This week is National School Choice Week, and although compared to other states, Illinois is considered a "limited choice" state, one of Illinois' school choices is charter schools. Charter schools are public schools, and they’re open to any student who applies. In exchange for strict accountability to maintain high standards, charter schools are given freedom from many of the regulations that apply to other public schools, which allows for greater flexibility and innovation in the classroom.
Here's 8 things you may not know about Illinois charter schools:
- Illinois now has 55 charters operating 124 individual charter school campuses.
- In Chicago alone there are 110 charter school campuses serving more than 46,000 students.
- Statewide, charter enrollment now stands at more than 50,000 students, an all-time high.
- Public charter school students now make up 12% OF THE CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS SYSTEM and 18% of high school students in Chicago.
- Statewide,the Illinois charter school population is 63% AFRICAN-AMERICAN, 32% LATINO, AND 82% LOW-INCOME.
- Many charters OUTPERFORM TRADITIONAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS in their neighborhoods—for instance, in the 2010–2011 school year, charter high schools represent nine of the top ten highest performing non-selective schools in Chicago (based on ACT performance).
- These successes have been recognized by parents across the state. Illinois now has more than 15,000 students on waiting lists, lending new urgency to INCS’ work in Springfield to remove the arbitrary charter cap.
- Public charter school students in Illinois spend more time in school per day than traditional public school students and benefit from more total instructional days. The result? Charter students are 7% MORE LIKELY TO GRADUATE high school and 11% MORE LIKELY TO ENROLL IN COLLEGE.