I think that Renaissance 2010 was a good idea, but it failed to partner with communities to improve schools. It was a one-sector approach to a complex problem that could have never been resolved without building those bridges. I believe that Charter Schools provide an opportunity for innovative school learning and teaching
models. In addition, I believe that some schools are performing so poorly that they need to be
reconstituted so that children can continue learning without being moved to another school.
I do not support the privatization of public education, and as Mayor, will focus on improving our
public school system.
Unfortunately, Renaissance 2010 has assumed the rhetoric of the small schools movement, which I believe holds promise for school reform, but has turned its back on the real content of the ideas small schools. Instead it has become a smokescreen for closing schools and privatization
of public schools. Both nationally and locally, charter schools have been hyped as an alternative
to traditional public schools. The overall record of charter schools is not significantly better than
public schools, have not opened their doors to all students, have siphoned higher performing
students while leaving other students with fewer options and have sometimes been used to prevent teachers from organizing. If charter schools are to have a future in Chicago, they must become a part of an overall education plan for the city with clear purpose and on-going assessments of their success or failures.
Renaissance 2010 was established to create 100 high-performing schools in certain needed
communities. These schools have autonomy to innovate their curriculum and involve the entire
school community. It was a program model designed to create academic options for students.
Renaissance schools used various governance models like the charter schools and others run by
private organizations. Success of the Renaissance 2010 schools will be determined by the results
of student performance, and accountability that goes beyond test scores. As a parent, I understand the need for academic options for one’s children. Renaissance 2010 schools represent an option. However, it is important that they produce successful student performance and collaborative parental involvement. But some have not performed particularly well, and success across charter schools is difficult to measure. And we must not set up two parallel school systems. We need to invest public resources in a way that ensure that every neighborhood school is a quality school, as lots of families do not have access to charter schools and selective-enrollment schools.
It is crucial that we now address the neighborhood schools with the same fervor for accountability,
student performance, parent involvement, and equalized funding. We must review and monitor schools that continue to perform at unacceptable levels. We must also review reconstitution plans very carefully to include the schools’ learning communities. Everyone must be heard during the process of evaluation. The teachers, the parents, the students, and the community at large must work collaboratively before any decisions are made to close a school. It is crucial that neighborhood issues are also taken into consideration. The board
needs to adopt procedures that are clear and fair for determining reconstitution.
Ren2010 is a failed program which has led to the miseducation of an entire generation of
Chicago's children. Charter schools and Vouchers lead to preferential. Enrollment, lower teacher compensation, Low Teacher Morale, and elimination of Local Elected School Councils which enables parents and educational community activists to be involved in education. Reconstitution of schools destabilizes the community and the educational system within.
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