Despite proponents' push, charter schools bills unlikely to get House hearing, chairman says

01/31/2011 07:48 PM

Rep. Carl Rollins, a Midway Democrat who heads up the House Education Committee, said he was unlikely to have a hearing this session on Senate or House bills that propose creating charter schools.

Rollins said he strongly disagreed with a House bill proposed by Rep. Brad Montell, R-Shelbyville, that would create a statewide network for governing charter schools.

“I don’t think it’s an appropriate bill. I don’t think there’s a whole lot good in there,” Rollins said.

He said it is an improvement over past versions, however, because Montell’s latest draft would require teachers in charter schools to have at least bachelor’s degrees.

“They’re making progress, at least to get their teachers in charter schools more educated,” Rollins said. “But I have a more basic problem with charter schools. I don’t think they’ll work.”

Rollins previously told the Courier-Journal that he was unlikely to hold a hearing on Senate Bill 3, another education-related bill that would allow school districts the option of approving charter schools as part of that legislation.

In some ways, he said the charter school portion of that legislation is better than Montell’s bill because it allows school districts the option of creating charter schools.

Also on Monday’s program, Jim Waters, vice president of the Bowling-Green based free market think tank Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, explained why he and his organization have been pushing for charter schools and school choice.

“We think that one of the options should be to allow a failing school to be turned into a charter school, which allows the principal to have more authority to hire good teachers, to fire those who aren’t really doing their jobs,” he said.

Waters said those who favor school choice would prefer charter schools to “be free” of as many state requirements as possible to maximize flexibility — but that’s precisely the parts of charter school proposals lawmakers such as Rollins most oppose.

Here’s the Pure Politics segment with Waters:

Rollins cited a study by the Stanford University’s , which also was cited in a 2010 Jefferson County Public Schools review of how charter schools affect student achievement.

Here’s the segment with Rollins, who argues against charter schools in general and explains his opposition to Montell’s bill, House Bill 103, and Senate Bill 3 that passed the Senate in early January.

- Ryan Alessi

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