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posted: 4/7/2013 5:00 AM

Support law limiting charter schools

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Illinois House Bill HB2660 seeks to stop funding charter schools from the same tax pool supporting corresponding district schools.

Irrefutably, Woodland and Fremont are excellent schools. Prairie Crossing Charter School, while good, diverts tax dollars from them, and therefore is redundant, unnecessary and harms the former schools.

Illinois charters must conform to the same state standards, teach the same core curriculum, hire from the same available teachers, and maintain similar class sizes as district schools and thus are redundant and therefore wasteful of the diverted tax dollars better spent across far larger district school populations.

While charters promote themselves as superior "laboratories of innovation," studies show no significant innovative difference with district schools. Furthermore, charters need not service special-needs children, as district schools must.

Moreover, charter student parents must proactively participate in mandatory lotteries. Thus charters have virtually 100 percent parent-involved student bodies. Academic studies and charters themselves cite not only that such parents stay involved throughout a students' enrollment but that parent-involved students outperform non-parent-involved students by a wide margin.

Thus charters tout "superior" performance while playing with a stacked deck. A school with 100 percent parent-involvement should outperform those without.

Real harm results from hoarding parent-involved students, leaving district schools with larger percentages of non-parent-involved, more-difficult-to-teach students. District teachers must work harder to maintain performance levels, leading to higher burnout. District students are deprived of the competitive dynamics parent-involved students provide.

As the charters' own literature states, "student learning is enhanced by a competitive environment where higher performers inspire/motivate lesser performers." Ironically, charters dilute this exact situation for district schools.

Adding insult to injury, district parent taxpayers fund this harm being done to their own children.

Given the irrefutable harm charters cause district schools, I encourage Illinois representatives to vote yes on HB2660 for the good of all Illinois students.

John Kauck


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