Chicago 45, Boston 0

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After watching Beckett pitch masterful innings of shutout, no-hit ball against Detroit last night, I thought I would go back to my national series on other cities big education wins and the whiffs Menino has been making on charters. (A wink to my colleagues who know that I don’t even know who the running backs are for the Patriots; all I can say is that drinking was involved last night, so watching the game worked.)

After the New York 20, Boston 0 post, which highlighted the fact that Mayor Bloomberg is starting 20 (count ’em) new charter schools this summer, let me chime in with Chicago’s big win over Boston — this time 45 to zippo.

Azam Ahmed of the Chicago Tribune reports that

Charter school proponents scored an important victory late Sunday after state lawmakers paved the way for the number of charters in Illinois to double.

Under the legislation, Chicago would be allowed 45 new charter schools, five of which would be reserved for schools enrolling high school dropouts, and 15 additional charters would be allotted for the rest of the state.

Actually, the title of this post should be 13,000 to 0. That’s the number of students who will benefit.

Advocates say the new schools would help address the nearly 13,000 students statewide who wanted to enroll in charter schools but were squeezed out for lack of space.

In Boston, there are thousands of children languishing on waiting lists. Ahem, Mr. Mayor. The Trib article goes on to say that

The bill, which awaits Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature, would make Illinois the first state to answer President Barack Obama’s and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s calls to raise caps on charter schools. “Illinois has taken an important step forward in helping to bring more high-quality learning options to underserved communities,” said Duncan in a statement. “As more charters open up in Illinois, it is important that we maintain high standards of accountability to ensure results for students and parents.”

This is important, folks. With the Governor’s lack of oomph on the fastball opportunities he has been given on this issue, and with Mayor Menino called out looking for the last five years, one wonders if Arne Duncan is going to put them out to graze on the farm team. If we miss out on the Race to the Top funding (potentially $100 million for Massachusetts), that would be a disaster for the state.