In Chicago, the mayor plans to open 100 new schools, mostly small, privately managed charters.
In Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley last week announced a sweeping plan to open 100 new schools by transforming the city’s worst high schools into small schools and remaking clusters of elementary schools on the South and West Sides. The effort will be seeded with $50 million in private donations and will rely on private groups to manage two-thirds of the new schools.
The idea behind such reforms is that moribund schools can improve if they are liberated from the constraints of bloated bureaucracies and union contracts. And if enough of the little upstart schools succeed, the argument goes, it will change the way business is done in the districts as a whole–in the same way that smaller airlines such as Southwest and ATA forced the big boys to shed their inefficiencies.
“The name of the game is to take a tired government monopoly and make it into a high-performing public enterprise,” said billionaire home builder Eli Broad, who said he expects to support Chicago’s expansion of charter schools with his education foundation. In the past five years, the Broad Foundation has committed more than $400 million to support new ideas and innovative leadership in the nation’s largest urban school systems.
“Competition makes a lot of sense, and it makes a lot of difference,” Broad said. “If they make progress, the rest of the system is going to catch on.”
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney vetoed a moratorium on new charter schools.
The Colorado Supreme Court threw out a voucher plan, saying it unconstitutionally stripped local school boards of control.