Tuesday, October 28, 2014

You Quazy Quazzo

Although Deborah Quazzo's Board of Education stint has been covered here, here, and here, it's time for a refresher on this appointed school board member.

Touted with a total lack of irony in Rahm's press release as both a "small business owner" and as a founder and manager of GSV Advisors, a company whose investment portfolio includes forty-nine (49) of, "...the most important private companies in the world," WCT thinks Ms. Quazzo might pull in slightly more than the average small-business owner's salary of $78,241.

Additional dispatches from the Doublethink Department:
  • The "strong voice" for the Board of Ed is frequently missing or rubber stamps items with the rest of Rahm's appointees. 
  • Quazzo's kids are products of the private and pricey Latin School. While Latin teachers are "the heart of the school...who provide context and coherence" for students, Quazzo's Board embraces churn by ensuring CPS teachers who might provide context and coherence are priced out of their jobs.
  • Not content to infiltrate charters and public schools, Ms. Quazzo also sits on the Board of the other-worldy GEMS World Academy where tuition for Junior Kindergarten (or as the rest of us call it: pre-school) will run you a cool $31,000.
When do we get that elected school board again?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rahm: (Another) Renaissance Man

Chicago mayors have a penchant for the Renaissance. Be it Mayor Daley who piloted the now-failed Renaissance 2010 as the cure for the failing CPS, or most recently, Rahm Emanuel who believes he is leading Europe's Chicago's charge out of the Dark Ages with his newly launched CPS arts initiative: Be Creative (this could well be the title for Chicago's history with voting, pensions, and budgets). 

Tuesday's announcement asks, "Chicago's business, civic, cultural and philanthropic leaders to help raise $38 million dollars in private donations..." to fund arts programming which will, "create a robust experience...to nurture the next generation of innovators and creative thinkers." And so it is that Rahm the benefactor has bestowed the arts upon all of CPS, at least until 2018 - 19 when the public will assume funding this initiative. How the public will do this is unclear, but until then, let there be arts! 

With Rahm's grand talk of the arts and its patrons you'd think we were in Renaissance Italy.

A quick history lesson tells us: 
  • Wealthy Florentines flaunted their money and power by funding the arts.
  • Wealthy patrons like the Medici family feuded with other families to gain political influence and power.
  • Those living during this time believed they were undoing the backward thinking of the past.
Chicago's current cultural and political landscape tells us:
  • Wealthy patrons like the Prtizker family hold sway politically and culturally, but without the warfare.
  • We are living in enlightened times, or so says B3, "The arts opens the door to new ways of thinking and learning, of imagining creative solutions in fields of study across the curriculum..."
WCT is left to wonder if teachers--technology and modern conveniences aside-- in 2014 Chicago are not so unlike peasants 1420 Italy: grateful the arts are being funded, but frustrated this is a ploy to buy votes, placate the masses, and another opportunity for the monied to pat themselves on the back (and perhaps buy an indulgence for Heaven).

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Spotlight on Angela Schiavitti!

Move over, Myles Mendoza – WCT’s spotlight is on Angela Schiavitti!

Myles Mendoza’s organization, One Chance Illinois, offers abundant opportunities for socialites, educational profiteers and aspiring politicians to congratulate themselves on solving poverty through promoting urban charters and vilifying the unions who protect teachers' due process rights.

Let’s shine some light on Mendoza's pick for Board Member: Angela Schiavitti!
  • Years spent as an urban teacher:  0
  • Years spent as an urban administrator: 0
  • LinkedIn Professional Description:  "Independent Education Management Professional"
  • LinkedIn evidence of any experience in any field relating to directly educating children: 0
  • One Chance Illinois:  Board of Directors - Community Leader
  • Community of Residence:  Hinsdale, IL
  • Average home value in Hinsdale IL:  $767,500
  • Description of Ms. Schiavitti's Hinsdale home:  6 bedroom, $ 2.4 million dollar value
  • School where her children likely attend:  Hinsdale Central High School (neighborhood public school)
  • Alternative charter choices to Hinsdale Central High School: 0
  • Sample of English courses offered at Hinsdale Central High School: Rhetoric, Discussion & Debate
  • Ironies hopefully apparent to Hinsdale Central high school students enrolled in Discussion & Debate:
    • Non-educator using vast wealth to advise in favor of limiting due process rights for public teachers
    • Community Leader for urban education reform residing in 2.4 million dollar home in an exclusive and elite community insulated from all factors causing dysfunction in urban schools
    • Community Leader advocating for replacing neighborhood public schools with charters -- except in her community