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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chicago's Ed Deform Under Mayor Rahm Emanuel Closes the Largest Number of Schools In U.S. History

Hola Chicagoans!! Our partner in the education deform by Mayoral Control is experiencing the largest closure of public schools in US history. New York was supposed to be in the same position, but somehow we scraped through.

Let's keep scraping while we keep hollering NO. Get rid of the Panel For Educational Policy and the Community Educational Councils and bring back the public vote by all of the public, not "selectors".

Betsy Combier

Karen Lewis reacts to Chicago school board’s decision:
Karen Lewis Reaction to Chicago Board of Education’s Vote to Close the Largest Number of Schools in an Urban School District in U.S. History
CHICAGO – Today, Chicago Teachers Union Karen Lewis released the following statement on the largest school closings in U.S. history:
“Today is a day of mourning for the children of Chicago. Their education has been hijacked by an unrepresentative, unelected corporate school board, acting at the behest of a mayor who has no vision for improving the education of our children. Closing schools is not an education plan. It is a scorched earth policy. Evidence shows that the underutilization crisis has been manufactured. Their own evidence also shows the school district will not garner any significant savings from closing these schools.
“This is bad governance. CPS has consistently undermined school communities and sabotaged teachers and parents. Their actions have had a horrible domino effect. More than 40,000 students will lose at least three to six months of learning because of the Board’s actions. Because many of them will now have to travel into new neighborhoods to continue their schooling, some will be victims of bullying, physical assault and other forms of violence. Board members are wishing for a world that does not exist and have ignored the reality of the world we live in today. Who on the Board will be held responsible? Who at City Hall will be held responsible?
“Members of the Board of Education, the school CEO, the mayor and their corporate backers are on the wrong side of history. History will judge them for the tragedy they have inflicted upon our students; and it will not be kind.
“Our fight for education justice has now moved to the courts, but it must eventually move to the ballot box. The parents are amazing leaders in their school communities and because of this administration’s actions we have all become closer and more united. We must resist this neoliberal savagery masquerading as school reform. We must resist racism in all of its forms as well as the escalating attacks on the working –class and the poor. Our movement will continue.”

In Chicago, Rahm’s Reform Vision in Deep Dish

Edushyster, Posted on 

The final “vote” on which Chicago Public Schools to shutter may be a done deal, but the implications of the largest single school closure in US history will be felt well beyond the Windy City. Mayor Emanuel, who has long tethered his political fortunes to hedge-funded education reform, now has poll numbers hovering near the bottom of Lake Michigan. Meanwhile, the Chicago media has suddenly awakened and is practicing, once again, the long-lost art of journalism. And Chicago charter school fever is beginning to look an awful lot like old-fashioned Illinois-style “pay to play” corruption. In other words, on this bad news bears day, my outlook is decidedly wine-box-half-full…
The white course
Let’s start with Mayor Emanuel’s poll numbers. Did I say they were in Lake Michigan? I meant living on Lake Shore drive in a million dollar plus unit with great lake views. A recent pollfound that the only voters left who unabashedly approve of the mayor’s education reform agenda are wealthy whites who live in the city’s lakefront wards. Six in ten Chicagoans oppose Rahm’s school closure plan, while a full 75% say they don’t like his vision for education in the city. Of voters with children who attend the Chicago Public Schools, just 9% said they side with the mayor in the debate over how to improve the schools. Fifty-four percent said they now side with the Chicago Teachers Union.
Welcome back, journalists. We’ve missed you!
The past few weeks have seen the kind of reporting that’s all too rare in today’s Walton-funded era of achievement gaptivism. Check out, for example, this “fact check” prepared by a local public radio station in which reporters examine the justifications being given for the mass school closings—and debunk virtually all of them. Even the Chicago Tribune, which just weeks ago ran an editorial trumpeting the results of a pro-charter push poll, got in on the action. The Trib dug deep into official documents to dispute many of the claims being made by Mayor Emanuel et al and revealed once again just how dependent hedge-funded “reform” is on a lax and fawning press.
Pay for play
Meanwhile reporters at the Chicago Sun Times have been busy digging up the dirt on the state’s largest charter school operator: UNO Charter Schools. It turns out that Illinois’new favorite past-time, *crushing* the achievement gap by constructing shiny academies of excellence and innovation, looks an awful lot like the state’s old favorite past-time: cash-fueled corruption.
Race to the top
The disproportionate impact of school closings on minority students has already resulted in multiple law suits. But could it finally prompt a conversation on the great white elephant in the room: the overwhelming whiteousness of the education reform movement vs: the communities that reformers are intent on improving? Based on this intriguing tweet from Teach for America CEO Matt Kramer, I’d say the chances are good.
We are so over
In case you missed it, opposition to the school closings in Chicago even precipitated an education reform break up. I’m talking, of course, about the recent decision by the University of Chicago chapter of Students for Education Reform to divorce their national organization. In this Dear John letter, the Chicago students hint at their discomfort with being the fresh Chicago faces of SFER’s national agenda. As for what that agenda is, I will say only that SFER is likely the only grassroots student group in the country to be funded by the Walton Foundation.
Even Republicans are pissed
And now a gratuitous shout out to my favorite Windy City blog: Chicago Public Fools.This Chicago Public Schools mom is representative of the astonishing diversity of voices that are now questioning the city’s education reform mantra. In this post, Red in a Blue City, she fillets would-be school privatizers like lake trout.
Karen Lewis rocks
Even though I am *technically* married, I have been crushing on Karen Lewis since the first time she used the expression “full-tilt bozo,” the precise definition of which I still don’t know. In case you missed it, she was overwhelmingly re-elected by the members of the Chicago Teachers Union last week and pledged to spend her next term making education equal in all of the city’s neighborhoods. Now there’s a thought…
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