As my Chicago friend Mike (doodahman) points out in Facebook, the City has just issued RFPs for additional Charter Schools. This comes after Chicago Public Schools closed 50 schools throughout the city causing students to travel farther and over crowding other schools. The Chicago Teachers Union sees it as a union busting tactic and predicted it as such as Charter School teachers can not be represented by the union (CTU).
“Without fanfare, the district posted an official ‘request for proposals’ to its website Monday that invites charter schools to apply to open shop in what the school district has identified as priority neighborhoods—large swaths of the Southwest and Northwest sides.
Those heavily Latino areas have struggled with overcrowded schools.
The district wants what it’s calling ‘next generation’ charter schools, which could combine online and traditional teaching. It also wants proposals for arts integration charter schools and dual language charters.
Chicago is coming off a painful process to close 50 schools it said were underutilized; the district last December determined that half its schools are underenrolled. District spokeswoman Becky Carroll said Tuesday in an email that “while there were significant population declines in some parts of the city, there were also increases in other parts of the city…. There are many schools that are overcrowded or are facing overcrowding and we need to address that issue as we do any other.”
The Chicago Teachers Union and others have argued for years that school closures are about making way for charters and weakening the union.
‘We are not surprised at all by this,” said union president Karen Lewis . “We were called conspiracy theorists, and then here is the absolute proof of what the intentions are…. The district has clearly made a decision that they want to push privatization of our public schools.’
The district has been slowly shifting students to charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately run. Around 13 percent of district students—and more than 20 percent of the district’s high school students— are educated in charter schools. Teachers at charters cannot be represented by the Chicago Teachers Union.”
As one reader pointed out in the above article, the Chicago Commercial Club (ComCC) is behind much of the change going on in the Chicago Public School system. The ComCC membership consists of many of the well to do with in the City
“The blatant self-serving intrusion of the ComCC in the city’s education system is highlighted by the fact that its Civic Committee issued a report titled ‘Left Behind’ whose recommendations became the basis for CPS’s draconian Renaissance 2010. The Renaissance 2020 plan called for the closing of 60 to 70 neighborhood schools and for the introduction of up to 70 charter schools. According to DePaul University professor Pauline Lipman ‘Renaissance 2010 opens up the third largest school system in the USA to a market model of school choice, privatization, and elimination of school employee unions and elected local school councils.‘
The ComCC membership consists of many of the well to do from the City who exercise their influence and power regardless of who is in office. The implications of which cause one to wonder what it means for the city and schools with all of this corporate power and influence used to shape both. The bottom line is still to enhance their profits at the expense of the people they claim to be attracting.
Rahm I. Emanuel, Mayor, City of Chicago; William M. Daley, Chief of Staff, The White House; Lester Crown, Chairman, Henry Crown and Company [family wealth = $4.8 billion]; Kenneth C. Griffin, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Citadel, LLC [wealth =$3.7 billion]; Tony W. Hunter, Chief Executive Officer, Tribune Publishing Company Valerie B. Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, White House; Paul V. La Schiazza, President – Illinois, AT&T Illinois; Timothy P. Maloney, Illinois President, Bank of America; J. B. Pritzker, Managing Partner, The Pritzker Group [wealth = $1.6 billion]; Penny Pritzker, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pritzker Realty Group, LP [wealth = $1.7 billion]; Thomas J. Pritzker, Chairman, Hyatt Hotels Corporation [wealth = $1.8 billion]; J. Christopher Reyes, Chairman, Reyes Holdings, LLC [wealth = $2 billion]; Michael D. Scimo, Managing Director, Chicago Office, Accenture; William Wrigley, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Wrigley Management, Inc. [wealth = $2.2 billion], etc.