Here are three excellent, short presentations of recent Illinois-based research on charter schools, which are proliferating in Chicago because they're the new patronage plum. And also because the mayor and city council's basic underlying thing is that neighborhood schooling doesn't work where there are lots of poor people who look a certain way. In these situations, what you want to do above all else is to make sure the people can't vote for the school board, and then destabilize the neighborhood schools so that there's a general sense of fear and chaos.
Thankfully, people are still looking at actual data and pointing out that truth is still detectable even in the fog of privatization.
Here's Dr. Jean Pierce, of the League of Women Voters, pointing out that mobility, special education, and socioeconomic status are the drivers of academic achievement (as measured by test scores) in Illinois. Charter, traditional neighborhood school---- it doesn't matter. Test scores tell you who you've got, not what you've done. (<--- that's my interpretation and always has been).
Comparing Charters and Traditional Neighborhood Public Schools Outside of Chicago
Her research is especially start when you look at the graphs one on top of another.
And here's Dr. Federico Waitoller, from UIC, who along with Dr. Josh Radinsky have an excellent letter in today's Tribune, which I am loathe to link to. Their research looks into the types of special ed student served in traditional neighborhood schools versus those in charters and finds that what everyone has been saying over the past few years is true. Waitoller is speaking in English and Spanish, which is in itself more than most people shutting down neighborhood schools can do.
Students Receiving Special Education in Charter Schools in Chicago
And here's Dr. Chris Lubienski, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, whose research points out among other things, that the actual gains achieved by students in public schools outstrip those achieved by students in independent schools, and he places this finding in the context of the existing research on school achievement and the discussion about charter schools. It's pretty fascinating research that I can say fits my understanding of academic achievement after serving in both private and public schools over a career.
Academic Performance in Charter Schools: The Big Picture
Of course, the idea that there's all of this evidence that contradicts the mayor's course of action and that this fact will have any impact on policy--- well, that's rather a quaint notion these days. The main thing is to keep people disenfranchised. That's the golden ring in all of this. If they can't vote, then all of this research is just confetti.