Charter schools are public schools with increased flexibility to develop their education programs to best meet the needs of the students they serve. In exchange for their increased flexibility, charter schools are held strictly accountable for their performance. Illinois charter schools are serving high need students, and many are putting their graduates on a path with opportunities to succeed well beyond graduation. While we are a statewide organization, limited data is available for charter schools outside Chicago at this time. Future iterations of this page will include more data for charter schools outside Chicago.
Charter schools are committed to attracting, growing, and retaining the best teachers in the country. Funding inequities make it challenging for charter schools to compete with their counterparts in the market for teachers.
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Charter schools in Chicago serve the students who need improved educational options the most.
Who Charter Students Are
Since 2008, enrollment in Chicago’s charter schools has increased by almost 100% with an additional 22,400 charter schools students in the city, while enrollment in other non-selective schools has fallen by approximately 5%, a decline of 17,700 students.
Relative to other public schools in the state, charter public schools in Illinois serve a dramatically higher proportion of African American, Hispanic and low-income students.
Relative to other public schools in Chicago, charter schools serve a larger proportion of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch (FRL), a larger proportion of African-American and Hispanic students, a comparable proportion of Special Education students, and a smaller proportion of English Language Learners (ELL) students.
Charter schools are changing the game and raising the bar on the academic achievement of high needs students. Charters challenge the status quo and are helping to raise expectations of our public schools.
How Charters Are Doing
In 2010, the percent of charter school students making expected gains as measured by the EPAS system approached or exceeded that of students in selective schools, depending on the subject.
Pathway to Success
Education is not just about test scores. High school graduation and college enrollment help to prepare students for long-term economic independence. Charter schools in Illinois are putting students on a path to realize their dreams.
Impact of Charter Schools
For the past three years, the graduation and drop-out rates of charter schools have approached those of selective schools and vastly out-performed other non-selective public schools.
Additionally, for the past three years, the percent of charter school graduates enrolling in college far exceeded the percent of graduates attending college from other non-selective schools.
The Work is Not Done
Though charter schools in Chicago and Illinois are changing the lives of the families they serve, they still face many challenges. Equitable funding that levels the playing field for charter public school students is essential for charters to continue to deliver results in a sustainable way.
Many believe that charters can rely on alternative sources of funding to bridge the gap in funding relative to an average district-run school; however, charter schools are generally only able to close 40% of the gap.
CPS operating cost per pupil vs. funding from CPS to charter schools
This disparty in funding makes it hard for charter schools to compete in the market for teachers. Charter school teachers make an average of $21,496 less than other public school teachers in Chicago.
Staff with 1-3 years experience make up more than half of the charter school teacher population…
…However, this does not explain the gap: disparity exists at every experience level
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The same dynamic plays out across all districts in Illinois with charter schools present, where charter school staff make $29,384 less than their counterparts.