Turning around charter schools in Chicago

I’ve blogged about this issue before, but it’s important to remember charter schools are (well, charter schools should be) accountable for their results. If a charter school is not educating students, it should close. The management of five Chicago charter schools recently shifted, and one school is currently undergoing a major overhaul (AKA a turnaround-like effort).

Charter schools are often cited as a better option for some students (particularly in high poverty high minority communities), but that does not mean every charter school is strong. Charters may have freedom from traditional union rules and district bureaucracies (and supplemental private funding), but they are also constrained by limited per pupil district/state/federal funding, limited funds for facility/capital improvements, the realities of the surrounding communities, sometimes poorly run CMO’s (Charter Management Organizations), and a low-performing leader in any school will negatively impact the performance of both students and teachers.

Kudos to CMOs (in this case Chicago International Charter Schools) that actively evaluate their portfolio of schools and make changes to schools which aren’t meeting expected goals. Any student attending a public school should receive a basic high quality education, and charter schools are public schools. Charter or no charter, a good school should be replicated and an underperforming school should be changed or closed.

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