Tuesday, June 30, 2015

CPS Waste, Exhibit C: Charter Payments [Update]

While the political stalemate drags on in Springfield between Mike Madigan, Rahm Emanuel, and Bruce Rauner, CPS's fate hangs in the balance. No matter the outcome, increasingly toxic comments will populate every article written about CPS, which boil down to: 1) teachers are greed crazed loons, 2) let the greedy bastards go bankrupt, and 3) fire all the greedy, lazy teachers.

At no point during this time has there been any discussion of what suppliers are doing business with Chicago and how much they're getting paid. 

Here are some payment highlights from the FY 2015 report (this report is no longer online, but a cached version can be viewed by cutting and pasting this link into your browser: http://web.archive.org/web/20150402185313/http://www.csc.cps.k12.il.us/purchasing/supplier_report_2015.xml).

Noble Street Charter School:                              $111,428,107.00

Chicago Charter School Foundation (CICS):         $88,695,497.00

UNO Charter School Network:                              $79,868,697.00

Youth Connection Charter School (YCCS):            $47,987,585.00

LEARN Charter School:                                        $28,308,409.00

Perspectives Charter School:                                $22,617,774.00                          

University of Chicago Charter School Corp.:          $16,637,216.00

Urban Prep Academies:                                       $13,332,826.00 

KIPP Chicago Schools:                                       $10,015,987.00

North Lawndale Charter School:                           $8,762,081.00

Chicago Virtual Charter School:                             $7,362,227.00

Concept Schools:                                                 $7,247,686.00

Total payments to listed schools:                     $442,264,142.00

Total overdue pension payment:                      $634,000,000.00

Payments to charters as % of overdue pension payment:  70%

Projected layoffs as a result of pension payment:  1,400 employees

This doesn't include payments to any charter raking in less than $5M, assorted other profiteers who are consultants, or various small-time kickback artists

This yearly spending is 70% of the overdue pension payment. It should be noted that as of April 2015 there are 13,000 empty charter seats.

Where are the calls for mass closures, investigations into who the money is really going to, and the accusations of the greed crazed loonies running these schools? In short, why is this spending going unchecked, while a constitutional obligation like a pension payment is suddenly debatable?

Update: Rahm Emanuel dutifully funded the pension obligation and directed more money to buddy Ken Griffin whose company, Citadel, manages a portion of CTU's pension. As a result, Emanuel projects 1,400 employees will lose their jobs with CPS.

The above questions still apply, and questions about mass closures and greed crazed loonies running our schools now apply directly to Jesse Ruiz and Rahm Emanuel. Their Wednesday press conference to explain exactly how all this happened will likely be an Orwellian display of epic proportions.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Non-economic Ask: Don't Be A Jerk.

It's widely noted that the contract impasse between CPS and the CTU stems from non-economic asks that would improve the quality of life in schools. WCT hopes a few simple clauses sneak in the contract that boil down to administrators not being allowed to be complete jerks to those in the building. 

Such jackass behavior WCT witnesses: reducing female teachers to tears, belittling male teachers, intimidating most everyone.  

Some administrators we know are self-appointed visionaries who feel they have the license to treat people however they want to get whatever results they feel are necessary. In Sunday's New York Times, the DealBook blog looks at bad behavior of visionary leaders in the tech industry.

Writer Tony Schwartz notes, "What disheartens me is how little care and appreciation any of them [Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos] give (or in Mr. Jobs' case gave) to hard-working and loyal employees, and how unnecessarily cruel and demeaning they could be to the people who helped make their dreams come true." While we're unsure if teachers are making administrators' dreams come true, we do know that teachers are working their asses off to make sure all the work in the classroom gets done so the doors stay open and students are in the seats. WCT sees time and again grand, yet empty gestures of thanks accompanied by yelling at and bullying of the most experienced, forthright teachers in the building. 

There doesn't need to be a fancy, no-bid contract awarded to ask administrators to treat the people they work with like human beings and not a malfunctioning machine whose output is down. Perhaps simple signs that say, "Hey, knock it off!" will do the trick and they will realize what Mr. Schwartz concludes, "Our research at Energy Project has shown that the more employees feel their needs are being met at work--above all, for respect and appreciation--the better they perform."

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Finally! Ed Reform Gets An Ally! [Update]

Readers: if you didn't realize that the education reform movement was on the brink of extinction, don't feel bad. Neither did we. The narrative that ed reform needs saving is just what Commentary Magazine and Peter Wehner would like people to believe based on the recent headline, "Education Reform Gains An Organizational Ally." The ally is former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, and the knowing gaze in her eyes comes from calculating all of the many dollars she can direct into the pockets of charter operators and choice profiteers everywhere.

Let's quickly examine existing ed reform allies to see if Peter Wehner's claim that ed reform needs "a shot in the arm," is true. A revealing article from 2011 provides the following information:

The Bill and Melinda Gates education endowment: $33,000,000,000. (With an additional $30,000,000,000 on tap from Warren Buffet).
Vacuous mi$$ion: High quality education for all and innovative solutions to education problems. We ask again, what about small brains?

The Walton Family Foundation education endowment: $2,000,000,000.00
Vague mi$$ion: Choice, access, and more public charter options.

The Broad Foundation education endowment: $1,400,000,000.00
Scary mi$$ion: infiltrate urban school districts everywhere.

Yes, those are all figures in the billions of dollars. There's enough money to balance the budget of CPS many times over, and yet it's reform movement that's faltering. Last we checked charter operators and profiteers were not being called swine, greedy pigs, or thugs in any comment section of any newspaper anywhere. Instead, readers of the Tribune were being chastised for not welcoming a charter school into their neighborhood because they did not want to reduce enrollment at neighborhood schools.

But yes, let's breathe a sigh of relief that someone is finally here to save ed reform.


A June 30th article reveals the Federal government may just be the charter movement's biggest supporter, at least in Colorado. The government has awarded Colorado charter operators $46,000,000 in federal funds because Colorado charters are free to hire and fire unlicensed, unqualified teachers. That must be a real, "shot in the arm," to all of those licensed teachers working at public schools.

Reminder: Its All About the Children.

Although ed reformers haven't yet figured out how to revise the lifeless language that their brand of orthodoxy requires, they have mastered one integral part of their message:  It's All About the Children.

Let's have a look at the yearly salaries of some well-known charter operators in their $ervice of children:

  • NYC Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz:  $567,000.00
  • Washington D.C. Friendship Charters CEO Donald Hense: $356,478.00
  • New Orleans Lusher Charters CEO Kathy Reidlinger: $316,306.00
  • Detroit Cornerstone Schools CEO Clark Durant: $450,000.000

As a basis of comparison, nurses in Chicago Public Schools make, on average,  $49,000.00 per year, or 24 dollars per hour, which is 9 more dollars per hour than the 15 dollar per hour minimum wage that many fast-food workers are currently advocating for.

In Chicago, the most politically corrupt city in the U.S., it easier for charter operators to keep their profits private.  In fact, reporters at the Chicago Reader sent FOIA (Freedom Of Information Act) requests to 34 of the biggest Chicago charter operators.  Unlike Trib reporters, Reader reporters were curious about Chicago charter salary and payroll information.  Not surprisingly, the Reader's request for information yielded zero results.

This is very reassuring to all Chicago ed profiteers, including One Chance Illinois, the Chicago Public Education Fund, and uber-profiteer Ken Griffin.  Because, as we know, their efforts are All About the Children.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

CPS Waste, Exhibit B: The Networks

While the Trib continues to make dark suggestions about 1. declaring bankruptcy in CPS and 2. teacher lay-offs, we again humbly suggest that reporters take a look into the CPS Networks, of which there are 13.

13 Chiefs of Schools; combined salaries:  $1,964,703.00
9 Deputy Chiefs of Schools; combined salaries:  $1,080,000.00
80 Instructional Support Leaders; combined salaries: $8,656,080.00
9 Data Strategists; combined salaries: $975,051.00
1 CEO Administration of School Transformation; salary: $132,036.00

Combined salaries (not including administrative assistants making less than 50K): $12, 808, 758.00

Let's take a closer look at the 80 Instructional Support Leaders collectively pulling in $8.6 million.

Amount of times that CPS teachers have received instructional support from an Instructional Support Leader: 0

Amount of times that CPS students have received instructional support from an Instructional Support Leader: 0

Friday, June 26, 2015

Where did the money go?

As mayor, Richard M. Daley spent hundreds of millions of dollars on unnecessary pet projects—and now successor Rahm Emanuel seems to have the same bad habit.

With the usual poisonous comments about CPS teachers (pigs, whiners, swine) being posted in response to the CTU's announcement that contract negotiations have stalled, we turn our attention to one of the essential questions:  Where did the money go?

Background info:
  • The teachers' pension fund was close to 100% funded in 2000
  • Between 1995-2005, CPS collected more than $ 2 billion in tax revenue from CPS teachers, counselors and paraprofessionals (and paid none of that revenue into the pension fund)
  • At the request of the School Board, CPS has been twice granted "pension holidays," periods of time during which CPS does not have to put any money into the pension fund
    • Pension Holiday #1: 1995-2005
    • Pension Holiday #2: 2011-2013
  • Currently, Illinois has the worst unfunded pension liability in the U.S., at $85 billion
  • Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts were established under Mayor Washington in 1986
On 6/30, a $634 million pension payment is due from the city to the pension fund. The city's cry: BROKE!  Which brings us back to the question:

Where did the money go?
Where else did the money go?

Cronies, kick-back artists, charter profiteers, Aramark big wigs, vendors, University of Chicago thought partners, number-crunchers, CPS Talent Office staff, CPS Network chiefs, and David Vitale and Deb Quazzo's banker buddies

Thursday, June 25, 2015

CPS Waste: The Talent Office Pt. 2

Recent reporting by the Trib refers to CPS's financial crisis as "appalling."  We find much that is appalling in CPS, including the Newspeak renaming of the Human Resources office as the "Talent Office."

More appalling facts:

  • Number of employees at CPS's Talent Office:  206
  • Combined salaries of all Talent Office employees:  14, 436, 239.00  
  • Notable Broad Resident Profiteer currently at CPS Talent Office:  Traci Thibodeaux
  • Ms. Thibodeaux's prior corporate experience:  Sales Finance Manager at Frito Lay
  • Frito Lay's former blunder:  Olestra fat substitute
  • Unpleasant Olestra side effect:  anal oil leakage

Clearly, Ms. Thibodeaux's Frito Lay experience will assist her and her ilk in their continued cornholing of CPS teachers and students.

CPS Waste, Exhibit A: The Talent Office

While the media's solution to everything CPS revolves around: 1) declaring bankruptcy or 2) massive layoffs of the teaching and support staff in schools, we humbly suggest all reporters examine the CPS Talent Office (Newspeak for HR) for some possible places to save money.

According to their own website they have no accomplishments to date.

For a department that doesn't hide their uselessness, they are certainly well staffed. 

We took a "deep dive into the data," as our Thought Partners are wont to say and discovered the following:
  • Broad Center residents on staff at $95,000 each. The Broad Center bills itself as tran$formative by pushing for charter expansion and merit pay. Broadies actively perpetuate the notion that urban school systems can only succeed by removing the teaching staff and replacing them with disruptive leaders from outside the education field.
  • An Orwellian Education Pioneer Analyst fellow apparently on staff to explore the uncharted territory of data as a profiteering mechanism. The Education Pioneers have investors from the plutocrat hall-of-fame including: the Gates Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, the Broad Foundation and a donor from Chicago named Anonymous (Bruce Rauner or Ken Griffin is that you?)
  • Numerous Talent Generalists, Talent Specialists, and Executive Directors who collect 6-figure salaries.
  • Managers of managers of managers who oversee the up-and-coming profiteers earning close to 6 figures.
Potential candidates report months long waits for returned calls, convoluted steps in the hiring process, and no answers to questions.  Clearly, the Talent Office is hard at work ignoring qualified candidates and soliciting those who only see teaching as a stepping stone on the way to something better. This tidily continues the urban district-as-failure myth (No qualified candidates, better privatize!) whilst lining the pockets of numerous profiteers.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Broke You Say?!

Chicago Tribune headline, June 14, 2015: "Emanuel prepares to borrow $1.1B to juggle Chicago debt, pay bills."

Chicago Tribune headline, June 23, 2015: "Chicago to replace Navy Pier Ferris wheel with taller one." 

A Navy Pier Inc. spokesperson assures readers that public funds will not used to finance this $26.5M project, instead Fifth Third Bank will foot the bill. Passengers on the new luxury wheel will be able to recline in both heated and air-conditioned luxury as the gondolas drift over the financial ruin that might be Chicago depending on who needs the money.

This brings to mind many questions, but chief among them, just how good are the corporate tax breaks and loopholes that companies have so much to give away? Also, how many palms will be greased throughout this project?

Money for a bigger Ferris wheel, but no money for education, CPD, CFD, or anti-violence initiatives? Got it.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Tribune Crusades for Rahm. Again.

The Tribune's monthly quota of articles that begin to frankly address the problems of the urban poor must be exactly three (lead poisoning, poverty, and corruption). Or, maybe now that Rahm Emanuel's Blackhawks bromance is waning, his lackeys are back on high alert for anything less than glowing written about Emanuel's management of Chicago. Whatever the reason, the Tribune's hot streak of truth-telling comes to a screeching halt with Monday's editorial posting (paywalled) that is a direct response to the CTU's charge that CPS is broke on purpose.

The Editorial Board helpfully reminds readers, "The value in the stark report prepared for CPS by Ernst & Young is that the firm has great credibility. The report, released over the last few days, underscores that this is not a manufactured crisis. It is real; it is happening now."

The CTU never said it was not real, they've simply outlined--ad nauseam--the many repeated missteps that Mayor Daley and David Vitale, among others, have taken along the way to ensure a crisis. Toxic debt swaps? Check. Rampant cronyism? Check. An open checkbook to any and all but traditional schools? Check. Fat checks to charter operators and opportunists? Check and check.

The Tribune dutifully points to Ernst & Young's claim (a week before the CTU contract expires) that, " 'CPS teachers are well remunerated compared to their peers in other large US/Midwest school districts.' " This, despite the 2012 report by arbitrator Edwin Benn that suggested pay be commensurate with increased work.

The Editorial Board further carries the mayor's water by suggesting that CPS seek bankruptcy authorization, "No one would relish a bankruptcy declaration; the repercussions would be difficult to predict. But the Illinois General Assembly needs to pass legislation to allow that, just in case." Needless to say the charter operators who are already making a windfall of profits would relish such bankruptcy proceedings so they can gleefully continue to make private a public good.

The writers plant a nice wet one right on Rahm's ass when they can't even be bothered to suggest getting rid of David Vitale or suing the rubber stamp Board of Education for orchestrating the tidal wave of financial malfeasance the families, students, and teachers are now bracing for.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

WWJT of Pastor Corey Brooks?

Several months ago, Corey Brooks, pastor of the New Beginnings mega-church, baffled Southsiders by lending his support to billionaire Bruce Rauner's purchase of the position of Governor of Illinois.  Perhaps Mr. Brooks was seduced by a glass of merlot from Rauner's exclusive wine club?  Unlike Jesus Christ, though, who turned water into wine at no cost, Bruce Rauner pays $100,000 per year for his wine, an expense that's twice the average Chicago household income.

We've also noticed that Pastor Corey Brooks has taken a $pot on the Board of Directors at One Chance Illinois, aligning himself with Myles Mendoza's anti-union plutocrats, socialites and ed reform profiteers.  More recently, Bruce Rauner has named Mr. Brooks to $erve on the Illinois Tollway Board.  Cha-ching!

This makes us wonder:  What Would Jesus Think?
  • According to Mark, Jesus said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."
  • And according to Matthew, Jesus said, "You cannot serve both God and money."

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Language of Ed Reform: Vague, Vacuous, Insipid and Boring

From George Orwell's essay Politics and the English Language, written in 1946:

  • Political writing is bad writing.
  • Orthodoxy, of whatever color, seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style.
  • Political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.  Thus, political language has to consist of euphemism, question-begging, and sheer cloudy vagueness.
  • The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.

The future is now:

Perspectives Charter Schools' Mi$$ion:  All Perspectives Charter Schools will provide students with a rigorous and relevant education based on the principles of a disciplined life, preparing them for life in a changing world and helping them to become intellectually reflective, caring and ethical people engaged in a meaningful life.

Noble Charter Network Mi$$ion:  Noble prepares low-income students with the scholarship, discipline and honor necessary to succeed in college and lead exemplary lives, and serves as a catalyst for educational reform in Chicago.

KIPP Charter Foundation Vi$ion:  Our vision is that, one day, all public schools will help children develop the knowledge, skills, character and habits necessary to achieve their dreams and make the world a better place.

One Chance Illinois Mi$$ion:  OCI believes that children only get one chance at a high quality education. [Our] mission is to advance public policy that expands quality educational options for Illinois' middle and low-income families.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Read Between the Lines

In the halcyon days of 2010, Rahm Emanuel outlined his education platform: "Our goal should be nothing less than ensuring that every child in this city has access to a world-class education...but without a good qualified teacher, those things [infrastructure, small class sizes] cannot guarantee learning." Yes!

Mayor Emanuel in an uncharacteristically optimistic 2014 press release: "We will continue to make all the investments necessary for a high-quality education that prepares our students for success in college, career and life." Right on!

Mayor Emanuel in 2015 announcing that 6 CPS high schools (all non-charter...awkward!) are among the state's Top 10: "I applaud the hard work of our students, and also the teachers...who have supported them in attaining success in the classroom." Sing it, brother!

With all the big talk of a world-class, high-quality education and qualified teachers, one would expect CPS spending to put dollars directly into the classroom, not profiteers' pockets. The CPS Department of Procurement shows where rhetoric meets reality:

CPS contract with 10 vendors for the Chicago Leadership Collaborative: $4,300,000 (over 3 years) Ineffective principal training, Cha-ching!

CPS contract with University of Chicago: $1,800,000 Championing made-up metrics, Cha-ching!

CPS contract with Teach for America: $1,300,000 Contracting inexperienced teachers who have no interest in teaching, Cha-ching!

CPS contract with Wilson Reading: $72,000 Training teachers to help students learn to read, Cha-ching?

One might argue the most money should go to the most effective resources. Here is a testimonial from the contract awardee who provides training to teachers to become high-quality instructors, "I taught English in the village school [in the Sudan]...I am so glad I finished my certification before I going. I felt prepared to provide meaningful and relevant instruction to help the students and teachers...." No TFAer would ever be caught dead in the Sudan, unless it helped their impending law/med/biz school application, so TFA is out.

Still not sure which program puts effective teachers in front of students? Here's another testimonial, "Patrick Lombard has come full-circle; from a struggling reader in third grade to a master's candidate is elementary education pursuing certification." University of Chicago doesn't take struggling readers, even if it was way back in the third grade. U of C is off the list.

Yes, the jargon-free Wilson Reading provides relevant training and produces results, but only received a $72,000 contract award in 2014 (point of reference: Ken Griffin makes this much money in 48 minutes). Yet, the new-agey Leadership Collaborative which often pushes teachers with little time in the classroom into administration is raking in a cool million this year; the University of Chicago who've proven to be total education hacks by defending CPS's juking of graduation rates gets almost two million this year, and Teach for America, an organization that willfully puts under-trained teachers warm bodies in the classroom gets tossed another million.

Rahm Emanuel and CPS tell the kids of Chicago to sit and spin when it comes to directing dollars into the classroom and developing high-quality teachers whose instruction can make a difference.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Small brains?

In today's news, a Perspective section essay written by Chicago Tribune Editorial Board member Steve Chapman inadvertently reveals several items of truth that relate to poverty in Chicago. Chapman reminds readers of dangerously high levels of lead poisoning in Chicago's poor neighborhoods, and continues by pointing out that kids poisoned by lead show "less intelligence and less self-control."  More fumbles occur when Chapman mentions that "poor parents are less likely to read to and talk with their children"  and that "exercising self-discipline and using contraception are harder" for poor people.

The Tribune's accidental publication of unpleasant truths about poverty in Chicago stands in contrast to their usual reporting, which dutifully fulfills the city's requirement that non-charter teachers and labor unions are held responsible for poor performance in CPS.

Unpleasant truths are often difficult to present, we will concede.  But it's Mr. Chapman's reference to the "small brains" of poor children that is truly baffling, even to us.  How can charter school expansion remediate small brains?  We assume that the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board will be calling an emergency meeting in order to ensure that no more truth of this nature is reported in the future.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Swine! Thugs! Greedy Pigs! 3rd World Educators! Boss Hogg's Minions!

Following Tuesday's rally, the CPS School Board, ed reform profiteers, kick-back artists, hedge fund managers, and David Vitale's banking buddies breathe a sigh of relief as online comments posted to the Chicago Tribune demonstrate that Rahm's media machine is fully operational.

Alert! Profiteer Gets Feathers Ruffled!

Apparently Myles Mendoza's only quibble with our June 7th post is the observation that the organization he heads up--One Chance Illinois--is anti-union. Our one measly observation that ed-reformers are only anti-union in urban areas seems like chump change compared to the notion that OCI is a self-enriching organization fueled by elitist guilt that peddles unproven initiatives. But, okay, let's talk about how not anti-union OCI is.

Surely, if One Chance Illinois were not anti-union there would more than just established and up-and-coming profiteers on their advisory board. These people are policy advisors who, "assist One Chance Illinois in setting its policy agenda...and provide national perspective on effective policy making." Certainly, an organization whose philosophy claims to, "...not favor one type of school over another..." would have a robust collection of advisors to reflect all of the many educational choices they keep shoving down the public's throats.

Let's examine this Team of Rivals One Chance has established:

Thomas B. Fordham Institute (Chad Aldis) - A conservative, education policy think tank whose mission describes students being held hostage by, "...adult interest groups, including but not limited to, teacher unions." No mention of mandated tests like PARCC that literally held students hostage for hours this winter and spring.

The Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation (Michael B. Horn) - Paging George Orwell! After we consulted our Newspeak dictionary, we found this non-partisan think tank refers to products, services, brick-and-mortar schools, and customer needs. Not one mention of students or teachers.

DFER Illinois (Rebecca Nieves Huffman) - An organization notorious for union bashing. In September 2012, a Tribune article linked DFER as a sponsor of anti-teacher ads during the teachers' strike. Most recently, DFER-Illinois put money behind aldermanic candidates in wards with CTU candidates running.

Digital Learning Now (John Bailey) - A national initiative of ExcelinEd whose goal is to, "...create a high-quality digital learning environment." No mention of providing students with high-quality educators.

We will spare you the rest of the organizational profiles of this twenty-nine member panel. The lone representative of public education is the Debate Director from Evanston Township High School. Hopefully his expertise in making a reasoned argument is used to advocate for equitable funding and experienced teachers in all of our schools so students and families are protected from the whims of education reformers who feel emboldened by their moral crusading for the civil rights issue of our time.

Oh, and the intent of this blog should be clear from the previous 90 posts WCT has published: we are public educators who are disgusted with the corruption, insincerity, and sanctimony of the education reform movement. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

New Name, Same Profiteers: One Chance Illinois

When we last left Illinois' choiceist reformers--Myles Mendoza (plutocrat), Angela Schiavitti (socialite), and fellow profiteers Kevin Chavous (parental choice crusader), Jack Buck (instigator, professional powerhouse, and positive change agent)--they were busy at Choice4kids.org peddling tran$formation, innovation, and the sorry state of traditional public schools.

In 2015, Choice4kids re-focu$ed and re-branded as One Chance Illinois-- a vast army of elitist guilt--amping up the public school desperation. Their mission trumpets, "There are no do-overs...we must do everything we can to ensure Illinois's children get the education they need and deserve." No shit. Every parent, teacher, and citizen-with-a-pulse agrees: education is a big deal. And yet. Bruce Rauner is merrily defunding public education while ed-reformers have the luxury of an ever-expanding contingent of converts who believe that choice, a non-unionized workforce and a robust array of unproven initiatives that are financially self-enriching will save the day. Cha-ching!

Behold: One Chance Illinois. An army of plutocrats who influence policy enough to make failed education initiatives like vouchers sexy all over again when re-branded as "access." 

Let's take a look at where a few One Chance Board members live and the charter/"access" choices that those communities offer:

Jack Buck, Winnetka:  Winnetka charter/"access" choices = 0

Bob Huffman, Northbrook: Northbrook charter/"access" schools = 0

Bob Birdsell, Wilmette: Wilmette charter/"access" schools = 0

Angela Schiavitti, Hinsdale: Hinsdale charter/"access" schools = 0

Conclusion:  Public education with a unionized teaching staff is good for the students of Winnetka, Northbrook, Wilmette and Hinsdale.  But not for students of Chicago.

Further conclusion:  Winnetka, Northbrook, Wilmette and Hinsdale offer limited opportunities for educational tran$formation.  But Chicago?  Cha-ching!

Further, further conclusion: When your local government shutters schools and intentionally creates edu-chaos, of course "access" and groups like One Chance seem like the saviors du jour.

Monday, June 1, 2015

31 & Done: B3's Long Haul

Barbara Byrd-Bennett, October 12, 2012: "I'm not sure if it's 8 years, it could be 10, it could be 12, but I'm here. I don't intend to go anywhere. I don't know what you do, other than sign in blood. I mean, I'm here and I am not going. I'm here for the long haul."

Barbara Byrd-Bennett, May 29, 2015: "I write to submit my resignation from the position of Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools...effective June 1, 2015."


Rahm Emanuel, October 12, 2012: "Most importantly, she [B3] understands the essential quality of accountability in the system...she needs to institute a culture of accountability."

Rahm Emanuel, June 1, 2015: "I am saddened by the circumstances that have led to Barbara's resignation and I wish her well."


In these reform-y times, WCT doesn't know what constitutes "the long haul," but 31 months seems short even by the staunchest reform-y standards. Then again, when one presides over a litany of school closings, awarding of no-bid contracts, and the proliferation of charter schools, maybe 31 months is an eternity.