INCS Statement regarding Chicago Public Schools (CPS) process on charter school actions

Feb 27, 2013, 16:43 ET from Illinois Network of Charter Schools

CHICAGO, Feb. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the Chicago Board of Education announced that six charter public schools would be placed on "Academic Watch" – Ace Tech, Aspira-Early College, Catalyst-Howland, CICS-Basil, Galapagos, and North Lawndale-Collins. This announcement was made before any consultation with the affected schools and without any understanding of what academic watch actually means.

While the Chicago charter community embraces accountability, this process is simply shoddy authorizing.  The decision also demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of the nature of the charter school model and attempts to unilaterally change charter contracts with no notice or partnership.

The charter public school community considers itself a partner with CPS on improving education in the city.  But as a partner, we were not part of the development of these proposed policies.  With less than one day's notice about being on "Academic Watch," schools did not have an appropriate opportunity to prepare responses to the board or their own families.  Charter public schools create long range plans, as well as community and financial obligations that are unique to the model.  Shifting and unclear expectations make it impossible for charters to continue to deliver the results that they have demonstrated are possible for Chicago Public School students.

We at INCS take serious issue with these policies.  We are adamant supporters of robust accountability for charter schools, including non-renewal or other ramifications if they do not deliver agreed-upon results for their students within the timeframe of their contract.  However, it is impossible for charter schools to meet a moving target of accountability, or effectively participate in a constantly shifting process. Four CPS administrations in five years have continuously moved the goal posts. We urge the Board of Education to stand by the contracts that charter operators signed and are executing to serve Chicago Public School families. 

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.

Sylvia Ewing 
312-629-2063 ext.33

SOURCE Illinois Network of Charter Schools