Illinois Anti-Charter School Bills On Wrong Side of History

National Alliance applauds parent rallies in Springfield and Chicago

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, thousands of parents from across Illinois will gather at rallies in Springfield and Chicago to fight for quality school options for their children. The rallies are in opposition to a dozen bills in the Illinois legislature that threaten both existing public charter schools and the future of new charter schools across the state.

“Public charter schools in Illinois have shown remarkable results and it’s baffling to see legislators fighting to slow down their success. These bills are out-of-step with best practices in state law across the country,” said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “I’m glad to see parents, school leaders, and community members come together today to fight for their students. We owe it to our children to ensure that every one of them has the opportunity to attend a high-quality school that prepares them for life.”


A dozen bills under consideration in the Illinois state legislature would make it harder to open charter schools in Illinois and would force existing charter schools to change their proven teaching methods and school standards.


One bill would eliminate the appeals board for charter schools that have been denied by a local school board, a move that would put charter schools at the mercy of potentially hostile school boards. Several others would subject charter schools to elections and otherwise politicize the process of opening schools. Currently, no other state requires charter schools to be approved in local elections. This policy would delay school openings and force charters to spend money on campaigns that should go to the classroom.


In stark contrast to Illinois, policymakers across the country are taking action to better support charter schools. This morning, a committee in the U.S. House of Representatives is considering a bipartisan bill to offer greater financial assistance to support the opening of high-quality charter schools. In New York, the legislature passed a bipartisan bill to offer some charter schools access to rent-free facilities. Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Kansas are all considering bills to expand access to charter schools.


“Charter schools are proving time and again that they are great for children—especially for disadvantaged children who need access to high-quality schools the most. That’s why lawmakers from both parties in states across the country and in Congress want to expand access to high-quality charter schools,” said Rees.


Since 2010, all but one independent research study has found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. The most recent of those studies, by the Center for Research on Educational Outcomes at Stanford University, found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center for Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.


To learn more about the rallies and view a summary of the bills under consideration visit the Illinois Network of Charter Schools website.