Illinois 2016 State Policy Detail
VITAL COMPONENT UNDER THREAT
Continued legislative and legal challenges to the authority of the Illinois State Charter School Commission threaten charter school access. Recent action by Chicago Public Schools imposes a temporary cap on charter schools through its collective bargaining agreement with its teacher union. This underscores the importance of an alternative authorizer to ensure access to quality charters in both Chicago and statewide.
- Preserve the Illinois State Charter School Commission as a necessary appellate body. Recent legislative efforts and legal challenges have attempted to dissolve the Commission or to severely limit its authority. Illinois must prioritize the preservation of the Commission and, ideally, allow it to receive charter applications directly, rather than through appeals only.
- Codify into law a requirement for authorizers to use performance frameworks and replication incentives, which are already used by the state’s largest charter authorizer, Chicago Public Schools.
- Institute a strong renewal standard that empowers authorizers to close schools that fail to achieve the performance goals in the charter contract.
- Reform the state protocols to allow authorizer evaluations, as needed. Under current State Board of Education (SBE) rules, an evaluation takes place only in response to an official complaint on a defined set of issues. The SBE should revise its administrative rules to provide the authority to initiate an evaluation outside that defined process.