SPRINGFIELD, IL â€“ Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins issued the following statement on House Bill 494, a one-year moratorium on new or expanded virtual charter schools in Illinois. The legislation, which she co-sponsored, passed the Senate today by a vote of 46-7 and now awaits the governorâ€™s signature.
Given the concerns that parents and taxpayers in a number of communities have expressed, I believe taking a year off to examine the virtual charter school concept is fair and sensible. I am troubled by the State Charter School Commissionâ€™s mandate to force local school districts to accept untested charter schools and to override the judgment of elected school boards.
Todayâ€™s vote affirms the importance of local control in education and recognizes that charter schools do not always offer our children better opportunities or a higher level of academic excellence. Like traditional public schools, they must submit to sober, objective scrutiny unmoved by blind faith in reform for its own sake.
As we evaluate proposals to expand charter education in our state, enthusiasm must not replace evidence as an indication of student success and wellbeing. I welcome this yearlong opportunity to research virtual charter schools and what they can offer, and I applaud the Senateâ€™s wisdom in deferring to local concerns on this question.