CHICAGO— Dozens of charter public school parents, educators, and advocates rallied together today to protest HB 3567, State Representative Will Guzzardi’s bill that would place a moratorium on any new charter public schools in Chicago and dozens of other high-need communities, denying thousands of children access to quality public schools.
Seventy percent of CPS families in Rep. Guzzardi’s district have access to a high-performing (Level 1 or Level 1+) public school. Yet Rep. Guzzardi’s bill would deny access to quality public schools to communities where thousands of students need better public school options urgently.
“Will Guzzardi claims to have the best interests of Chicago’s children at heart, but his bill would deny thousands of children access to quality public schools,” said Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS). “How dare he limit the opportunities of families in other parts of the city and across the state who are desperate for quality schools?”
Rep. Guzzardi’s moratorium would prevent charter public schools from opening in 89 of Illinois’ school districts, many of which are located in high-need communities and suffer from lower academic outcomes.
Speakers at the press conference demanded that Rep. Guzzardi stop his attempts to block their access to great schools and apologize to the thousands of Illinois students who would be denied access to quality school options by this bill.
LaNorra Dennis, West Side resident and mom of Legal Prep 2017 valedictorian, reflected positively on her charter school experience, wishing more families had opportunities like hers. “Rep. Guzzardi, it’s time to listen to the needs of thousands of families across the state,” she urged. “The status quo hasn’t been working since I was in school years ago, and it’s time to give more students the opportunity that my son Cory has.”
“For decades, no one cared about the children and families in my community who lacked access to high-quality schools,” said Bishop Ed Peecher from Chicago Embassy Church in Englewood. “Many charter schools have helped bring about better educational opportunities for students who for too long have been neglected. It is ridiculous that Rep. Guzzardi wants to turn his back on children in communities like mine, who are mostly low-income students of color, and take away their right to attend quality public schools in their communities.”
Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that serve all students and do not require enrollment testing. Statewide, 93% of charter school students are African American or Latino and 89% are low-income. In Chicago, charter public school students achieve more academic growth, graduate high school, enroll in college, and persist in college at higher rates than their peers at district-run open enrollment schools. A recent independent poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies revealed that nearly 80% of Illinois voters support giving parents whose children attend low-performing schools the option of attending a charter school.
The Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) advocates for the improvement of public education by leveraging the charter school model as a catalyst to transform lives and communities. INCS works to ensure that charter public schools have adequate and equitable resources, the autonomy to find innovative approaches to meet student needs, and a fair and transparent policy landscape that allows high-quality options to thrive. As the voice of Illinois charter schools, INCS engages a diverse coalition of policymakers, school leaders, parents, and community members to create systemic change and secure high-quality schools for undeserved communities. For more information, visit http://www.incschools.org.
About Elevate Chicago:
Elevate Chicago is a coalition launched in 2017 made up of students, teachers, parents, and families from the following organizations: The Bloc Chicago, Catalyst Schools, CHAMPS Mentoring, Chicago International Charter Schools, Friends of CICS Tennis, the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, Intrinsic Schools, KIPP Chicago, LEARN Charter School Network, the Noble Network of Charter Schools, North Lawndale College Prep High School, Northwestern Settlement, Perspectives Charter School, Play Smart Literacy, Rowe Elementary School, The Ideal Candidate, UChicago Charter School, UNO Charter School Network and We Live Here. Elevate Chicago’s mission is to ensure that every child in Chicago has access to a great education. Elevate Chicago supports a public policy agenda that will build and sustain the success of charter public schools. For more information, visit http://www.chartersforchange.org.