Monday, May 05, 2008

State should pass bill, lift charter school cap

This is more commentary but certainly something to consider. I'm a bit fiscally conservative, if the schools can't get the job right with more money they why should they get more money. On the other hand if there are more private interests that can do a better job at less cost, then more power to them.

The model that has worked for so long in this country isn't the model that should continue without serious reforms. One reform I've come up with is that in Chicago the public school system should be scaled down. Sell some of the assets and keep a few of them for those families that can't afford their child an education. Perhaps being the 2nd or 3rd largest school system in the nation just should be something a school district should aspire to anymore.

In any case read this commentary and tell me what you think. I would say this is a good step in the right direct I would dare say there shouldn't be a cap on charter schools at all. That's not to say there's shouldn't be a procedure for converting a public school to a charter school:

Illinois parents and kids are beating down the doors to get into the state's 35 public charter schools.

At UNO Charter School in Chicago, 2,220 applicants vied for 400 spots last year. Across Chicago, 7,000 students wait for a seat at one of 28 charters, which are spread across 65 campuses. Statewide, 13,000 sit on wait lists.

Parents flock to charter schools because they tend to be smaller, more innovative and -- most importantly -- their students usually do better than kids at comparable neighborhood schools. Parents know a good deal when they see it: a publicly funded school freed from bureaucracy, giving it room to set its schedule, adjust its curriculum and spend as it sees fit.

That's a compelling argument for more charter schools.

We support a bill in Springfield to allow for additional charter schools, which admit kids by lottery and, in Chicago, serve mostly low-income, minority kids. Currently, state law puts a cap of 60 charter schools in Illinois, with just 30 in Chicago.

This is among the most restrictive caps in the nation. Of the 10 largest states, Illinois has the fewest charter schools. California has more than 700, Ohio more than 300.

The Illinois bill, which has passed the Senate, wouldn't open the flood gates. It would simply raise the cap from 60 to 100 charters and remove limits on how many each city or region could have.
Via today's Capitol Fax morning shorts.

1 comment:

Joseph said...

I live in Ohio and wish we had planned better when implementing charter schools.

Instead- a bunch of for-profit school operators came into Ohio and started schools that have - or are the process of - failing Ohio's children and stealing much-needed tax-dollars.

You should be happy that your state is taking the process slowly and doing it correctly.

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