Parents Call for Greater Access to Charter Schools

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - EducationFor the first time, parents from across Chicago united last Saturday for better access to quality schools throughout the city. Thousands of parents representing dozens of charter schools from across Chicago met at UIC Pavilion to add their voices to the growing dialogue around improving public education.

Parents were joined by charter school teachers, principals and leaders, to call on the city’s leadership to take action and remove the barriers to expanding charter schools. Also in attendance were representatives from the chronically failing Wendell Smith Elementary, whose local school council recently voted to welcome a charter school into the facility.

Charter schools in Chicago provide quality education in underserved communities whose access to quality schools is otherwise limited. The graduation rates for charter schools are higher than those at traditional public schools (87 percent vs. 60 percent). Charter school students are at least twice as likely to go to college, according to the CPS Office of Performance. “My child is thriving at a charter school,” said Sylvia Garcia, whose child is enrolled at an UNO charter school. “We must protect these options and make them more accessible for every family in Chicago.”

The event was organized through a coalition of charter schools, Illinois Network of Charter Schools, United Neighborhood Organization, and New Schools for Chicago. “The mayor called on parents to make their voices heard, and that’s just what they are doing. Today’s Charter Schools Day of Action is just one example of parents around Chicago standing up to say that our city’s children deserve more,” said Juan Rangel, CEO of UNO. “The work to bring quality schools to every neighborhood is going to rely on the voices of parents throughout Chicago, and the commitment from our leaders.”

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