Ky. measure could change how public schools and charter schools work


by WHAS11

Posted on October 26, 2012 at 7:14 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 26 at 7:21 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Changes could be coming to local public schools and it could shake-up the way students learn.

On Friday school leaders learned how they can have the benefits of charter schools but remain public.

There are not any charter schools in Kentucky but your child's school could soon operate like one.
It takes a waiver and some innovative thinking. It could impact public schools all across Kentucky.
Flexibility and freedom, two key words educators hope could make all the difference in the classroom.

“It's kind of taking the charter school concept which would be to create innovative ideas to waive regulation to allow our schools and communities to come up with great ideas we haven't even thought about,” Terry Holliday, Kentucky Education Commissioner, said.

It's called Districts of Innovation. The measure would allow schools to apply for waivers that would exempt them from state guidelines and allow individual schools to find what's best for educating their kids.

The state held a conference Friday afternoon in Louisville telling schools leaders how to apply for this.
The education department has already set up a charitable organization to raise funds for the schools that are granted the waiver.

And engaged parents welcome anything that improves learning.

 “Anything you are going to put forward in the school house to be more progressive perpetuate the education in the school house is always a plus,” Thomas Bellingham, a parent, said.

Charter schools are often opposed by public school leaders. But this could be the compromise they are looking for.

Here is the catch; schools would only be exempt from state guidelines for five years. If granted a waiver schools could have extended school days and a different curriculum from what the state currently has in place.

Schools would also have to show a marked improvement in student performance.

The Districts of Innovation Bill was passed during the last legislative season and schools can start applying for the waiver as soon as they get their application together.