Monday, April 11, 2011

Kentucky’s only ‘charter school’ is growing

So, why do we only have one?

Technically, it’s a unique institution.

However, the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at Western Kentucky University operates a lot like charter schools found in other states.

Gatton is a school of choice. Students from anywhere in Kentucky can select Gatton instead of the ‘resides’ school they normally would be forced to attend based on their home address.

It awards a public high school diploma.

It provides a superior education.

And, like charter school enrollment across the country, Gatton is also growing.

Gatton is a resident campus school open to public school students from anywhere in Kentucky who have high enough grades and ACT scores to qualify. Gatton offers students outstanding exposure to advanced courses, including regular college courses taught at Western Kentucky University. Many of those courses are taught by college professors who are real subject matter experts instead of public school teachers who often are not as deeply prepared.

But, Gatton is the only school of its kind in Kentucky.

Why is that?

Why can’t we establish similar schools at our other four-year universities?

If we did so, we could save a considerable amount of the costs to house students, which the Bowling Green Daily News reports is a limiting factor on Gatton’s enrollment. Also, these youngsters wouldn’t be totally removed from their homes for the entire school year, either.

With more Gatton-like schools on other Kentucky campuses, we could get a lot more of the state’s top students better prepared for critically important careers in math and science.

So, how come only WKU has such a school?

Want to bet the teachers’ union is involved? Don’t forget, at a Gatton type school, students take many courses that are not taught by union dues paying teachers. That’s good for the students, but not so hot for money-hungry union bosses.

In fact, given the union’s lock on the legislature, the amazing thing isn’t that we don’t have more Gatton schools on other campuses – it’s that we even have Gatton.


Bill Huff said...

I believe Gatton is housed at Western Kentucky University because of a tremendous take-no-prisoners effort exhibited by a democratic representative named Jody Richards!

I recommend all elected state reps and senators with higher education instutions in their districts agree to work together to expend effort Jody Richards did for their districts! it's doable.

Now. I could be wrong.

Richard Innes said...

RE: Bill Huff's Post

I believe you are correct. WKU is definitely in Rep. Richard's district and was established before Richards lost his House leadership position.

Creating more "Gattons" -- It's definitely doable.

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