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Just Say No to Rheeism

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Good news from the Chicago Teachers’ Union, who won a continued moratorium on new charter schools in Chicago.

Among the many demands on class size, staffing and prep time, one line item in the Chicago teachers proposed contract has escaped much public discussion: a continuation of a moratorium on charter schools.

Passed as a side letter in the tentative agreement during the early days of the strike, the charter moratorium promises no new charter schools and limits charter enrollment over the course of the five-year contract. It essentially continues a moratorium from the Chicago Teachers Union contract of 2016, which broke new ground in Chicago. 

While it comes at a time when charter schools are already seeing a freeze from both the state and the city, it shows how the Chicago Teachers Union continues to wield its contract negotiations to impact district policy, particularly on controversial areas like charter school growth. 

 “It has been important for us to say we need high-quality neighborhood schools, and creating more charters has not helped,” union President Jesse Sharkey said.

The charter moratorium in the tentative agreement says charter student enrollment by the end of the contract will not exceed 101% of charters’ enrollment capacity as of last school year. Furthermore, there will be “net zero increase” in the number of charter schools. 

Stopping the unionbusting grifting that is the charter school scam is part of teachers’ unions larger movement to save schools, communities, and themselves from the neoliberal pilfering of public resources. Given the size of Chicago, this is a big win and another loss for charter schools. We’ve come a long ways since Obama surrounded himself with charter scammers in his early presidential years.

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