Chicago School Board approves 7 more charter schools

January 22, 2014 (CHICAGO)

These seven charter schools are in addition to 10 others that have already been approved.

"This whole effort is about improving the overall quality of our schools and the education of our children," David Vitale, school board president, said.

The vote came after a heated debate over the growth of charter schools.

"This is a good thing for our neighborhood. A good thing where kids can go and I can tell parents when they move into the ward, yes, we have a good school instead of saying no, they got to go outside the neighborhood," Ald. Emma Mitts, 37 Ward, said.

Charter opponents have rallied for weeks against the charter proposals, citing the district's decision last year to close nearly four dozen neighborhood schools because of under-enrollment. The Chicago Teachers Union staged an overnight vigil outside CPS headquarters in subzero temperatures. "They take away resources from neighborhood schools. They do not perform better. There are no significant studies that show charter schools are worth the amount of money," CTU President Karen Lewis said. Twenty-two charter schools were originally submitted for consideration. Supporters say the expansion will offer parents more choice.

"I think CPS is trying to add high quality public schools of choice and they're doing that through this vote today. The idea that expanding charter schools is tantamount to privatizing public schools is simply not true," Andrew Broy, Illinois Network of Charter Schools, said.

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