The Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity (which is part of the University of Minnesota Law School) recently published a report that assessed how Chicago’s charter schools are performing relative to comparable CPS schools (aka neighborhood public schools). The report concluded that charter schools are no more effective (and perhaps less effective) than neighborhood schools on a number of performance metrics. Additionally, the report recommended a three-year moratorium on opening new charter schools in Chicago, as well as a host of other actions that would make it harder to open additional charter schools in the future.
After reading this report, Liam Krehbiel, Founder and CEO of A Better Chicago felt compelled to write an op-ed for two reasons. Here’s what he had to say; “First, we at A Better Chicago want to share a different approach to thinking about charter school performance. It is absolutely true to say that there are some underperforming charter schools. However, it is misleading to only think about charter school performance in the aggregate. As you’ll see in the op-ed, many of our city’s very best open enrollment public schools are charter schools.
He continues; “But, the bigger point is that we need to change the conversation. Rather than focusing on charter schools versus neighborhood schools, we need to think about how to create more great schools (of all types) and how to fix or shut down more bad schools. In other words, let’s end the ideology debate and instead focus on pursuing whatever practical solutions are available to us to give Chicago’s students the best chance of getting a great education.”
Finding and growing the best practices to insure a good education shouldn’t be a political issue. Collaborative efforts to support and grow what works is the future. Liam Krehbiel is spot on.