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Monday, June 1, 2009

SB 612 Passes! Charter Schools Double in Illinois!

Monumental news for the charter school movement! Last night, SB 612, also known as the Charter School Reform Act of 2009, passed the Illinois Legislative Assembly in a 45-10 vote. This means that we will now have 40 new charter schools available in Chicago and 15 in downstate Illinois, with 5 new schools allocated for drop-out recovery!

This remarkable feat could not have been accomplished without the exemplary efforts of everyone in the charter school family.

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to the charter school parents who wrote letters to their legislators, who traveled down to Springfield for Charter School Lobby Days, who spoke at events and rallies and who spread the word about charter schools to other parents and friends,” said Carlos Perez, INCS’ Director of Public Policy.

We are indebted also to all the teachers, administrators, students and community members who make charter schools the best schools they can be – innovative, high-quality, community-focused schools that are tailored to meet the needs of all students and to prepare them to succeed not just locally, but globally.

There is much celebration ahead, but with great success also comes hard work. We must continue to strive, and to provide ALL students the opportunity to attend a great school, despite where they live or what challenges they face. Each and all of you who are a part of the charter school movement deserve credit for the long, hard slog that led to the historic vote in the Illinois General Assembly yesterday and I am so proud to say that Illinois is the first state in the nation to respond to President Obama's call for more charter schools as part of his vision for a strong national economy and his goal that the United States return to the world's top spot for college enrollment.

This is wonderful news, but it has been a long and bumpy ride. As a result of this work literally tens of thousands of families in Illinois will have opportunities they could not have otherwise obtained. And teachers will have real choices for the kind of public school environment they want to work in.

~Elizabeth Evans, Executive Director

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