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Chicago's charters and options

Chicago teachers are trying out different strategies to get young students between kindergarten to second grade interested in math, build their foundational skills, and improve their test scores.

The vote represented the first round of charter renewals under the current board.

They’re responding to signals that Johnson and the school board want to shift resources to neighborhood public schools.

The Board of Education extended the contract with the troubled charter school network following a court order.

The move puts in motion Mayor Brandon Johnson’s campaign promise to reinvigorate neighborhood schools.

The admissions process has built up a reputation for being stressful on families, but many value the ability to choose a school they see as the best fit for their child.

Illinois is one of the few states that have not expanded their voucher-like program. During the veto session, lawmakers did not move a bill that would have extended the state’s program, known as Invest in Kids.

As Mayor Brandon Johnson and his hand-picked school board exert their influence, charter families and advocates see challenges ahead for the sector.

Families use the application for entry to a variety of schools, including selective test-in schools and neighborhood schools outside of their attendance boundaries.

The shift raises questions about who schools are serving, how they should be resourced, and what the district — and the city — can do as it continues to lose students.

Leaders with the nationally-recognized charter school network said Wednesday they filed a lawsuit to keep control of its remaining two campuses serving Black boys in Englewood and Bronzeville. Chicago Public Schools has said it plans to keep the schools open under district management. 

The election of a teachers union organizer over a former district chief in Chicago is a win for local progressives. It could also be a bellwether for public education policy in the historically Democratic city and beyond.

Brandon Johnson’s biggest donors are teachers unions. Paul Vallas is raking in cash from wealthy individuals — some of whom have supported charter schools and other education reform efforts in Chicago.

Some of the 18 charter schools and networks that received renewals this week pleaded for longer renewal periods.

The vote is the latest blow to the nationally recognized charter network. Last month, Chicago Public Schools moved to take over the charter’s two South Side campuses.

For over a decade, North Lawndale College Prep students have been training their peers to curb fights on campus, support grieving friends, and host peace circles.

The seven campuses in the LEARN Charter School Network began the school year on Monday, two weeks before Chicago Public Schools. The network usually starts in early August.