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The dignity of charters

Updated: January 14, 2013 7:07AM

The dignity of charters

The Chicago school board is about to decide the fate of our children. They will either protect your right to choose a public school, or not.

Parents in affluent communities have always had the dignity to select schools for their kids. Near their homes, they may choose between a great traditional school, a magnet school, and perhaps even a selective or gifted school. If those don’t match their needs, they may go to private school. They have options and they vote with their feet. Educators know if they want students in their schools, they have to earn the right to teach them.

Many Chicago families have fewer means, but we deserve the same dignity of choice. If schools want to teach our children, they should be willing to earn the right.

Thousands of families from our communities demanded school choice at the New Schools EXPO recently. Parents and teachers from more than 130 schools where there. Like the 19,000 students on charter waiting lists and the 40,000 applicants for 5,000 magnet and selective seats, these families would vote with their feet if given the chance.

School choice empowers families — yet there are forces trying to limit it. They say it hurts traditional schools. Truth is, when families have an adequate number of viable school options, there are no losers except for a small group of adults afraid of diminished power.

It is time for us to take a stand on school choice. Next week, the school board’s vote will send a signal that they respect your right to choose the public school that’s best for your child, or they don’t.

Tell them we deserve the dignity of choice.

Chris Butler, Director of Advocacy

New Schools for Chicago

Suburban code of silence

Ever since they started the “code of silence” investigation with the Anthony Abbate disgusting video, I can’t help but wonder where these people were when the “code of silence” should have come into play when Drew Peterson killed his wife. Tell me that wasn’t a glaring cover-up.

Janet Selzer, Glenview

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