Monday, December 12, 2011

Report finds charters struggling like other CPS schools

There's a similar (and wonderful) dynamic occurring in Chicago:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city leaders have long heralded charter schools' innovative approach to education, but new research suggests many charters in Chicago are performing no better than traditional neighborhood schools and some are actually doing much worse.

More than two dozen schools in some of the city's most prominent and largest charter networks, including the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO), Chicago International Charter Schools, University of Chicago and LEARN, scored well short of district averages on key standardized tests.

…Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, acknowledged that maybe a dozen underperforming charter schools are in need of "substantial actions" that may include closing. But simply looking at how many students have met state benchmarks is not a fair assessment, he said; a more important indicator is student growth over time.

…The report cards are somewhat limiting, only looking at a school's performance in 2010-11. But the trends show that despite their celebrated autonomy, discipline and longer school days, charter schools are struggling to overcome the poverty that so often hampers underperforming neighborhood schools.

…But even charters' staunchest supporters admit that success has not been widespread across all schools. New Schools for Chicago, which invested in dozens of charters after then-Mayor Richard Daley launched a massive charter expansion program in 2010, has compiled a watch list for poor-performing charters that they've turned over to CPS.

"In general for charters that have been around for more than five years and not performing, we're supporting their closure or restructuring of these schools," said New Schools Chief Executive Phyllis Lockett. "At the end of the day, we need the bar set on what achievement needs to look like."


Report finds charters struggling like other CPS schools

Poverty dogs students despite schools' flexibility, autonomy

Teacher Stephanie Licker works on arithmetic problems with fifth-graders… (Antonio Perez, Chicago Tribune)

November 30, 2011|By Joel Hood and Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Chicago Tribune reporters 

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