Who will authorize Illinois charters?

A struggle is emerging over who will authorize charter schools in Illinois.

Reporting in Catalyst:

The Illinois State Board of Education is assembling a task force to study plans for a new, independent authorizer of charter schools—a controversial idea that supporters say would lead to higher-quality charters and help Illinois capture some of the nearly $5 billion in competitive federal stimulus grants.

The results of the study are important in determining whether the charter operators will be their own authorizers, or whether the public school community, including teacher unions and elected community school boards, will have any role to play.

All of this is driven by the carrot being dangled in front of states in the form of $5 billion in USDE Race to the Top funds.

The Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Chicago Teachers Union and the Illinois Education Association have all submitted names of people to serve on the task force.

Audrey Soglin’s name was submitted by the IEA. Audrey is the Director of the Center for Education Innovation, a group affiliated with the IEA. The CEI was formerly headed by Jo Anderson before he became IEA’s Executive Director. Jo now works for Arne Duncan and the USDE and reportedly is a prime mover behind the RttT.

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