PSAT for 4-8-14: Let Springfield know the truth about charter schools

psat_logoToday, charter school advocates will be taking out their checkbooks to fund Springfield trips for folks to lobby for less oversight of and more money for charter schools.

Mayor Emanuel says that the truth about charter schools’ mediocre performance compared with regular schools is “yesterday’s debate.”

Not really. The truth always matters, and the truth about charter schools is only beginning to get front page coverage.

So, while Bill Gates’ and the Walton’s minions are trudging down to Springfield to echo the Mayor’s efforts to brush off the truth about charters, please call, fax, or e-mail your state representative and senator with the truth.

Here’s what I faxed to every member of the Illinois House:

Look at charter school evidence, not expensive PR

Yesterday, Chicago’s two major newspapers made it very clear that charter schools can be very problematic and DO NOT provide better academic results.

But today you will be approached by busloads of well-financed charter school advocates trying to spin the facts while they ask you to ignore the truth and pave the way for more money and  “freedom” for charters.

Here’s the truth about charter schools:

The Chicago Tribune reported on the drastic, regressive discipline policy of one of the largest of these charter franchises, the Noble Network of Charter Schools. Even as the Chicago Public Schools is working toward more effective, positive discipline policies that keep students in school and learning, Noble is suspending and expelling students at a vastly greater rate than the district, and making their families pay significant dollars in the process.

The Sun-Times reported that Chicago’s charter school achievement rates are no better than that of the district overall, and far worse than the more comparable district magnet schools which have similar non-selective lottery enrollment systems. This confirms years of research which has been largely ignored as corporate reformers demand an ever-expanding “marketplace” for privately-run charter schools.


  • Pay attention to the research, not the rhetoric about charter schools.
  • Support HB3937, (HCA1) which extends the moratorium on virtual charter schools.
  • Support HB4591, which would require charter schools to return pro-rated funds for the kids they “counsel out.
  • Support HB5328, LSCs and other accountability for charter schools.
  • Support HB5887, which puts reasonable financial accountability on virtual charter schools.
  • Support HB6005, a major charter school accountability act.

Thank you!


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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.