Mara Powell

Statement by Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates

HB 520, sponsored by Chairman John Carney, to allow high quality charter schools has passed the Kentucky House. This bill incorporates important lessons learned from the national experience around charter schools. It incorporates research-based and proven standards around accountability, authorization, best practice, financing, and certification.

We appreciate Chairman Carney’s commitment to Kentucky students who receive free or reduced lunch at school. In its final version, this bill must ensure that the clear priority is on vulnerable kids, including those who receive free or reduced meals and those who attend persistently low-achieving public schools. Every charter school must place an uncompromising priority on those students most in need of new educational options to achieve. This component is critical if charters are to realize their potential as a valuable learning tool for Kentucky’s most vulnerable young people.

HB 520 will complement the good work at hand in so many Kentucky schools by so many teachers and principals. It gives educators, as well as parents, the chance to create environments for innovation in practice to achieve better student outcomes.

Kids and families will have more educational options because of Governor Matt Bevin, Secretary Hal Heiner, Chairman Carney, Senator Mike Wilson, and a host of others who have followed the hard path to make strong and effective charter schools a reality for Kentucky students.