Chicago Public Schools considers 21 additional charter schools

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Chicago Board of Education is set to consider as many as 21 proposals for new charter schools. As you’ll see in the article, the rhetoric is already heating up. But, the state has no budget and no vision for correcting its decades-long failure to adequately fund schools. Pension debt is expanding at the rate of the universe. The city has lost population and the children who remain in our system still too often leave without being adequately prepared to succeed in higher education and employment.

At a time like this, Chicago Public Schools needs a strategy, not an ideology. That strategy should be focused on making sure that every child in this city has access to high quality education. Nothing should be off the table, including new charter schools. But focus on quality; not charters for charters sake.

Charter school operators have proposed opening 21 new campuses in the city starting in the 2017-18 school year, Chicago Public Schools announced before Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting.

The district said it received “letters of intent” for the new campuses from 16 charter school organizations. Letters of intent don’t bind operators to open new schools, and a lengthy process to approve detailed charter campus plans must still play out. CPS could reject some of the proposals, though charter operators can appeal some of the district’s decisions to a state commission.

“The district will continue to prioritize charter quality in its decisions going forward,” district spokesman Michael Passman said in a statement.

The potential for more charters comes as CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union are negotiating a contract that could include a restriction on the total number of the privately-operated but publicly-funded schools.

Read the whole piece over at Chicago Tribune.

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Chris Butler is first a husband and a dad. He has been involved across the spectrum of public engagement activities and has worked with a number of diverse constituencies in urban and suburban communities. He has also been involved in several political campaigns including his service as a youth and young adult coordinator for Barack Obama’s primary bid for U.S. Senate. Chris worked as deputy campaign manager and field director for A+ Illinois where he developed a strong, statewide field operation including over 500 organizations and 50,000 individuals around the state working to bring adequacy and equity to Illinois’ school funding system and as the director of advocacy and outreach at New Schools for Chicago, a leader in school reform in Chicago. Chris is a 2006 graduate of the Ministry Training Institute and holds a degree in civic and political engagement from Northeastern Illinois University.