Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin this week signed legislation that makes Kentucky the 44th state to allow charter schools.

This legislation has been a big part of the Republican legislative priorities since they took control of the state legislature and executive branch for the first time in the state’s history. Previously, the legislation had been blocked by Democrats in the state House.

Charter schools are not subject to state regulations but still receive public funding. Republicans claim that this leads to better innovation in education, as it gives charter schools the chance to experiment. They have also argued that charter schools provide much-needed competition to public schools, especially where public schools are failing.

However, Democrats have argued that charter schools divert funding and students from public school systems that need it. Both the NAACP and Black Lives Matter have called for a moratorium on charter schools.

Senator Mitch McConnell, however, applauded the bill’s passage.

“The flexibility offered by public charter schools encourages teachers and administrators to use good judgment in innovative ways to produce positive results for Kentucky children,” he said. “Most importantly, public charter schools give parents additional options when selecting the school that is right for their child, particularly when they feel the needs of their child aren’t being met through the traditional public school model.”