December 6, 2011

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Announces Charter Compact, Positions Chicago for Major Investments From Gates and Others

CPS and charter community unveil roadmap for future planning and collaboration

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

(CHICAGO) – In a continued effort to ensure every student in Chicago has access to a quality education, Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined leaders from Chicago Public Schools and Chicago’s charter school community today to announce the completion of a Gates District-Charter Collaboration Compact, which provides a vision and roadmap for future cooperation between all school models in Chicago. The Compact also makes Chicago eligible to compete for a multi-million dollar grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and positions the city well for funding from other national education reform foundations.

“We have a responsibility to provide every child in every community with access to a world class education,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “ The Charter Compact is a critical step to ensuring that all of our schools reflect our mission of establishing equity and accountability across the city.”

  • CPS and charter leadership worked closely in recent months to determine the details of Chicago’s Gates Compact, which focuses on five key pillars:
  • Common accountability standards for all schools;
  • A streamlined enrollment process designed to maximize parent and student access to quality schools;
  • A fair funding system that aims to provide equitable funding for all students;
  • A capital and facilities funding plan that expressly includes charter schools; and
  • A commitment to sharing best practices between and among the district and charter schools.

“The Compact represents a new vision for what we can accomplish on behalf of students, and we commit to working collaboratively to ensure all schools -- traditional, magnet, charter, performance, turnaround or contract – prepare students for success in college and career,” said Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “Together, we will empower parents by expanding school options, provide guidance to school leaders, establish a set of rigorous academic standards by which all schools will be evaluated, and hold all schools accountable for meeting the needs of our students and our neighborhoods.”

“We have been at this for many years, and this Compact truly signifies a breakthrough for Chicago families,” said Phyllis Lockett, president and CEO of New Schools for Chicago. “By working collaboratively, we forged a real path to expand school choice and high quality charter options throughout our city.”

Chicago joins a number of other cities that also have Gates Compacts, including New York City, Baltimore, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Nashville and New Orleans.

“Creating a Gates Compact offers the unique chance to openly address historically contentious issues and develop a plan to resolve them so everyone wins, especially the students,”  said Vicki L. Phillips, director of Education, College Ready, at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We congratulate Chicago for the ambitious and thoughtful way your leaders have taken on the challenges and opportunities developing a Compact presents.”

More than 100 charter schools already provide quality education in Chicago’s underserved communities that otherwise have limited options. Almost 80 percent of charter high school students graduate, and far more of them enroll in college than their peers in other schools. It is free to enroll in charter schools, and they do not require an admission exam. 

“Charter schools have long been a leader when it comes to leveraging innovation and sharing best practices throughout the District – increased learning time, interim assessments to measure student growth, and principal mentorship and autonomy all were incubated in Chicago’s charters,” said Andrew Broy, executive director of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools. “The Compact signifies an important step for all of Chicago’s students, not just those in charter schools.”


The Chicago Public Schools serves approximately 405,000 students in more than 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school system. 


We believe every student in Chicago deserves a quality education.  Our mission is to radically improve outcomes for children by shaking up the public education system. We do that by focusing on three areas: bringing top-performing charter schools to communities of high need, demanding accountability for all school models, and promoting school choice.


The Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) is dedicated to the improvement of education by establishing high-quality charter public schools that transform lives and communities.  As the voice of the Illinois charter schools, INCS advocates for legislation on behalf of the charter sector, provides support to strengthen charter schools, and influences education policy for the benefit of all public school students.


 Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.