Collin Hitt via a kind reader’s email:
In protest of Chicago’s failing school system, Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago) is staging a field trip of sorts. He’s urging kids from his legislative district to skip the first day of school, board buses, travel to Winnetka, and attempt to enroll in New Trier High School.
One can understand why Meeks would want better educational options for Chicago kids. But on his way to Winnetka, the senator might want to take a look out the window where there are already many Chicago public schools–charter schools–that are performing on par with top-notch suburban and downstate schools. One such school, Chicago International Charter School, graduates its students 86 percent of the time–comparing quite favorably with public schools Downstate and suburban Chicago, which have an average graduation rate of 84 percent. Overall, charter public schools in Chicago graduate 77 percent of their students, compared with a citywide average of 51 percent.
Why aren’t there more charter schools in Chicago? Because state law caps the number of charters in the city at 30. Today, approximately 13,000 Chicago public school children are on a waiting list to get into charters–schools that have offered a proven formula for success. To give inner-city kids the opportunities they deserve, the charter-school cap should be lifted.