New charter school requirements on governor’s desk

Jun 4, 2014

Charter schools would be required to follow Illinois laws for special education and non-English speaking students under legislation now on the governor's desk. The proposal became a proxy in a broader fight over charter schools.

 The Illinois State Board of Education says it's aware of a "handful" of schools that are not complying with state laws on, for example, the required number of special ed teachers for a given number of students.Democratic Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, of Shorewood, says if charter schools are meant to give parents more choices, that ought to include parents whose kids need special education or are English language learners.

 "Otherwise we are excluding these children from choice."

 But supporters of charter schools say it's important they be kept free of government regulation. Sen. Kyle McCarter is a Republican from downstate Lebanon:

 "What you're doing with this bill is taking away the flexibility and the innovation that has characterized charters, and made them a success."

 McCarter says this is the latest in a series of bills to go against charter schools this year, and suggests it's part of a slow process to make charter schools more like "regular" public schools.