Friday, January 24, 2014

Charter Schools “illustrate the predatory corporate-led agenda currently waged on public schools”

Chicago Teachers Union President (CTU) Karen Lewis said the decision by the Chicago Board of Education to approve seven new charter schools is hypocritical in the face of recent school closings and only further illustrates the predatory corporate-led agenda currently waged on public schools. She said [the] vote to approve seven new publicly-funded, privately held charter operations, in the wake of school budget cuts, lacked logic, reason and common sense. Just six months ago, the Board voted to close nearly 50 schools allegedly because there weren't enough students to fill the seats. 

"Claiming a billion dollar deficit and the exodus of African Americans from the city, the school district shuttered the most elementary schools in our nation's history. Ironically, the justification for today's vote, according to Chicago Public School (CPS) leaders, is to ‘relieve overcrowding,’ even though 47 percent of all existing charters are underutilized with more than 11,000 un-used seats. 

"District leaders claim charter operations, most of which fare no better than regular CPS schools, offer parents a 'high-quality choice.' Yet, even though thousands of parents chose last year to keep their neighborhood schools open, the Board and CPS officials refused to adhere to their wishes. As the school district touts the benefits of charters it rarely provides the public with factual and important information that would inform a parent's decision to enroll their child in a charter operation. 

"'Freedom to choose is at the bedrock of our society,' Lewis said, 'But choice should be based on fact and data. What is being presented is a false choice. Knowledge is the basis for real choice. What parents and the public are being presented with is a pre-determined path that leads to the undermining of our neighborhood schools and the privatization of public education.' 

"Lewis also decried the ‘seamy underbelly’ of the charter movement, saying 'The insider deals, the lack of transparency and accountability in many of these operations illustrate a double standard. Behavior that would get an administrator fired in CPS, gets their charter counterparts bonuses via the largess of the taxpayers.' 

"The labor leader and chemistry teacher said the Board should seek to overhaul Illinois law that allows charters to circumvent the district and have their campuses open, despite concerns about operations and curriculum. 

"The CTU offered to work with the Board to address the shortcomings in the existing charter law that gave unprecedented authority to an authorizing agency.  'The CTU has solutions to augment the current law, and we believe our proposals will allow the district to spend tax payer money more efficiently, transparently and [with] real accountability, not simply based on test scores.'" 

This article was printed in Substance News by George N. Schmidt, January 22nd



  1. From Jack Tucker:

    Went to the Charter School panel last night in Batavia. WOW! What a revelation. We've been told that Charter Schools can be more efficient and provide a better education by eliminating the bureaucracy. CLAPTRAP! CEOs are running off with all the money. UNO’s CEO makes more money than the mayor and is "responsible" for the education of 7000 students. "Not for profit" means that you can sell off assets to a phony corporation and then lease them back at exorbitant prices. Some phony agency is getting $6500 per employee to provide "teachers" who must work 8:00 to 5:00 for less than union scale AND give EVERY student and parent their cell phone number and take calls 24/7.

    You only thought slavery was illegal.


  2. From Joni Lindgren:

    Glen...last night I went to John Laesch's forum on Charter Schools. It was a GREAT forum! On the panel was: Dr. Chris Lubienski who wrote the book, "The Public School Advantage, "Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools"; Dr. Jean Pierce...Charter School Academic Performance in Illinois; Ricky Rodgers who spoke about proven innovations to reach At-Risk Youth in East Aurora Schools; Sarah Hainds told about how Charters are diverting money from the classroom; and Byron Sigcho, an activist and educator, spoke on UNO Charters and the Corruption! As you know, UNO has received $98 million and was supposed to receive $35 more million this year until our legislature found out that family members were the only ones who were getting the contracts to perform the work. That's when the Legislature pulled back from the $35 more million. But the tax money they receive pays bills, but also pays for Madigan's know the drill!

    John Laesch urged everyone to call their Senator and Rep. and tell them to support HB 3754 which will dissolve the Charter School Commission Board and restore the Illinois State Board of Education as the statewide charter school authorization and will also restore local control of charters! For your senator, the bill is SB 2627.

  3. Instead of closing down Chicago’s public schools and advocating privatization through charter schools, what needs to be addressed is the inequality of property taxes that primarily fund public schools in Chicago (and elsewhere in Illinois); the poverty, dispossession and violence in Chicago; the self-perpetuating impact this has upon teaching and learning in Chicago public schools; the disparities between charter schools and public schools’ economic resources for programs: in other words, the scarcity of textbooks and other essential materials for Chicago’s public-school students; the need for more school libraries and for an enriched curricula that include music, art, theatre, creative writing, and physical education; the need for more social workers, counselors, nurses and other support staff (to name just a few of the inequities).

    What is most unfortunately connected to the charter school issue is the villainy of government officials and corporate-financed media and their attacks on public-school teachers; corporate-educational reform and the privatization of public schools by profiteers; the forced “turnarounds” subsidized by billionaires and their officiousness to “control and take over” public schools for self-interest and profit: thus, the closing and destruction of Chicago Public Schools and the resultant systematic destruction of their communities.