Charter Schools Get Boost From New Study

CHICAGO (CBS) — You have to test to get into some of Chicago’s public high schools – others you don’t.

So what’s the best in the no-test group?  A new study shows charters are leading the pack.  Kristyn Hartman reports.

Pritzker College Prep is in the Noble Network of Charter Schools.  Student Fabi Gomez chose it for its drive and discipline. 

“From day one, it’s like going to college – not only going to college, but graduating from college,” said Gomez.

What’s different at Pritzker?

Teachers do not belong to a union. They get bonuses for performance.  School days are longer. 

 “I think we have flexibility to do things in different ways,” Principal Pablo Sierra said.

Different,  he says, from neighborhood schools under the same CPS umbrella. Doing things differently seems to be paying off. 

Pritzker students had the second highest average ACT scores of the district’s non-selective schools. 

“Nine of the top 10 are charter schools,” said the Illinois Policy Institute’s Collin Hitt. “It’s a great Chicago story.”

One the institute profiles in this study, with a recommendation that city officials create new charter schools.  The Chicago Teachers Union is skeptical about the study. 

“It’s very flawed,” said CTU Staff Coordinator Jackson Potter. “It doesn’t have all the data that is necessary to make a fair comparison.”

He claims charters don’t have as many non-English speaking students, and charters push out kids who don’t thrive.

“Patently unfair,” Sierra counters. “Our kids are the same kids.”

Sierra believes schools should share best practices for the kids.  So does the district.  There is a waiting list handled by a lottery to get into Pritzker and the other Noble Network schools, seven of which have those top ACT scores. 

Highest average score on the list:  a 21.  That exceeds the CPS average of about 16.

  • campaignstaff

    We don’t need education reform in this country. We need education repeal. That is what Thomas Armstrong will do.

  • Ananda

    Sure they are better they get to select what students they will take and keep in charter schools. Unionized, public schools, have to accept and keep ALL students! Quit union busting!

    • JR

      No, your facts are incorrect. It is a lottery, meaning random kids are chosen. Unlike college prep school like Northside, Lane Tech, Walter Payton that test student. They pick the best students in Chicago.

    • Katie

      Charter schools in Illinois are open enrollment, which means anyone can attend. By law, a charter school must except students on a first-come-first-served basis REGARDLESS OF TEST SCORES, ACADEMIC RECORDS, OR BEHAVIOR RECORDS. If a school recieves more applications than it has seats for, there is a lottery- by law.

      Chicago charter schools must also follow the same rules and regulations for expulsion as CPS schools, which means they cannot jsut push anyone out. They too must accep and keep ALL students. Get your facts straight!

  • tom sharp

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics: Let’s pick the kids who can learn and want to learn, whose parents value education, and exclude language problem kids, special needs kids (e.g., the kid drooling in his Shakespeare), and then compare tests with the public schools that get all the cast offs, indifferent students and parents, and special needs kids. Gee what do you think the outcome will be!

    • Katie

      You need to get your facts straight. Charter schools are open enrollment, so they must accept all who apply (as space allows). This means ANYONE in the city can attend a charter school….ANYONE. By law, academic records, behavior records, and ELL/SPED status cannot be used to “select” students. The same cannot be said for district magnet and selective enrollment schools.

      Students who have been pushed out of the public system frequently get picked up by charter schools. The reason these schools are successful is because of the teachers and administrators who work tirelessly to ensure student success. They are not successful because of the students that attend- rather the talent in front of the students every day.

      • Kenny

        @tom, The kids with guns, knives, police records, etc shouldn’t be in school with good kids. They should be in juvenile detention or prison. Trouble makers have no relevance in any issue. Who cares about the drop out rate for gangsters, they will be dead or in prison before they turn 25 anyway!

      • tom sharp

        okay Katie: where all all the trouble makers in your Charter Schools? They’re not there! Why, because their “parents” don’t care enough to move them out of a troubled school. Their parents are gang bangers as are their grand parents. Did you actually go to public school. I’ve been in 200 of them along with 50 + private schools. The difference is night and day!! Get your facts straight. Don’t quote the rules, you should know by now that no one follows them in Chicago! Do a head count in your pristine Charters, the kids with guns and knives, police records, and multiple handicaps aren’t there at all or are there in much lower numbers (you can count them on one hand and have some fingers left)than in the public schools. If we get all charter schools and close all the public schools the drop-out rate will be north of 50% in this town!

      • lyndia

        I live a block from a charter school. I have never seen a police car up their for a fight or distrubance. No matter what kind of resources you have or how highly a teacher is trained, some chidren do not value education and they come to school to destroy and disrupt. Very few students are pushed out of the public school system. If they are “pushed” out they usually go to night school. Charter schools will not touch them.

  • Julie

    Any student can apply to a charter school, and admission is determined by lottery, i.e. the luck of the draw. So, YES, there definitely are lower-achieving students and Special Needs kids. I can verify that, as my daughter is a Special Needs teacher at a Chicago charter school.

    • tom sharp

      It’s a “selective lottery” parents have to apply for the lottery, that means they have to give damn! You don’t get it. The value parents put on education and the kids’ willingness and desire to learn are the key variables, not the teacher, not the school. Want to try sending kids from your school to a ghetto public school (especially, but not necessarily, a high school) and have their kids come to you. I’ll bet the kids from your school will still have higher scores a year later! You’ll be handling disruptive punks and 10 on 1 fights in the hall while your kids are in their seats learning something in the ghetto.

  • Kat

    Just so you know, not all charter schools in Chicago are non-union, and some faculties have voted for unions in order to receive union protections. Charters in Chicago are not able to join the Chicago Teachers Union. I think the claims that many of the Charters make about the percentage of their students who are admitted to college should be your next investigation. I am willing to bet that many are being accepted into corporate for-profit institutions, where the standard for admission is incredibly low, and the cost can be much higher than an state or community college!

  • Kenny

    I saw a special on charter schools and can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want their kids in them. They weed out the bad apples, and demand excellence from the teachers as well as the students. Teachers are compensated for performance. How can that be bad? If you suck, you’re gone. Unfortunately the unions aren’t all about what they used to be, protecting workers from slave labor tactics and unfair treatment, etc. The only purpose for unions in today’s society is to squeeze employers to get the maximum amount of pay and benefits, regardless of what may be deserved. What is wrong with competition among teachers to be the best they can be, rather than be locked into a contract whether or not they deserve the compensation they are contracted to receive.

    • Katie

      I completely agree and I am a teacher in a charter school. I currently make 20% less than my peers in CPS and I work an average of 60 hours a week. My “work day” is also longer, and I put in an incredible amount of hours after school ends and on the weekends. All this for the kids. Not the select-best-of-the-best kids others have suggested are in charter schools. My student population is 99% free/reduced lunch, 100% African American, 15% SPED, and ALL are excelling in my classroom.

      • Aubrietta

        Katie- Hi, I don’t know much regarding CPS and the other schools in chicago, but I need help in get my child in a GREAT school. My daughter is a very bright, expressive and determine 4yr old. My Daughter is also speech delayed. She aged out of Early Intervention a year ago and I am very reluctant in placing her in our neighborhood school based on academic ratings,community reviews and the area. We’ve lived in chicago for 2.5yrs and don’t have much resources, nor people to depend on. I seriously need advice, because I don’t know what options I have..If you or anyone else reading this could email me or reply that will direct us a step forth in a better education for my child and a relief for me. Thanks!

  • Lyndia

    Parents, PLEASE listen to me. If you have a child that is not a discipline problem and is ready, willing and able to learn, DO NOT PUT THEM IN A CPS SCHOOL. Go private, charter, demonstration, religious, or home school. I know that there are some good public schools but I do not trust them. Katie, your 15% special education must have a slight learning problem which can usually be corrected, however, if you have 1 only one student with a severe behavior problem you would be singing a different song.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live