Thursday, April 11, 2013

The State Charter Commission Takes A Breather

Before I forget, the state charter commission canceled its April meeting; I have no idea why, other than that a number of us were appalled at their approval of the Concept school, which then tried to insert itself down the street from the soon to be pillaged Trumbull, a terrific school supported by the neighborhood, the local chamber of commerce, and anyone who's ever set foot in the building.

Which would leave out B3.

Eyes are on this commission now. They have the ability to over-rule democratically elected school boards, but people are starting to wake up to the fact that the financial consequences to school districts is hugely impactful.

Linda Chapa LaVia has introduced a moratorium on virtual charters, which is the first sane thing I've heard out of Springfield in months. In case you've missed it, a virtual charter company has tried to insert itself across a range of suburbs, apparently with the intention of getting its charter from the state commission, which is a stacked deck. An appointed stacked deck, staffed with charter people, not educators.

Chapa LaVia should extend the moratorium to all charters, if you asked me. The financial model doesn't make sense. If you want to read an excellent, in-depth treatment of the issue, subscribe to Jim Broadway's Policy Updates. 

Anyway, let's crowd the commission's next meeting on May 15. This entire commission has roots in the ALEC-Race To The Top nexus, and it's the most undemocratic thing in Illinois. And there's plenty to pick from, there.

As far as charter approval goes, I'm pretty sure that this state commission hasn't gotten the eye of the public yet. I don't know how many people were in attendance when they discussed the expansion of Concept, but I do know that when the public actually becomes aware of a charter approval in a specific neighborhood, the community turns out in droves. It happened recently at the zoning meeting for Concept---- there were so many people there in opposition, they turned away crowds of people.

People want public, neighborhood schools, just like they have in the suburbs.

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