BGA Holds Charter School Forum In Belmont-Cragin Neighborhood

Thanks to a generous grant from the Field Foundation of Illinois, the BGA hosted "Getting the Scoop on Charter Schools" on Wednesday, January 28 at the Portage-Cragin Library.

BGA Senior Investigators Patrick Rehkamp and Andrew Schroedter sat on a panel with Sarah Karp, deputy editor of Catalyst Chicago. The panel was moderated by Robert Reed, BGA's Director of Programming and Investigations.

Each panelist discussed the difficulty of obtaining records from quasi-governmental bodies such as charter schools and offered advice to audience members about requesting information relating to charter schools through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. They noted that the governance structure of charter schools complicates FOIA requests, as requesters must seek records from the school and its governing entity itself rather than directly from Chicago Public Schools.

Bob Reed asked the panelists a number of questions about the recent popularization of charter schools, the motivation for opening a charter school, what the public needs to know about them, and what traditional public schools can learn from them.

An engaged audience of community members asked questions about teacher qualifications, venders, and admissions at charter schools as well as how they could get information relating to charter schools.