Survey shows black Kentucky residents want more school choice, including charter schools

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FRANKFORT, Ky. – A new survey shows black Kentuckians want more school choice, particularly low-income black families whose children are stuck in low-performing government schools.

choiceopportunityfront1And they believe those choices should include charter schools, which are currently nonexistent in Kentucky.

Jim Waters, president of the Bluegrass Institute, recently penned an editorial highlighting a new study by the Black Alliance for Educational Options that shows 9 in 10 black Kentuckians believe government should provide as many educational choices as possible for their children.

“Black Kentuckians are like their fellow whites in that the more they know about charter schools – particularly that they help give lower-income black students trapped in failing schools more opportunities – the more likely they are to support giving charters a chance in Kentucky,” Waters wrote.

The survey indicates support for charter schools is the highest among poor families that cannot afford other options, while more affluent blacks are less supportive.

As Waters points out, the anti-charter mentality of black lawmakers who claim to represent their communities in the General Assembly doesn’t reflect the priorities of their low-income constituents.

“Politicians who oppose charter schools for flimsy reasons might want to reconsider their claims to represent the truly needy in their communities,” Waters writes. “There’s strong support for charters in each of Kentucky’s six congressional districts.”

Kentucky is one of only eight states without public charter schools – non-union public schools with the flexibility to implement students-first policies and practices without cantankerous labor negotiations.

That reality is due in large part to Big Labor bosses in the Bluegrass State who have worked to convince lawmakers that charter schools are unwanted.

Most Kentuckians acknowledge the need to improve public education, and close the state’s persistent achievement gap between black and whites. The BAEO survey shows the families of students who need the help the most believe charter schools could help solve their problems.

“Reasonable Kentuckians statewide know our public-education system fails too many of our black and low-income students – a demographic that tests between 21 and 30 points lower than their white affluent and middle-class peers,” Waters wrote.

“It’s unreasonable – and simply unacceptable – for their representatives in Frankfort to ignore the need for real options any longer.”

By Victor Skinner at

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