|Billionaire Rauner. His money goes to Rahm's charter expansion. (F. Klonsky toon)|
According to the Tribune, CPS officials expect about 53,000 of the district's roughly 400,000 students will attend charter schools this year, and the number of charters will increase to more than 100. The city is aiming to add 60 charter schools in the next five years with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is trying to expand charters across the country.
The Trib cites experts who call union's stand against privately run charter networks unique in the United States, where several big cities, including New York, also have pushed charter schools.
"What's different is this is really the first mass movement against that comprehensive strategy" for privatization, said Janelle Scott, an associate professor at the University of California at Berkeley who studies school policy.They also point out that charters on average, are performing no better that traditional public schools when it comes to comparative standardized test scores -- Rahm's gold standard.
Critics point out that charter schools' results may look better in part because the schools practice their own form of student selection by squeezing out students with academic or discipline problems.
For instance, Urban Prep Academy has made headlines because the entire graduating class of the all-boys charter school gained college acceptance three years in a row. But school administrators acknowledge that the 2012 class of 85 boys was half its original size by graduation day, though they say the school works hard to keep troubled students in school.Chicago;s charters also receive hundreds of millions of dollars beyond what other public schools get, largely from power philanthropists like Republican billionaire and Rahm supporter, Bruce Rauner.
"The private funding picture makes broad comparisons of per-pupil spending difficult," says the Trib.