Is Clock Ticking on Charters? State Stands Firm in Support, but Money, Standards Could Take Toll

By Boykin, Ames | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 27, 2003 | Go to article overview

Is Clock Ticking on Charters? State Stands Firm in Support, but Money, Standards Could Take Toll


Boykin, Ames, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Ames Boykin Daily Herald Staff Writer

The bass booms from a classroom. Inside, students are rhyming to the beat.

It's not music class, so the rap music lures Principal Char Berry to the door.

They're rapping about math facts, the teacher says.

Unconventional? Maybe.

It's also how Thomas Jefferson Charter School in Des Plaines is conducting an educational experiment that began four years ago and nearly crashed this month.

Illinois state schools Superintendent Robert Schiller wanted to revoke the school's charter, exasperated that Jefferson offered no clear plan for students with disabilities, and failed to draft an accountability plan to measure student achievement.

The Illinois State Board of Education relented and renewed the charter for one year instead of the requested five. But to open this August, the school has to present an accountability plan and a special education guideline. Drafts are due next week.

It was hardly the pat on the back Jefferson's founders had sought, but it was better than the alternative.

Despite the demands, state educators say it would be a mistake to view Jefferson's situation as a sign Illinois is changing its mind about charter schools, an innovation state lawmakers first backed in 1996.

Even as Jefferson teeters on the verge of becoming the second charter school the state board has closed, state officials maintain they have no plans to abandon the concept.

Instead, they appear to be making it clear that charters will be held to the same vigorous standards applied to the state's public schools.

"My own perspective is that there's a place for charter schools," Schiller said. "I would have recommended Thomas Jefferson continue if they had all their elements of compliance."

Reinventing school

In the mid-1990s Illinois joined a few other states in looking hard for educational alternatives.

Like public schools, charters get money from taxpayers to operate. Thomas Jefferson, which is limited to drawing students from within Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59, gets 80 percent of the District 59 tuition rate for each student enrolled at Jefferson.

During the 2002-03 year, it got $6,296 per student, or $535,000 total.

However, the school doesn't get additional money for special education students, so it has to meet the federal and state guidelines using its own resources, Principal Berry says.

She says she understands that the state board has some issues with Jefferson.

"I expected there to be some issues that needed to be sorted out," she said. "Given the lack of time and personnel to do all the things that were required (before first opening), it made it impossible to be perfect.

"Nobody is," she said. "We're not the only school that the (state) school board checks up on. They do that to everyone."

Thomas Jefferson is one of only two charter schools in the state that made its operating agreement directly with the state. The other is in Grayslake. A plan to open a charter in Elgin may be forwarded to the state for approval because Elgin Area Unit District 46 school board members have rejected it.

Other charter schools, like those in Chicago and Peoria, have been supported by their local school boards.

The principal at Prairie Crossing, the Grayslake charter school, said she welcomes the state scrutiny.

"I'm glad we have these watchdogs," Principal Katie Foglio said. "I'm glad charter schools are held to a high standard."

State authorities today actually seem to have even more faith in the experiment. A new state law this year doubled the total number of charter schools allowed to open in Chicago to 15.

The fact the new state budget slashed charter school funding from $7.4 million to $4.2 million is a symptom of an economic downturn and not a statement about state enthusiasm for charters, Schiller said. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Is Clock Ticking on Charters? State Stands Firm in Support, but Money, Standards Could Take Toll
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.