Then – 1997

This month in 1997, CPS authorized the first charter schools in Chicago. The new schools did not attract much attention, due in part to the frenetic pace of change occurring at the time under new CEO Paul Vallas. For charter details in the early years, check out this 2010 issue of Catalyst In Brief.


Chicago has 51 charters operating 134 campuses, serving 14% of Chicago’s public school students. Of the 11 original charters authorized, 7 remain: Perspectives, Chicago International, University of Chicago, North Lawndale, UNO and Youth Connections. Charter advocates continue to seek more funding and more schools. For more information, see the Illinois Network of Charter Schools and a CPS fact sheet.


CPS has announced that no new charters will be approved for the 2015-16 school year – yet has issued a call for proposals to be submitted next fall. Both Mayor Emanuel and Governor Rauner remain publicly committed to charter schools, despite growing controversy around them. Check out Catalyst story on enrollment trends.

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