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Educators Challenge Charter School Claims Thursday

Northern Illinois Jobs with Justice presents a free forum Thursday at the Batavia Public Library.

Educators Challenge Charter School Claims Thursday

Are charter schools really better?

Hear the evidence and opinion Thursday, Jan 23, from five noted educators at a panel discussion at the Batavia Public Library, 10 S. Batavia Ave., Batavia, IL. Hosted by Northern Illinois Jobs with Justice, the event runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Authors and researchers will present information that challenges charter school claims of educational superiority. 

“Recent corruption scandals at UNO and Concept Charter Schools show that it’s time to put the brakes on profitable charter expansion and to interrupt schemes that divert tax money from the classroom,” said John Laesch, organizer of the event. “The Illinois General Assembly needs to stand up to the money grabbers who profit at the expense of our children. Lawmakers need to see that Rahm Emanuel’s disruptive school closings are a money and power play by politically connected large scale investors.”

Topics will include: Charter School Academic Performance in Illinois and nationwide, How Charters are Diverting Money from the Classroom, Proven Innovations to Reach At-Risk Youth in East Aurora Schools, and UNO - Politics and Corruption.State Senators Linda Holmes and Mike Noland are expected. Other legislators have been invited, along with parents, teachers and school administrators. 

“The event is designed to present our elected officials with the facts before they return to Springfield at the end of January,” said Laesch. “We know that powerful, well-funded groups including Stand for Children, the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, the Illinois Policy Institute, Reboot Illinois, and Advance Illinois are going to be wielding their influence to get more money for charter schools this legislative cycle.”


Forum Presenters


Dr. Chris Lubienski – A Nationwide look at Academic Performance, Charter v. Public

Chris Lubienski's research centers on public and private interests in education, including the use of market mechanisms such as choice and competition to improve schooling, especially for disadvantaged children. His work examines reforms and movements such as vouchers, charter schools, tuition tax credits, and home schooling that seek to decentralize and deregulate educational governance. He focuses on outcomes anticipated by reformers in areas such as increased innovation and higher levels of achievement, exploring the frequent disconnect between research findings and policy advocacy. He is currently investigating the organizational behavior of schools and districts in local education markets in metropolitan areas and has authored the book, “The Public School Advantage, Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools.”



Dr. Jean Pierce – Charter School Academic Performance in Illinois

Dr. Pierce is a retired professor and chair of the Faculty of Educational Psychology at Northern Illinois University. She received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Her research is focused on learning and motivation in education. She is actively involved with the League of Women Voters. At the national level, her essay about School Funding and Equity informed the membership when they created a position on the role of the Federal government in education. At the state level, she is a specialist in Educational Funding.


Ricky Rodgers - Proven Innovations to Reach At-Risk Youth in East Aurora Schools

Ricky Rodgers graduated at Grand Canyon University with a degree in Elementary and Special Education and the co-founder of African American Men of Unity a not for profit organization founded in 1999 with a mission "to be the positive role model and father figure to youth at risk guiding them through each stage of development to cultivate future leaders." Ricky has researched, designed and implemented Rites of Passage, which addresses the root cause of youth being at risk of academic failure and social incompetence. Rite(s) of Passage program is featured at several Middle Schools in the city of Aurora, across four school districts.


Sarah Hainds – How Charters are Diverting Money from the Classroom

Sarah Hainds is part of the research team at the Chicago Teachers Union. Her research areas include school facilities, funding and budgets, legislation and policy, privatization and corporate assaults on public education. Ms. Hainds holds a Master's Degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Byron Sigcho – UNO, Politics and Corruption, Our Children Deserve Better

Byron Sigcho is an educator and activist.  He is the lead instructor at the UIC Center for Literacy, as well as researcher for the Collaborative for Equity and Justice at UIC.  Sigcho is a core member of Teachers for Social Justice, Board member of Pilsen Alliance, founder of the Alliance for Chicago Transformation (ACT), President of the Graduate Student Council at UIC, and Vice-president of the Hispanic Literacy Council in Chicago.

SOURCE: Northern Illinois Jobs with Justice

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