Should the union push for more partnership schools?
If the programs that the union is implementing help those schools show progress, then by all means, they should be replicated and allowed to continue.
In June, Mayor Richard M. Daley announced Chicago would create 100 new schools by 2010. Since then, the bold initiative has hit a series of political and financial snags. Though some will fade quickly, others have left even supporters of the plan questioning its future.
In February, the School Board adopted a policy giving itself wide latitude to close schools for academic and non-academic reasons. The only brake is the district’s desegregation consent decree, which averts closing schools when integration would be reduced. However, the decree could be lifted as early as 2006.
The School Board pulled a bait and switch with funding. First, school officials announced that many new Renaissance 2010 schools would be housed in district facilities—an arrangement that has worked out nicely for some existing charter and contract schools. Later, officials revealed that the district would charge the new schools rent and fees for the privilege, cutting into the already modest funding they get to educate children.
low funding from CPS may put a brake on their ambitions. Under Renaissance 2010, the School Board is promising charter and contract operators that they will have a shot at space in CPS facilities. But some charter operators say the rent and operations fees the board plans to charge are cost-prohibitive.
The mix of candidates who want to run charter and contract schools comes primarily from the ranks of universities, nonprofit institutions and leaders within Chicago Public Schools, according to letters of intent filed with the district and a list of attendees from summer training camps for applicants.
State officials are planning for school districts to begin pairing their best teachers with the lowest-achieving students, according to the Sept. 9 Post and Courier. The state Supreme Court ruled in July that school districts need to do a better job of educating needy children. Local school superintendents say experienced teachers are likely to resist reassignment without incentives.
I have no problem with the skepticism of those who need to see concrete results before they are willing to adopt reform. Similarly, I understand that the union’s job is to protect their members and, for whatever reason, they feel threatened by charter schools. What concerns me is the lack of response from charter school proponents via mainstream channels.
|Arne Duncan: Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Public Schools|
|Lula Ford: Commissioner, Illinois Commerce Commission|
|Sandra Guthman: President and CEO, Polk Bros. Foundation|
|Timothy Knowles: Executive Director, University of Chicago Center for Urban School improvement|
|John W. Madigan: Retired Chairman and CEO, Tribune company|