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CPS Board Approves Seven More Charter Schools

By aaroncynic in News on Jan 23, 2014 8:40PM

(Charter School protest and vigil/courtesy of Justin Carlson)

The Chicago Board of Education voted yesterday to approve seven new charter schools, reports the Chicago Tribune. Despite plenty of protests and criticism, Chicago Public Schools officials recommended the board green light seven of the 17 proposed charters, five of which are scheduled to open this fall. The district opened 15 charter schools this past August and plans to open 60 total before 2017. Calling the approval “progress,” Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools said “It’s a somewhat modest number, but it’s good.”

But while proponents of charter schools are pleased, many CPS parents, teachers and students feel differently. Prior to the hearing, a few dozen protesters held a vigil, some of which spent all night camping out in front of the board’s headquarters on Clark Street. "These are the kinds of lengths we have to go to, to get heard around here,” said CTU staff coordinator Jackson Potter. According to the Sun-Times, Chicago Teacher’s Union President Karen Lewis said:

“What is being presented is a false choice. Knowledge is the basis for real choice. What parents and the public are being presented with is a pre-determined path that leads to the undermining of our neighborhood schools and the privatization of public education.”

The Board approved the following charter schools:

  • Chicago Education Partnership in Austin.
  • Intrinsic Schools, which plans to open a campus on the Northwest side.
  • Noble Charter Schools - one campus in Belmont Cragin and another which will be temporarily located at 17 N. State until a permanent neighborhood location is found.
  • Great Lakes Academny in South Shore.
  • Concept Schools - one location in Chatam and one in Chicago Lawn.

DNAinfo reports CPS Board President David Vitale called the vote a “complex situation.” “This whole effort is about improving the overall quality of our schools and the education of our children, and as you can tell by the discussion today, we have a lot of challenging balancing to do between different views of how to go about executing that goal,” said Vitale. Aldermen Bob Fioretti and Scott Waguespack both called on the board to delay the vote for a year, with Waguespack saying it “defies common sense and logic” in the face of last year’s school closings.