Renaissance 2010 Up For Vote
By Margaret Lyons in News on Sep 22, 2004 6:06PM
The Chicago Board of Education votes today to approve Mayor Daleys overhaul of Chicago public schools. If you didn't know already, Daleys plan, Renaissance 2010, calls for the closing of 60 schools, replacing them with 100 new schools over the next six years. The new schools will include charter schools and schools contracted to the private sector.
What exactly the board is voting on isn't completely clear: the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, in a lawsuit filed against the Chicago school district, claims part of the plan already went into effect in June. The district closed 10 under-enrolled schools and transferred 4,000 students. The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless filed the suit two weeks ago saying the district violated their agreement in a suit settled in 2000 to provide educational stability to homeless children.
Proponents of the plan are excited about the progressive thinking behind Renaissance 2010 while critics, the most vocal of which is the Chicago Teachers Union, claim the plan will be an experiment with Chicagos childrens educations and that it will take away these new schools accountability to the public.
CTU President Meryl Stewart also said the charter schools are not the "panacea" proponents of the plan hope it is, citing the collapse of the California Charter Academy, a large publicly financed, privately run school program. The failure left 6,000 students, and still leaves some of them, without schools. Talk about a snow day! Er, a fire or earthquake day?
Anyway, the CTU criticizes Daleys timing as the plan was announced during a bitter CTU presidential election. The CTU is also concerned that "novice" teachers will be put into jobs that don't pay them well and don't provide benefits. Or maybe its just the fact that these private schools won't be accountable to the union.