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Update: Nobody Wants To Talk Charters In Chicago Right now

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comWhen Chicago Public Television's nightly news show tried to get folks to come in and talk about charter schools for a segment last night, there weren't any folks from the charter community who were willing to show up.  

That's strange. Usually it's not hard to round up people who want to be on TV. Perhaps it was just the cold weather.   

Or perhaps it was the fact that charters are particularly controversial in Chicago right now, despite being just 12 percent of kids in Chicago (#9 for choice in the nation according to the recent Brookings report) and having what some consider a very tight application process.

The most obvious reason for the controversy surrounding charters in Chicago is the spectacular flameout of one of its biggest advocates -- and beneficiaries -- Juan Rangel.  The latest issue of Chicago Magazine chronicles his story, which makes for excruciating or exciting reading depending on your point of view on charters (The Rise and Fall of Juan Rangel).

It's worth noting that this is a Chicago corruption / nepotism story as much as charter school story.  Sorry to say, these kinds of stories are still fairly commonplace.  And most of the misdeeds took place during the Daley era, though Mayor Emanuel obviously didn't do anything to clean things up upon his arrival. (That's why there's been no press conference from the Mayor in which he apologizes and says that this kind of thing is unacceptable.)

But there are also some issues raised in the piece for charter supporters in Chicago and nationally and for CPS as it moves forward, including the eye-popping lack of oversight over the UNO charter network by CPS (which authorizes and monitors charters internally) that continued well into the Emanuel administration and the incredible news that nepotism bans that cover the district don't cover charter networks.  Crossed fingers someone will step up and propose some steps to prevent any more UNO situations from happening in the future.

Comments

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Charter crooks.

Prevent any more from happening in the future? They are happening all over the nation right now. Par for the course. This is the reform movement at its purest.

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