One thing charter schools will not do is apologize for having high
standards and expecting more out of teachers and students. After all,
nothing is more important to our city’s future than creating schools
where student needs are put ahead of all other considerations.
In Massachusetts, the public can easily find financial information for charters, including how much money they bring in, where that money comes from—including private sources—and how much the schools spend on teacher salaries and other expenses. In Illinois, it is nearly impossible to get a good read on similar financial information from charters. Doing so, however, could help direct policy, serve as a guide for future charter schools and give authorizers specific information about which charter schools are in financial trouble.
Charter schools had to replace an average of more than half of their
teachers between 2008 and 2010, a turnover rate on par with some of the
most troubled district-run schools. Experts say that high teacher turnover is associated with a school in
turmoil and that instability often hampers student performance.
Over the past six years, the number of students in higher-performing schools—those in which the majority of students meet state averages on the ISAT—rose 22 percent. But Renaissance 2010, Mayor Richard M. Daley’s grand 2004 plan to close low-performing schools and replace them with better ones (mostly charters), has not been the main spark.