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Union goes on the offensive against charters
Now that CPS has its school closings deadline extension in hand, the Chicago Teachers Union has fired another volley in the battle over school closings.
In a report embargoed until today, “The Black and White of Education in Chicago’s Public Schools,” the union reiterates the charge that school closings have disproportionately affected African-American students and blames CPS charter school openings for funneling students away from neighborhood schools. (As part of the embargo, CTU asked reporters not to discuss the findings with CPS for comment.)
The report finds that high schools that have been targeted for school actions may be struggling because of factors outside their control. Of the 10 high schools with the lowest incoming student scores on the EXPLORE test (which high schools do not have influence over) between 2009 and 2012, nine were turned around, closed or phased out.
CTU also goes on the offensive against charters, particularly on the issues of:
*School leader pay. Several multi-campus charter school networks often have presidents and CEOs who earn more money per student served than the CEO of Chicago Public Schools. The charter network with the highest-paid chief relative to the number of students served is at Urban Prep’s Tim King, followed by leaders at LEARN Charter and North Lawndale College Prep. Schools chiefs at Perspectives, UNO, Noble Network of Charter Schools, and Chicago International Charter Schools also earn more per student than schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, according to the report. The charter chiefs’ salaries range from $101,591 at North Lawndale College Prep, to $289,274 at LEARN.
*Enrollment. According to the report, the district’s 2013 budget showed that not all charter school slots were filled.
*Student achievement. The report points out that the average value-added scores at high-poverty, more than 90 percent African-American schools are actually higher among CPS-run schools than among charters. CPS-run schools scored, on average, in the 43rd percentile and charters in the 33rd. The schools’ math scores were similar. Among schools that are 85 percent or more low-income students, charters outscored district-run schools on math (but still did worse on reading).
*Teacher diversity. The report charges that more than 95 percent of charter school students are black or Latino, but only 30 percent of teachers are.
*Teacher turnover. The report claims that just 65 percent of teachers at Noble Network of Charter Schools, and 54 percent of teachers at UNO charter schools, return to their jobs each year.