Jennifer Barnett Reed follows up on yesterday’s report about the state House vote on the charter school bill:
Take Rep. Betty Pickett off the list of charter school vote-changers. Pickett, who voted against the bill Monday but was listed as a yes vote when the bill came up again yesterday, said she the voting machine somehow recorded her vote incorrectly, and she’s entered a protest to have the record changed. She called back a few minutes later to let us know that the House had actually stopped its session because of problems with the machine.
As passed yesterday, the bill doubles the number of charter schools allowed statewide from 24 to 48, but an amendment on the Senate side will remove that provision. The bill would still get rid of an existing requirement that each Congressional district can only have six charter schools.
NOTE FROM MAX: If the Senate is going to do some fine-tuning, senators who care about public schools should review the language that, we’re told, effectively strips the state Board of Education of meaningful review of charter applications. They’ll no longer need promise programs and ideas not available in public schools. They can merely be competing schools, even where no need is demonstrated and where schools are succeeding. Or so I’m told by opponents of the bill. If that’s so, it needs fixing. Little Rock is already seeing cream skimmed by a charter school that effectively serves as a free private school for people who don’t want to be in the public schools but who could readily receive the same degree of advanced math and science instruction in a number of public schools. And remember, they can opne, take state money and take kids without any prior track record or showing of a workable education plan. This passes for accountability if your bound to undo the existing public schools, as some of the backers of this idea are.