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MEDIA WATCH: Chicago charter school frauds begin coming into public eye... CTU researcher Sarah Hainds takes on INCS Andrew Broy on WTTW

With the debates over the Chicago Public Schools budget and major policies now coming to the forefront in Chicago, a recent WTTW Chicago Tonight show on charter schools shows the huge gap between the official line of Chicago's 100 charter schools and so-called "campuses" and the realities (and impact) of charter schools in Chicago. After more than a decade of charter school expansion in Chicago — driven by the ideology of two mayors and four CPS administrations — the public policy debate is finally catching up with the reality, and as the debate over the contract between the CTU and the Board of Education intensifies, the charter school drain on Chicago's real public schools comes into brutal focus.

At WTTW, Sarah Hainds from the CTU's research department, answered questions from WTTW while Andrew Broy of the Illinois Network of Charter schools evaded them. The URL is: http://www.chicagonow.com/district-299-chicago-public-schools-blog/2012/07/charter-budget-debate/

By the end of the day on July 25, 2012, following the outbursts from charter school operators and proponents at the Board of Education meeting, doubtless there will be even more focus on the charter schools in the public debate. The main point at this point in history is that CPS has never honestly explained the complete costs of the 100 charter schools and so-called "campuses" in Chicago, nor has CPS forced the charter schools to be fully transparent in their finances. As a result, many of the highest-paid public school officials in Chicago (and, indeed, Illinois) are charter school executives whose pay and benefits are kept from the public, while many of the lowest paid teachers in Chicago (and Illinois) are the novice teachers who are hired and churned through the city's charter schools every year.

The proposal by Jean-Claude Brizard and the CPS administration that an additional $76 million be allocated to Chicago charter schools in the 2012 - 2013 school year has sparked outrage, and many critics are now calling for a two-year freeze on the expansion of Chicago charter schools and so-called "campuses" while complete transparency is finally mandates, an accounting of the charter schools "push out" phenomenon is exposed (a practice of Noble Street charters, in particular) and other factors are examined. The free ride for Chicago's ever expanding charter schools may finally be ending, but accountability and transparency, after more than 15 years of Chicago charter schools experiments are still a long way away.

Missing from the WTTW discussion were Jean-Claude Brizard or Tim Cawley of the CPS administration, who have simply declared that charter schools are a good program that Chicago must continue to expand, or Penny Pritzker of the Chicago Board of Education, whose family has promoted and funded the fraudulent Noble Network of Charter Schools (which are the schools Mayor Rahm Emanuel claims to be the "best non-selective enrollment high schools in Chicago...") while supporting the ongoing attacks on the city's real public schools. (Noble charter schools routinely kick out their at risk and low scoring students and have done so since Michael Milkie left Wells High School to found Noble Street more than a decade ago; the result is that the high test scores, ACT scores, and graduation rates of Noble Street that are hailed by Pritzker, Emanuel, and CPS administrators are based on an accounting fraud little different from others practiced routinely by the business leaders who claim they have a superior way to manage education in the USA). 



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