A few things to note about Steve Bogira's Reader post (The impact of charter school expansion), which attempts (and fails) to blame charter schools for any number of ills affecting Chicago and its legacy school system. The only thing Bogira doesn't blame charters for is the weather. But he comes pretty close.
*It's not charters' fault that so many white middle class parents (including teachers) don't send their kids to CPS schools -- a pattern that has been strong for years before charters came along.
*Racially and socioeconomically diverse (and progressive) charter schools are popping up all over the place in other cities like New York, DC, Denver, and LA -- but seem to be blocked in Chicago despite the need for more quality options in places like Rogers Park.
*It's not charters' fault that parents are choosing them over traditional neighborhood schools. Nostalgia and sentimentality aside, the schools didn't seem like they were providing quality and safety - and it wasn't like they didn't have decades and billions to get better.
*Charters are much fewer in number than in many other big cities like LA, DC, New Orleans, where the percentages of kids in charters are well into the teens and higher.
*Charters are much more directly controlled by public agencies in Chicago, too. The Board of Education has control over charter approvals in Chicago, whereas nonprofits, universities, and other entities do the job in most other places (including New York City).
Come on, guys. There's been lots of fear-mongering and terribly effective anti-charter advocacy against non-union schools (which most charters are), but this is getting ridiculous. There's lots of blame to go around, and no shortage of problems to address.
Getting rid of charters wouldn't solve all that much -- things weren't that much better (arguably worse) for many families before charters came along.