ARTICLES THAT OFFER OPINIONS EXPRESS THOSE OF THE AUTHOR OF THE PIECE, AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF THE EASTERN EAGLE NEWS STAFF, OR THOSE OF THE FACULTY, STAFF, OR ADMINISTRATION OF EASTERN HIGH SCHOOL AND JCPS.
By Elise Parrill
As a new election year for the Kentucky Governor position approaches, many important questions arise about the state of economy and, most importantly, the public school system. The suggestion of the introduction of charter schools has become more of a norm. This suggestion brings arguments about the quality of the current school system and forces people to consider massive changes for the benefit of students. Charter schools are not the extreme antagonists everyone believes them to be; in fact, there may be a few public schools similar to charter schools in Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) now.
Not many people are familiar with charter schools as they are more popular in the West Coast. A charter school is a free public school that operates under a charter, or contract, from the state that allows them to teach certain goals as long as they uphold certain educational standards.
One of the biggest benefits that charter schools provide is the idea that they teach differently, compared to the norm, to reach a certain type of student. Charter schools can help students with mental and physical barriers in the classroom and allow them to learn in a more efficient way.
Those who support public schools argue that charter schools are unnecessary and will not be beneficial for the majority of students. Teachers say that the money to support charter schools, funded by the state like a normal public school, will take money away from the limited money to support the already numerous public schools.
Charter schools do tend to be less diverse, too. This fact raises questions about ensuring equal education for minority races. But, equal education means to have the same quality of supplies, technology included. Many people fail to realize that not all public schools in JPCS have equal supplies—especially the schools in an area with more minority races.
Another argument against charter schools is that they target academically advanced students and pull them from public schools, therefore decreasing a school’s test average. Yet, DuPont Manual High School acts as a charter school without a charter and pulls students away from other public schools. The school accepts a certain amount of academically or artistically advanced students and provide students with different and vast learning opportunities.
Despite the stigma against charter schools, the current Kentucky Governor, Matt Bevin believes that they could be beneficial in increasing test scores throughout the state. He does have a point. Their presence alone could encourage schools to implement new learning techniques and hold their students to learning higher standards. Regardless, the idea of charter schools is certainly one to keep an eye on.