If the past decade was defined by a remarkable expansion of charter schools in Chicago, the next 10 years might ultimately be about accountability.
The Illinois education department last week released detailed performance data for city charter schools for the first time, revealing that many schools from even the most prominent charter networks struggle to close the achievement gap for low-income students.
The next day, officials of the Chicago public school system announced they were seeking to close two underperforming elementary schools, begin phasing out two troubled high schools, and consolidating a handful of other schools in the 409,000-student district. No charter school made the closing list, although in some of them, students performed nearly as badly on state exams as in schools marked for closing.
City schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard, a staunch supporter of charter schools, said they are not held to a different standard, but the district’s power over them is limited.
A version of this article appeared in the December 15, 2011 edition of Education Week as Chicago Charters Get New State Scrutiny