TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Editorials

October 5, 2012

Supreme Court is no friend of educational liberty

CORBIN — We’ve seen that many in Kentucky’s legislature and teachers unions are adamant enemies of school choice in the commonwealth.

The Kentucky Education Association has worked for years with powerful politicians to keep even the most rudimentary types of school choice – like the charter schools found in 41 other states and the District of Columbia – from winning out in Kentucky.

But a recent ruling has revealed another player in that axis against any type of educational liberty: the Kentucky Supreme Court.

The court’s verdict allows the bureaucrats at Jefferson County Public Schools to legally neglect the wishes of parents who have enrolled their children in the school closest to home. Instead, the school board is now permitted to force students on a bus that will coast right past their local neighborhood school and on to the other side of town — all in the name of some education elitist’s vision of diversity.

Why are the five justices so eager to jump on the same bus as those who run the failed JCPS system?

The losers in this case are parents who want their children in a school close to home so that the entire family can be involved in their education.

According to one of the two dissenters in the case, Justice Daniel Venters, the court’s decision is akin to the “surrealistic world of The Eagles’ song Hotel California.”

Just like that unfortunate hotel where visitors can check out any time they want but can never leave, the Supreme Court ruled that Jefferson County parents can “enroll” their child in their local school whenever they wish — but the child may never “attend.”

Yeah, you’re not the only one thinking: “that makes absolutely no sense.”

The justices fell back on a 1990 change that amended the law from allowing children to “attend” to one that only allowed them to “enroll” in their neighborhood school.

This was all done primarily to protect Louisville’s failed busing program, but could have consequences statewide for parents who move in order to enroll their children in a neighborhood school that’s part of a higher-performing district.

The whole line of reasoning is even more confusing than the attempts by teachers’ union bosses to explain why it actually benefits students for districts to reward teachers based on longevity instead of merit, prohibit the termination of under-performing teachers, and scoff at the notion that parents — not politicians, bureaucrats or even Supreme Court justices – know what’s best for their children.

In the past, parents with children in failing schools at least had the option of packing up and moving the family to a neighborhood with better schools. Some parents even dream of making such a move.

However, thanks to five justices in long black robes, those dreams went up in smoke — like the smoky exhaust expelled from one of Jefferson County’s road-worn school buses dragging students for miles on end out of their neighborhoods.

In fact, one of those Jefferson County deportation-mobiles recently overturned as a result of another one of its daily 16-mile treks busing students from one end of Jefferson County to another. The accident sent at least one child to the hospital and terrified the parents of the 48 students injured.

The court’s ruling ultimately bodes badly for the increasing number of Kentuckians committed to bringing choice — and reform — to an education system that has nearly doubled in real spending while remaining stagnant in its performance for more than two decades.

It also sends a clear message to all Kentucky families that the commonwealth’s highest court is no friend of educational liberty.

Jim Waters is vice president of policy and communications for the Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky’s free-market think tank. Reach him at jwaters@freedomkentucky.com. Read previously published columns at www.bipps.org.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • LIKE IT OR NOT: MLB's All Star effort was a bust

    With the 85th edition of Major League Baseball’s All-Star game in the books, I have to say I feel like the whole thing was a complete bust.

    July 18, 2014

  • THE WAY IT IS: Some local teams can make a run

    Well folks, our Little League All-Star action is beginning to wind down, and I’ve been fortunate enough to see two of the Tri-County’s resp

    July 17, 2014

  • LIKE IT OR NOT: It's been a very busy summer

    While a lot of people would expect the local sports scene to slow down in the Tri-County in the summer time, that’s not usually the case for us here at the Times-Tribune.

    July 16, 2014

  • John Ross.jpg May we all cherish those few WWII vets who still live

    I watch this old BBC program pretty often called “Are You Being Served?” It’s mostly out of syndication — what shows remain can be seen most often through PBS.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0502 Bobbie Poynter So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu

    I never have been very good at saying goodbye — family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, community — for years you’ve had my back and in turn, I believe I’ve had yours.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie Ellis.jpg ‘Uh hummm!’ It’s been an interesting week

    One column can’t cover everything from a busy week of political events, but here are some quick takeaways from last week.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Let’s multiply our numbers like fleas do

    Last Saturday, my wife, Carmen, and I spent the day at the Kings Island theme park near Cincinnati, Ohio.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Not an earthly trace

    Just married (1897) and in his late 20’s, my grandfather was determined to make a living on a hillside farm covered in wilderness; much as his father had done before him in 1846  when he arrived from Germany.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Col. Mustard with the candlestick in Heaven

    One of my favorite movies is the murder mystery comedy “Clue,” which is based on the popular board game of the same name.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Now or Never

    A story is told of an old widower who decided it was time to find a new wife. He chose to look for this new bride through the obituaries column; identifying new widows.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Featured Ads
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide