PURE Report Challenges Public Accountabilty of CPS Renaissance 2010 Schools

In an effort to bring some light to the issue of parent involvement in the governance of Renaissance 2010 schools and how that impacts public accountability, PURE began an investigation into the inner workings of these Chicago Public Schools (CPS) programs.

The report, “Public Accountability and Renaissance 2010,” offers a useful glimpse into the operations and governance of some Renaissance 2010 schools using words taken directly from the governing board minutes PURE obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The report also raises some serious concerns.

Fifty-seven schools or charter networks were contacted. More than two-thirds of these Renaissance 2010 schools failed to respond either to our first or second FOIA request or to a letter from the Illinois Attorney General. We conclude that these schools have no governing bodies, which violates the law and CPS policy.

Within the smaller set of 18 responding schools/networks, we found more reason for concern:

  • Only 7 of the 152 board members of the responding charter schools are parents, or less than 5%. This indicates a major lack of legally-mandated parent involvement in school governance.
  • There are problems with student retention, enrollment, attrition, and “push-outs”.
  • There is evidence of questionable accountability regarding testing, discipline, etc.
  • There are problems with teacher attrition.
  • The by-laws of most of the schools were in violations of the Open Meetings Act.

Because we found the public accountability in Renaissance 2010 schools to be highly questionable, and because LSCs have provided Chicago with nearly twenty years of clean, clear, effective public school accountability, we conclude that all CPS schools, including any Renaissance 2010 schools, should have the proven accountability system of elected, parent majority LSCs.

Read more:

November 19, 2008 press release

Executive Summary 

The full report, “Public Accountability and Renaissance 2010” 

Letter to Renaissance 2010 charter schools from the Illinois Attorney General  

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.