The following is from Stephanie Gadlin, communications director for the Chicago Teachers Union.
Changes could prevent private investors such as Bruce Rauner from raiding public assets and further benefitting from failed school reform policy
The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has been a vocal critic of Illinois charter operations which compete with neighborhood schools for critical resources and often cherry-picks students based on test scores. The law that sanctions the privately held, publicly funded charters is deeply flawed and in the wake of the UNO scandal the union and taxpayers have continued to lobby lawmakers to do something about it.
Thus, CTU, along with a number of education advocates, parents and others, currently backs several pieces of legislation under consideration in Springfield that will bring significant reforms to unstable charter movement in Illinois, including a bill calling for the elimination of the Illinois State Charter School Commission.
“Tax payers are demanding more accountability from charter operators; they want to know whether the money going to these schools is actually being spent on educating students,” said CTU President Karen Lewis, NBCT. “With all of this talk of school choice there is surprisingly little information about their students’ rates of graduation, drop out or push out from these organizations. The law as its currently written totally undermines the authority of the Illinois State Board of Education and gives it to a shadow commission with little to no oversight. This is unacceptable in the nation’s third largest school district.”