Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Saturday, May 24, 2014

IL Senate votes to kill Charter Commission. Bad news for Gülen charters?

Fethullah Gülen
The IL Senate voted to abolish the State Charter School Commission which had the power to override school district decisions to reject charter applications. The bill to abolish was sponsored by Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood and passed the Senate 34-22. It now goes back to the House for possible action next week.

This watered-down version of the bill still leaves rejected charter operators a way into to local school districts. It would shift the Commission's authority to a newly created board to be impaneled by Gov. Quinn appointed Supt. Christopher Koch, with final decisions on rejected charter-school applications resting with the State Board of Education.

The Commission seems to have crossed the line when it overrode a CPS Board vote and cleared Des Plaines-based Concept Schools to open two new charter campuses in Chicago. The Sun-Times reported in December that Turkish billionaire and political intriguer Fethullah Gülen, who essentially owns Concept Schools and runs the biggest network of privately-run charters in the U.S., hosted House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and many other Illinois lawmakers on trips to Turkey in recent years.

And records show the state charter commission’s Springfield lobbyist is Liz Brown-Reeves  —  a former Madigan aide who accompanied lawmakers on their trip to Turkey in 2012. The Commission also received big funding from Walton and other private, pro-charter foundations.

I suspect this move is an attempt to clean up the the Gülen connection and create a buffer between the corrupt charter operation, Madigan and Gov. Quinn. Nevertheless, a win for school districts and the teacher unions who stood in opposition to the Commission. We'll see what happens in the House.

1 comment:

  1. As to the title of this post--one can only hope.