CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) visited a Bronzeville charter school on Friday to promote legislation pending in Congress to significantly boost federal funding for charter schools.
“I’m backing legislation in the Senate to … continue the authorization for charter schools around the country,” Kirk said at Perspectives/IIT Math & Science Academy at 37th and Wabash.
WBBM Newsradio’s Terry Keshner reports Kirk outlined proposed legislation to boost federal funding for charter schools to $300 million. The measure is aimed at increasing the number of charter schools across the country.
Kirk referenced a chart showing Perspectives has a higher graduation rate and sends more kids to college than other CPS schools, but he was reminded the Chicago Teachers Union often disagrees with accolades for charter schools.
“I would say look at the numbers. They speak for themselves. In the country, as a whole, we have a million Americans on waiting lists to get into a charter school,” he said. “Let me just say that I know charter schools substantially outperform their regular counterparts.”
However, CTU officials frequently note charter schools are allowed to expel troublesome students, or kids who don’t make top grades if they choose, while traditional public schools don’t have the luxury of taking only the best students.
A Chicago Tribune report earlier this year revealed charter schools expelled 307 students last school year, out of a total enrollment of about 50,000 – or 61 of every 10,000 students. In traditional public schools, 182 kids were expelled from a total enrollment of more than 353,000 students – or only 5 out of every 10,000 students.
Charter schools also are not required to accept students who have learning disabilities.
Recent news reports also have indicated students at charter schools perform no better on standardized tests than kids at traditional public schools. In April, the Sun-Times reported an analysis found more students at traditional schools exceeded standards in math and reading on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test than their charter school counterparts. Students at selective-enrollment schools run by CPS performed far better than both charter school kids and neighborhood school students.