Republican Jim Oberweiss fought hard for the right of charters to discriminate. That’s what he means by providing “choice” for parents.
The language in the bill was simple enough.
” … all federal and State laws and rules applicable to public schools that pertain to special education and the instruction of English language learners, referred to in this Code as “children of limited English-speaking ability ….”
Those were the words that will be added to the school code in HB 4527.
In even plainer English, Illinois would require charter schools to stop discriminating against Special Needs students and against those who speak another language than English.
Charter schools have a record of doing both of those things.
Public schools are required by law to admit all students.
And let me add a personal note, that I taught for many years in a public school with large numbers of children with Special Needs. We worked for full inclusion and I strongly believe that this was a benefit to every teacher and child in the school.
HB4527 passed by a wide margin.
Bu not before the bias of the charter vultures was exposed for all to see.
Republican Sen. David Luechtefeld (R-Okawville) spoke up. “One reason charter schools were set up in the first place was to give them that flexibility because a lot of things were not happening that needed to happen in the public school system.”
Flexibility to turn away students with Special Needs and non-English speakers.
Luechtefeld added, that if we take away the right of charters to turn away Special Needs students than charters would be “no different than the public school system and therefore … obsolete.”
Republican Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-North Aurora) used another favorite word of the charter vultures. He opposed HB 4527 because it would give parents “less choice” in their children’s education.
The choice to discriminate against children who speak another language at home. Children with autism. Children with Down Syndrome. Children in wheel chairs.
It would take away the right to make hateful choices.
In the end, HB 4527 passed the Senate 34-15.
It had already passed the Illinois House 77-32
This was one more on a list of bills diminishing the power of charter schools in Illinois.
HB 3754, which would abolish the Charter Schools Commission awaits a vote by the House to concur with the Senate vote.
HB 3937 extends a moratorium on “virtual” charter schools outside the City of Chicago passed the Senate and needs a concurrence vote in the House.
Thanks to Jim Broadway’s report for providing much of the information included here.