Head of Education and Workforce Development Cabinet wants to use other states as examples in crafting charter school program in Kentucky

12/29/2016 12:16 PM

Kentucky is one of seven states without charter school programs, and Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner says he hopes that changes when lawmakers return to Frankfort for the 2017 legislative session Jan. 3.

With 43 examples to craft a charter school program here, Heiner says he doesn’t see the need to implement a pilot program for the new schools, as has been laid out in previous legislative proposals that have been opposed by the Kentucky Education Association and the Democrat-led House of Representatives.

Republicans in Kentucky have generally touted charter schools as a way to curb achievement gaps that exist in public schools, and a program looks poised to pass the General Assembly with the GOP holding supermajorities in both chambers after taking the House in a 17-seat swing on Election Day.

Heiner said statistics show disadvantaged students operating at about 30 percent proficiency at grade level compared to 70 percent proficiency for others in the school system.

“What we have been looking for is how can we close that gap, eliminate that gap that’s really unconscionable and immoral, and I think for Kentucky to be great, we need all those individuals prepared for their most fulfilled life,” Heiner said in an interview with Pure Politics this month (2:20 in the interview).

“Charter schools have been the one form of education that has reliably, consistently shown great improvements, especially in urban centers.”

Heiner says he expects charter schools will have the same level of accountability and transparency as their public school peers, with more on the line since charters can be revoked.

Kentucky has a “tremendous advantage” over other states because officials here can learn from the successes and mistakes of others when crafting a charter school program, he said.

“My focus is not on a pilot,” Heiner said (5:00 in the interview). “Let’s pick the best examples in the country, and, you know, they’ve been out there for two decades. Let’s pick those, adopt that in Kentucky so we have the best chance for success.”

Watch the full interview with Heiner here:



  • Cumberland Gap wrote on December 30, 2016 09:07 AM :

    Did you know Heiner has co-partners and friends who raised big election money in the building and land development business that already have the land purchased and ready to sell to gubmint at a big profit? Land for all the new charter schools coming our way. His contractor friends are lining up to build ‘em at reduced payroll costs when right to work for less and prevailing wage are repealed! Lots of profit in this charter school cheerleading at taxpayer expense!

  • viewer wrote on December 31, 2016 02:55 PM :

    Good afternoon, Cumberland Gap. Not only do I not doubt anything you wrote above, I am well aware of a lot that is transpiring and will bring profits to many in the political class. This is nothing new, and it has been going on for at least 50 years. It is sad to say, but the true realities of what keeps Kentucky’s lackluster economic engine afloat, is that without profits being made off the government’s projects, land deals, inside deals, and pork from Washington, I don’t know if we would have enough economic growth to even show a GDP. Without government support, over 70% of the payroll checks being cashed weekly, would probably never exist. Look for several bills, some already pre-filed, that will only go to support more tax loopholes, C-corps, S-corps, etc., to further money going in to advance this exact same kind of thing.

    You have to try to get to where Kentucky is currently located on most national rankings. You have to turn a blind eye. You have to bite your tongue. You have to cover your ears. Worst of all, what has taken hold in Kentucky is that we have given up on getting better, in our state, our government, our communities. We are just going through the motions. We don’t expect anything to change. We don’t see how things could ever change, and we don’t have the courage to ask for change.

    The few, who have had this state under their control, are in two categories. The first, like it the way it is because they have made tons of profits. The second group may not be realizing huge profits, but they have the power in their school system, city, county, or region. They know that their leadership talents and abilities might not be up to par, but they are going to do everything, within their power, to keep their incompetence in place. That is Kentucky of the 1950’s, and what has been allowed to lead us into 2017.

    With all of that said, I am for charter schools. Charter schools will not be the panacea. What is going on today around the state and the strangle hold the KEA has had on our education system requires that we have competition. If it helps 100 kids get out of poverty, that is 100 that I hope grows to 1,000, and that the 1,000 builds to 10,000 and so on.

    The Catholic faith is known around the world for their charitable giving. I have seen first hand how the Catholics in Kentucky give to the needy and the good causes. Also, my fellow Baptist brothers and sisters have done wonderful things with their money and time to help people all across the Commonwealth. Some of these profits are going to be recycled back into these good causes. Yes, too many times non-profits are in truth nothing but a way for the leaders of the organization to profit. The non-profit is only for the tax purpose. Nothing more than a rouse to fool you. Overall, the good that comes out of church charities and non-profit work out weighs the bad. Without this generosity, more would suffer. What I’m trying to say here is there will be a few, in the Baptist circles, who will make millions of dollars off land, construction, etc. It will probably look bad, but some of that money will go back for the good in years to come.

    On to something else. I wasn’t for the passage of the P3s, and I am still leery of what the effects will be around the state. Something happened last month that left me with a deja vu feeling. I posted on here for people to take a deep dive into the finances of the Yum Center and how that project was configured. Three days later, Louisville Metro passes the bill, 10-0, with not one word discussed about what they were passing. Zero discussion. That exact same thing played out, in the General Assembly, in 2016, with the passage of the P3 in the House. Once people start asking questions, everything goes silent. There are some awful good people, in the House of Representatives. Every single House member sat on their hands and voted. This includes our republican friends. Most will be returning to those same seats this year.

    The tolls began, today, on another P3 project. The highly anticipated opening of the Lewis and Clark Bridge in Louisville. I ask you friends, those fortunate enough to drive across it, that every time you drive across, you say a kind word for our good friend Ed Glasscock and his team at Frost, Brown, Todd Law Firm. There’s that law firm, again, Frost, Brown, Todd. With the passage of he P3 legislation, we will be getting more of their projects all across the Commonwealth in the future. I like to call them, the Kentucky version of the CIA, Central Intelligence Agency. Very powerful, and nobody seems to know what they do or how they do it.

    Below is a story of how these P3s are wreaking havoc around the country. I highly recommend any member of the General Assembly, who wants to be up to speed on what can go wrong with these financial instruments, to read this article, from the New York Times. All growth is not good growth. University of Louisville Foundation, the Yum Center, Lewis and Clark Bridge. All 3 of these are going to come back and bite the city of Louisville and its citizens. All 3 of these mentioned came to fruition with the blessing of the General Assembly. Mayor Greg Fisher said this week that Louisville had $9 billion of infrastructure in 2016. Sounds good. How much of that $9 billion went for kickbacks to the cronies that could have went to better causes and at a better price? That question has no answer because a good portion of it went to the lawyers, who write the laws, to leave us in the dark. The viewer.

    In American Towns, Private Profits From Public Works
    Desperate towns have turned to private equity firms to manage their waterworks. The deals bring much-needed upgrades, but can carry hefty price tags. By DANIELLE IVORY, BEN PROTESS and GRIFF PALMERDEC. 24, 2016


  • Heza Putz wrote on January 01, 2017 11:13 AM :

    First thing, dump Senator Neal’s KEA written bill in the garbage can where it belongs. The fact that Kentucky is one of only 7 states to not allow any charter experiments whatsoever is testimony to the stranglehold the KEA has had for far too long.

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