Board approves expansion of Chicago charter schools | WBEZ
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Board approves expansion of Chicago charter schools

Chicago is getting five new charter schools. The Board of Education approved the charter schools Wednesday.

Busloads of charter school parents, teachers and administrators turned out in support of the new schools. They brought noisemakers with them and a parent dressed as Superman, a reference to the documentary Waiting for Superman, which shows charters as a cure for ailing public schools.

Juan Rangel stood in front of 12,000 lottery balls representing kids who want to get into charters. His group, UNO, runs nine charter schools and won three more yesterday.

"This is about giving parents choice, it’s very simple," Rangel told the crowd. "The more choice parents have, the better our schools, the better our neighborhoods."

The Chicago Teachers Union opposed the charters. Alderman Ricardo Muñoz, 22, joined their protest.

"We’re here to support our public, neighborhood schools, so that we can lift the boat, lift the schools for all students—not just the few that win a lottery," Muñoz said. Around him, parents held signs that read "Don't Privatize Our Schools."

All the schools the Board approved Wednesday had been withdrawn from consideration at last month's Board meeting, after teachers and parents criticized charters for sapping needed resources and attention from the regular public school system.  The charter proposals put forth this month had been scaled back, from nine new schools to five.

One of the new schools the Board passed will be focused on game design. Another will prepare students for careers in law.

The Board also voted to increase enrollment at several existing charters and expand the number of grades certain schools offer.

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