actually opened yet.

The effort is unlikely to succeed, given that Democrats control neither legislative chamber and given that the governor who signed the bill, Republican Matt Bevin is still in office.

Nevertheless, opponents of charter schools have had other opportunities to stymie school choice in Kentucky. Not only has no charter school opened in the state yet, but the application process hasn't even started. Instead, the government has been mired in the process of formulating the regulations under which the schools will be created and operated.

That quagmire was not built into the legislation.

According to Joel Adams, executive director of the Kentucky Public Charter Schools Association, the contract currently being drafted "grants broad approval and intervention powers to authorizers"—that is, to local school districts. This "undermines charter autonomy and creates opportunities for antagonistic authorizers to administratively abuse charter schools while avoiding accountability for the damage," he explained in a September letter to the Kentucky Charter Schools Advisory Council.

The current version of the application to form a charter school is 55 pages long and "still in the administrative review process." Adams thinks it includes too many questions, "many of which are redundant when and if they are relevant, serve to confuse applicants, complicate and lengthen applications, and burden applicants with the responsibility of detailing items that are in no way relevant to the quality or viability of their applications."

The law itself doesn't actually require the state come up with a uniform application.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has also criticized the draft regulations, while noting that a preliminary analysis of the underlying law found Kentucky had the potential to "rank within the top tier of charter school laws in the nation." Lisa Grover, one of the group's senior directors, says the draft documents stray "far from the statutory requirements in the law."

The Kentucky Board of Education says it expects the first charter schools to open in the fall. We'll see.

Reason is a proud media partner of National School Choice Week, an annual event promoting greater options in K-12 education. Go here for more information about events and for data on how increasing school choice—charters, vouchers, educational savings accounts, and more—is one of the best ways to improve education for all Americans. For a constantly updated list of stories on education, go to Reason's archive page on "school choice."

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  1. Lefties are in trouble on all fronts. They need to get ahead of passing fads like the internet and schools that educate kids really well.

    1. They’re focused on regulation, and regulation is inherently stuck in the past because the future is unpredictable. Because of that, there’s no way to get ahead of the future; there’s only placing bets on what will work out in the long run. Unions were a good bet for a long time, but they’re starting to fade in importance (and have been since the 70s). People who bet on quadrophonic sound being the next big thing lost; people who bet on computing technology won. Tough to say what the new big thing will be, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it was lab-grown meat.

  2. The left will get comically more insane as this crap continues to unravel in the short run. At least we are seeing unions continue to crack and watching the left eat itself is absolutely hilarious.

    but remember, the march to socialism continues in America because we cannot re-educate the zombie horde. The number of ignorant leftists still vastly outnumbers the reasonable liberty loving educated entrepreneurial capitalist.

    I see the real hope in the power of the technological age spreading into the developing world and exposing people in Africa and elsewhere to business opportunities. Just like the fall of the iron curtain was brought about by the spread of information, the gradual growth of commerce and entrepreneurial freedom in developing nations brings hope of enlightenment. I fear the US is simply too far along and the complacency of such great wealth, on the whole, limits the capacity of your average leftist to ever pick up a book. Marxism’s greatest power is class warfare and propaganda. The force is strong with these two in the US. For the capitalists, arm yourselves and keep making that money, allocating capital wisely, diversify, and teach your kids not to listen to everything they hear in school as gospel. Such as the global warming scam.

    1. At least we are seeing unions continue to crack and watching the left eat itself is absolutely hilarious.

      Wait until SCOTUS removes their ability to guarantee elections for Democrats by extracting mandatory fees from their members. We ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

  3. Allowing people to choose their schools is like allowing them to carry a gun. Everybody knows it will cause ruin and disaster, with women and children hardest hit, and the poor and minorities sacrificed to enrich the one percent.

    Therefore implementation of either plan must be aborted before it becomes effective, for the sake of women, minorities, children, the poor, etc.

    (And because once the plan is implemented, and the dire predictions prove false, again, it will be too late.)

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