Charter schools bill hotly debated in hearing

Source: Margaret Reist, Lincoln Journal Star, March 18, 2017

Public school advocates and their equally passionate school choice counterparts painted very different pictures of what Nebraska’s education system would look like if it authorized charter schools during hours of testimony at a Legislative hearing Tuesday. … The bill (LB630), introduced by Sen. Tyson Larson of O’Neill, would allow charter schools in districts with low-performing schools. The charter schools would be overseen by a new Independent Public School Authorizing and Accountability Commission created by the bill. Larson said he planned to offer an amendment to strengthen accountability measures in LB630 and to address constitutional questions raised by Nebraska Department of Education officials. Nebraska is one of seven states that does not authorize charter schools. The full Legislature is unlikely to debate the bill this session because it wasn’t prioritized. Still, that didn’t stop proponents from holding a news conference Tuesday in support of it, or from more than 150 people gathering for a rally in opposition to it. …