SPRINGFIELD, Ill -- Amidst efforts by the Chicago Teachers Union to shut down the Chicago Virtual Charter school, State Rep. Monique Davis (D - Chicago) has introduced legislation designed to stop public schools from funding a form of distance learning called "virtual schooling."
Illinois traditionally has been supportive of greater student access to learning technologies. The state board of education has funded and maintained the Illinois Virtual High School for ten years. Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn recently has begun promoting his I-Connect Initiative to provide every seventh grader with a laptop computer.
Introduced in January, Davis' legislation to prohibit virtual schools (HB232) working its way through committee would ban the Illinois State Board of Education and local school boards from, "establishing, maintaining, or in any way supporting any virtual schools or virtual classes for elementary or secondary students in [Illinois]."
The legislation has subsequently allowed for "virtual classes" in public school, yet still denies charter schools funding for virtual learning of any kind, even with privately-raised funds.
Rep. Davis' bill comes on the heels of a Chicago Teachers Union lawsuit against the newly-opened Chicago Virtual Charter School. Citing coincidence, both Davis and CTU officials deny colluding to shut down the charter school and undermine efforts to increase student access to new technology.
If passed, House Bill 232 would necessitate the closing of the Chicago Virtual Charter School. A lawsuit filed by the CTU in October also seeks to close the school. The union has endorsed Davis' legislation. "This legislation is designed to deny public charter school students access to technology," said Illinois Policy Institute director of education policy Collin Hitt. "It's an attempt to regulate charter schools and introduce bureaucratic red tape in schools specifically established to break free of this kind of meddling."
About the InstituteThe Illinois Policy Institute is a state based free market oriented think tank in Springfield, Illinois. The Institute's mission is to preserve and strengthen critical societal institutions in Illinois. The Institute does this through the promotion of free markets and limited government via rigorous research, writing and debate. Organized as a tax exempt not for profit corporation under 501c(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, the Illinois Policy Institute engages in non partisan public policy education and research.