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Charter schools, education standards, religion on the menu for 2017 General Assembly

General Assembly reconvenes on Tuesday in Frankfort. The body is expected to take up bills that will change public education in some serious ways.

SB 1 related to education standards. Among a long list of changes, the bill appears to allow school districts to do their own internal measuring and evaluation.

SB 2 covers the hot topic of government pension reform. Chris Tobe, author of "Kentucky Fried Pensions" thinks this is a good bill.

A big topic of discussion, charter schools, looks to pass the GOP controlled General Assembly in some form. We found two bills - one in the House and one in the Senate.

Charter Schools: HB 103: "A public charter school shall be exempt from all state statutes and administrative regulations applicable to a local school board, school district, or school, except the public charter school shall adhere to the same health, safety, civil rights, and disability rights requirements as are applied to all public schools."

SB 70 introduced by Dem. Senator Gerald Neal establishes a pilot program for charter schools. Neal, a Louisville legislator, may be trying for a test drive of a school program vigorously opposed by the Kentucky Education Association.

SB 17, co-sponsored by Paducah Senator Danny Carroll expands religion in public schools. Creates a new section of KRS Chapter 158 to allow a teacher to teach about religion with the use of the Bible or other scripture without providing religious instruction, and to teach about religious holidays in a secular manner. School wide announcements of religious meetings, students wearing religious symbols on their clothing, added to law.

SB 80 will drop the requirement that teachers get their masters degrees in order to maintain certification.

Other bills relate to tobacco use on school property and creation of evaluation instruments for administrators at technical colleges.

Disclaimer - this is not an exhaustive list of all education bills filed or will be filed before February 16 deadline for Senate bills and February 17th deadline for House bills.


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