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CTU rips charters: ‘privatization schemes masquerading as education policy’

Andrew Broy  President illinois Network Charter Schools  talked mediabout  fact thfor 45000 Children Charter Schools school is

Andrew Broy, President of illinois Network of Charter Schools, talked to media about the fact that for 45,000 Children in Charter Schools, school is in session on Monday, regardless of whether there is Chicago Teacher's Union strike or not. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: January 1, 2013 6:41AM

Chicago Teachers Union officials Friday unleashed a scathing attack on the city’s charter schools, contending they do not improve student test scores any more than similar neighborhood schools yet have drained students from them.

The CTU’s position is clear from the title of its 53-page, highly vitriolic report: “The Black and White of Education in Chicago’s Public Schools: Class, Charters and Chaos; A Hard Look at Privatization Schemes Masquerading as Education Policy.’’

The report comes just as CPS prepares to gather community input on how to downsize its school buildings to address an estimated 100,000 excess seats.

Massive school closings and consolidations are expected — and CTU officials have predicted that charter schools, which are barred from employing CTU teachers, could wind up the beneficiaries.

The report charged that one of the “biggest myths about charter schools is that, as a whole, they outperform CPS neighborhood schools. This could not be farther from the truth.’’

The report pointed to Chicago Public Schools data indicating that, among elementary schools, charters usually produced worse test score gains than schools with highly concentrated black and poor populations — and clearly worse gains than lottery magnet schools that use similar enrollment policies.

To reach that conclusion, the CTU used a CPS measuring stick, called “value-added,’’ that adjusts for poverty and other factors in calculating test score growth.

The CTU also charged that charters have moved into neighborhoods haphazardly, draining students away from neighborhood schools and causing “underutilization’’ problems. The union presented a map indicating that many neighborhood schools that are at least half-empty are located near charter schools.

Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, said a recent analysis by the network of CPS student test-score growth indicated that at the elementary level, “the data are more mixed,’’ but on the high school level, Chicago charters outperform the average district growth.

Parents who pick charters, or other CPS schools, are “making decisions around their children’s education with their feet,’’ said new Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett.

“My priority is to first provide our children access to a high-quality education and to ensure parents access to more high-quality school choices,’’ Byrd-Bennett said.

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