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UNO Set to Become Big Charter School Player in Chicago

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In Houston, we have YES Prep charter schools serving a predominantly Hispanic group of students. In the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, we have IDEA charter schools. In Chicago, we may soon associate charter schools with UNO, which stands for United Neighborhood Organization, Chicago's largest Latino community organization.

UNO just received a $98 million grant from the state of Illinois to run charter schools, according to an article published today in the Chicago Tribune. The organization already runs eight charter schools and plans to use the funds to double that number to 16. UNO's eight charter schools serve 3,450 students, of whom 91 percent are Hispanic.

What's also interesting is that UNO takes advantage of the flexibility that charter schools have not to offer bilingual education. In Illinois, regular public schools are mandated to provide bilingual education, that is, instruction in students' native language, if they have 20 or more English-language learners who speak the same language.

The Tribune says students in the UNO charter schools, started in the mid-1990s, do better on standardized tests on average than students in regular Chicago public schools.

One more thing: UNO unabashedly says its goal for Hispanic students is "assimilation." (See my earlier post, "Immigrant Integration, or Assimilation?")

Readers, if any of you have insight about how this experiment is playing out in Chicago, please hit the comment button.

2 Comments

UNO is drill and kill school that focuses on testing versus learning. No innovation at UNO, just a sink and swim attitude that is really a throwback to the English Only philosophy and is not based on any qualitative research! It would be important for the author of this article and public to read the solid report called: A National Study of School Effectiveness for Language Minority Students’ Long-Term Academic Achievement Final Report: Project 1.1 http://crede.berkeley.edu/research/crede/research/llaa/1.1_final.html

Are you kidding me....UNO is an organizaion that literally destroys its' teachers. Teachers are quitting and/or being forced to resign. Just look at their retention rate. It is a joke. Nobody in their right mind can handle UNO and/or look at UNO as a long-term place of employment. There are no union laws, and by that said, UNO takes full advatnage of its teachers. UNO harrasses their teachers; UNO silences the students, and has no support structure in place to accomodate the socio-emotional needs that many of these Latino students need help with their development. UNO is by far the most corrupt organization that only the insiders (teachers) understand. It won't be long before this organization ends up in deep trouble. The cracks are already beginning to show.

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