October 18, 2017
The League of Women Voters of Kentucky is very concerned about the passage of charter school legislation in Kentucky because of the threat it represents to public schools. Equal access to quality education is essential for preparing Kentucky students for their futures. Because of our concern for the education of all students, we believe the principles of the Annenberg Rules should serve as the primary guide for assessing the implementation of charter schools in the Commonwealth.
The Annenberg document, "Public Accountability for Charter schools: Standards and Policy Recommendations for Effective Oversight" (2013) details the following:
The League requests that you review the Annenberg Rules document for additional recommendations concerning local level implementation as well as identification of potential pitfalls to be avoided. See http://www.annenberginstitute.org/sites/default/files/CharterAccountabilityStds.pdf.
Your attention to this information is appreciated.
- Bonnie Lynch, President, LWV of Kentucky
- Carol A. O'Reilly, Chair, LWV of Kentucky Education Committee
- CC: Kentucky State Senators, Kentucky State Representatives
Learn more about the work of the League of Women Voters: http:///www.lwv.org. "Like" the League on Facebook: facebook.com/leagueofwomenvoters. Follow us on Twitter: @LWV and Instagram: @leagueofwomenvoters.
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government and works to increase understanding and advocacy of major public policy issues.
The League is supporting this constitutional amendment, as provided for in HB 70 and SB 15.
Why is the League supporting this? First, because we believe that the right of every citizen to vote is essential to democracy. According to a League study in January, 2013, there are 180,000 disenfranchised voters who have completed their sentence, and in most states would have automatically had their rights restored. In 2012, 1,441 applied for restoration and 1,152 were granted (80%). (Note that there are sometimes restrictions based on the crime that was committed.)
Second, because the effects of not being allowed to vote is very discriminatory. Kentucky possesses the second highest African American disenfranchisement rate in the country. The state population is 89% white and 8% African American, but 24% of the total prison population is African American. More than one of every five African American adults in Kentucky cannot vote, which is nearly triple the national disenfranchisement rate. (Why African Americans are more likely to be incarcerated is another topic of study.)
Should not the young, black, father who served time for drug possession have the right to vote for the school board member who decides what kind of education his children will get?
Pat Murrell, President
League of Women Voters of Louisville
At the July 24th Metro Council meeting, they unanimously adopted the following resolution:
A RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE AMENDMENT OF THE KENTUCKY CONSTITUTION §145 TO RESTORE VOTING RIGHTS TO PERSONS CONVICTED OF FELONIES OTHER THAN TREASON, INTENTIONAL KILLING, A SEX CRIME, OR BRIBERY, THE RIGHT TO VOTE AT THE EXPIRATION OF PROBATION OR FINAL DISCHARGE FROM PAROLE OR MAXIMUM EXPIRATION OF SENTENCE.
On behalf of the League, I made the following statement in favor of the resolution:
The League of Women Voters was founded in 1920 when the amendment passed giving women the right to vote. We take voting very seriously. To us, voting is a responsibility and a duty for all citizens, essential for democracy.
A report by the League of Women Voters of Kentucky in January, 2013, shows that there are 181,000 Kentucky residents who have completed their sentences for a felony conviction. The only way any of these residents can restore their voting rights is by petitioning the governor. In 2013, 1,132 had their civil rights restored.
Further, Kentucky has the second highest African American disenfranchisement rate in the country: 22% in Kentucky compared with national rate of 7.66%. One of every five African American adults in Kentucky cannot vote. Kentucky is one of only 3 states that does not automatically restore rights.
Once when I was registering voters at a day care center, a young man, coming to pick up his children, pulled me aside and explained that he could not register. What struck me was that not only could he not vote for president, but he could not vote in races that affect his DAILY LIFE: school board member, judges, metro council member. This is grossly unfair.
The Kentucky League of Women Voters has supported the bill for restoration of felony rights each time it passed in the Kentucky House. With your support, we may get it through the Senate next time. Therefore, we applaud the Council for introducing this resolution and urge your continued efforts to restore these vital rights to all citizens.