CHICAGO, Aug. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the unfortunate news recently that the Chicago Teachers Union is poised for a strike, the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) and its member schools want to assure families that charter public schools in Chicago will remain open—regardless of what happens with respect to the ongoing negotiations between the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union.
"Charter schools in Chicago are already in session for the 2012-2013 school year and will continue to focus on educating the 52,000 public school students enrolled in charter schools across our city," noted Andrew Broy, President of INCS. In previous months, various media outlets have erroneously reported that the strike threatens the education of the 402,000 students enrolled in public schools throughout the city. In reality, because charter school teachers are not represented by the Chicago Teacher Union, the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations will have no impact on the 110 existing charter school campuses in Chicago and the eight new campuses opening this year.
Over the past month, parents across Chicago have contacted charter schools with increasing frequency, hoping to ensure that their children will have schools to attend in the coming weeks. "Every charter public school has the autonomy to be different," remarked Dr. Beth Purvis, CEO of Chicago International Charter School, which operates 15 charter schools in the city serving more than 9,000 students. "All charter public schools are open-enrollment and some Chicago charters, including CICS, will have the capacity to enroll many of these students. The fact remains, however, that the waitlist for charter schools has increased to 19,000 over the past year, which is proof of continued strong demand for a charter school education."
Charter schools are tuition free public schools that are held strictly accountable under a performance contract with the district. In exchange for this heightened accountability, charter schools are free to innovate and receive greater autonomy from the state and district to make decisions at the school level. Many of these innovations—including school-based decision making—are being adopted by the Chicago Public Schools in an attempt to accelerate academic achievement across the district.
This school year marks the 15th anniversary since the first charter school opened in Chicago. In just the past five years, charter school enrollment in Chicago has doubled. In fact, if the Chicago charter school sector was a separate school district, it would be the second largest among the state's 871 school districts. "At INCS, we want to make sure that all public schools focus on what works, including a relentless focus on teacher quality and ensuring that every school is led by a strong principal," stated Broy. "But until adults subordinate their interests to those of our students, the unfortunate reality is that far too many people will fight for decisions that hurt students."
The Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) is dedicated to the improvement of education by establishing high-quality charter public schools that transform lives and communities. As the voice of the Illinois charter schools, INCS advocates for legislation on behalf of the charter sector, provides support to strengthen charter schools, and influences education policy for the benefit of all public school students.
Contacts: Sylvia Ewing
(312) 629-2063 x 33
(773) 575-0073 (mobile)
SOURCE Illinois Network of Charter Schools