New day at CPS? Board tables charter school bids

sunriseThis is what we mean by listening.

Interim CEO Terry Mazany and the Board of Education put off the vote on 10 charter schools at yesterday’s Board meeting. Mazany told the Tribune he recommended it because of concerns raised by the community during public participation. He also expressed concern about the financial implications of more charters. “We simply do not have any budget flexibility to allocate dollars that will not lead directly to improved educational outcomes for all of our students,” Mazany said.

Whoa! What’s this?? Real democratic governing?

“We don’t want any more charter schools,” said longtime community activist Wanda Hopkins, speaking into a megaphone. “Put the resources back in regular schools where they belong.”

As usual, Wanda gets right to the heart of the matter. In all the talk from mayoral candidates about needing choice, charters and vouchers to fill some supposedly temporary gap until the rest of our schools are fixed, there’s no real plan to fix those schools beyond making it easier to fire more experienced teachers, and I just don’t think that’s going to do it.

Mazany’s stated concern for all our students may just signal the new start we need to begin real school reform again in Chicago, school reform for all, not just a few. So, bravo to CEO Mazany, whom we might even call Superintendent Mazany. Good first Board meeting.

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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.