November 5, 2015; Progress Illinois

Other than the Health CO-OPs established under the ACA, there might be no other field of nonprofits so subject to failure as charter schools. Now, the Chicago Public Schools has announced that it will close four of these within its system for “chronically underperforming.” All are on the Academic Warning List and are “either up for a renewal or have failed to implement required remediation plans,” the district said.

CPS CEO Forrest Claypool released a statement, saying, “The proposed closures announced today were made to ensure better outcomes for students, and signal to charters not performing well, that they need to either improve or pack their bags because they will not be able to operate in Chicago.”

Ten charter schools in all were placed on academic warning last week. The schools are not to be closed until June. There are 1200 children that will be affected.

Meanwhile, late last month two new charter schools were approved, and Illinois recently received a $42 million grant to open 70 more charter schools across the state over the next five years. A representative of parent-advocacy group Raise Your Hand protested that Charters are already under-enrolled, with a total of 12,000 empty seats, and the district’s enrollment is declining. Dan Montgomery of the Illinois Federation of Teachers commented, “Charters overall are not doing a better job than regular public schools. In many cases, they’re doing a worse job.”—Ruth McCambridge