July 21, 2001
Charter schools 101
A primer on Chicago’s uncharted public education waters
By Ben Joravsky and Mick Dumke
Charters are publicly funded schools that are exempt from many of the hiring and firing rules other public schools have to follow. For instance, they can hire and fire teachers without regard to tenure or seniority and pay them less than what the union contract requires. They’re also allowed to draw up their own budgets with almost no oversight from city or state officials.
Their supporters see them as safe havens for working-class families seeking an alternative to dysfunctional neighborhood schools. Teachers at regular schools, on the other hand, see them as a club used by policy makers and politicians to hammer at unions.