Archives for category: Closing schools

From a reader:

“I live in Chicago, and one of the 50 neighborhood schools slated to close is an excellent school named Miriam Canter Middle School. I like to think I came into the process with an open mind– I’m not averse to school closing, if necessary–but I was so disgusted with the town hall meeting that I made a very short video concerning the process. I would appreciate it if you reposted the video on your blog.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Irami Osei-Frimpong”

This journalist found himself in the men’s room with Mayor Emanuel, then listened to him give a speech about how his policies are improving the lives of Chicago’s poorest children.

This is what he thinks he is doing by closing dozens of neighborhood schools. Against the will of their parents, he is tearing apart their lives and communities.

Just doing what Duncan did, and it catapulted him to national office.

Will Rahm’s reforms work for him too?

Norm Scott, retired NYC teacher posted this on his website, Ed Notes Online:

We have Al Qaeda on the run but right now the biggest threat to our agenda is Karen Lewis and the Chicago Teachers Union,” said an Obama spokesperson.

“Our pal Rahm Emanuel has been forced to close 50 schools in retaliation for the strike led by Lewis and now suffers poll numbers so low they are getting close to the interest rate. He is actually being criticized for using money he saves by closing schools to put $100 million into building a new basketball arena where our president and Arne Duncan will be able to shoot hoops once their term in office is over. For that Rahm is being called the most loathsome politician in America? How dare they?”

“And some in the media have started ganging up on some of our allies like Michelle Rhee. And Arne Duncan’s poor record in running the Chicago schools for so many years has been re-examined due to the work of Karen Lewis’ union.

“And then to top it all our hand-picked crew to beat her in the election got only 20% of the vote despite being supported by our press pals at the Chicago Tribune, thus showing Chicago teachers will not go to the woodshed like the lambs being led by Randi Weingarten, our most important asset, who by the way we have supplied a military escort to protect, but let me point out that we are not using public money for Randi’s escort since Bill Gates is paying.”

“Getting Bin Laden was so much easier.”

Chicago Public Schools voted to close down dozens of public schools. As many as 40,000 children are losing their schools, many of who are children with disabilities. The vast majority of the children are African American.

Will the President and Secretary of Education speak out against this willful destruction of public schools and communities?

This is a dire situation. It is time for our leaders to defend children, communities, and schools.

There are questions of equity here that should be investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

There is no bright side to this ugly decision.

Norm Scott, retired NYC teacher posted this on his website, Ed Notes Online:

We have Al Qaeda on the run but right now the biggest threat to our agenda is Karen Lewis and the Chicago Teachers Union,” said an Obama spokesperson.

“Our pal Rahm Emanuel has been forced to close 50 schools in retaliation for the strike led by Lewis and now suffers poll numbers so low they are getting close to the interest rate. He is actually being criticized for using money he saves by closing schools to put $100 million into building a new basketball arena where our president and Arne Duncan will be able to shoot hoops once their term in office is over. For that Rahm is being called the most loathsome politician in America? How dare they?”

“And some in the media have started ganging up on some of our allies like Michelle Rhee. And Arne Duncan’s poor record in running the Chicago schools for so many years has been re-examined due to the work of Karen Lewis’ union.

“And then to top it all our hand-picked crew to beat her in the election got only 20% of the vote despite being supported by our press pals at the Chicago Tribune, thus showing Chicago teachers will not go to the woodshed like the lambs being led by Randi Weingarten, our most important asset, who by the way we have supplied a military escort to protect, but let me point out that we are not using public money for Randi’s escort since Bill Gates is paying.”

“Getting Bin Laden was so much easier.”

The best reporting on the historic closure of dozens of Chicago public schools was in the Sun-Times. It provided a human face to a public tragedy.

Most moving were the scenes at schools listed for closure.

The board voted enmasse. It didn’t even take time to name the schools it killed.

The decision was rendered unless time than it takes to boil an egg.

And there was this:

“One of the speakers lugged out of board chambers by CPS security was Erica Clark, a CPS parent and member Parents 4 Teachers. She used her two minutes time to recite, alphabetically, a litany of the schools on the chopping block: “Altgeld is my school, Armstrong is my school, Attucks is my school.”

“Her microphone was cut off as she reached “Pope”. She sat on the floor and continued: “Songhai is my school”. As security guards picked her up and carried her out, protesters called out with her: “Every school is my school.”

Even as Rahm Emanuel says he has no money for schools, none at all, the cupboard is bare….. He somehow managed to find $55 million to build a private basketball stadium. Now, this is a mayor with priorities!

One guess.
.

The Chicago Tribune would have advised American troops to lay down their arms when defeat seemed certain. They would have advised appeasement in the 1930s. This is an editorial board that cares not a whit for 40,000 children (not their children, after all) or for public education.

The Chicago Tribune editorial board is composed of Quislings. This is their advice to teachers:
**************************

May 22, 2013

When a vast tornado ripped into an Oklahoma elementary school, some teachers threw themselves on top of their students to shield them. They put their students’ lives before their own.

Some quick-thinking teachers huddled children into a bathroom. Though the roof blew off the school, the kids survived.

Some teachers were the first rescuers to pull surviving kids from the rubble, to comfort them, to keep them safe.

We’re sure we’ll hear more stirring stories about Oklahoma teachers who kept calm and protected their students during Monday’s tragedy. Guiding and protecting children is what teachers do. Not just in Oklahoma. Everywhere.

Parents who send their kids off to school every morning take a leap of faith: They trust that a teacher will care for their child with passion, with dedication, with patience and love. Parents place great value on their teachers, and with good reason.

We point this out on a day when the Chicago public school system will make a gut-wrenching decision. The school board is set to vote Wednesday on whether to close 53 elementary schools. Chicago teachers and parents have been protesting, trying to save those schools.

No one revels in closing a school. Chicago faces this decision because of some undeniable facts. The number of students has declined. That decline has been concentrated in lower-income neighborhoods. Chicago has a school infrastructure designed to support more students than it has enrolled. Chicago has to put its money toward the education of students in full, thriving schools. Money spent to light, heat and maintain half-empty school buildings is not money focused on educating children.

After months of planning, months of debate, the school board members will make a tough, emotional decision Wednesday.

They may spare a handful of the schools, based on the reports of arbitrators who questioned the efficacy of closing some schools. But barring a last-minute change of direction, most of the schools will be closed. That will be the right decision. Students won’t be served by pushing off these decisions, by continuing to misdirect education dollars.

And that brings us back to the teachers.

They have fought intensely against these closings. They’ll continue to challenge the board’s decision in federal court.

But their complete cooperation in the months ahead will be essential to ensuring a safe, successful transition for their students. Many teachers will follow kids to new buildings. Those charged with shepherding kids safely to school will depend on teachers to help, to speak up if they see dangers.

The teachers may not agree with every closing or any closing. But it will be up to them to make this work.

And far beyond that: The teachers will be key to restoring Chicago’s focus on building a much better public school system, on graduating students who are prepared to succeed in college and the workplace.

That can’t be achieved if Chicago’s teachers fight every effort at reform, if they are in a perpetual war against those who lead Chicago’s public schools.

Teachers, be heroes.

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

Never in U.S. history has a local school board–or any other board, appointed or elected–chosen to close 49 public schools.

Never.

That’s what the Chicago Public Schools did yesterday.

Thousands of parents, students, and teachers objected, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his puppet board didn’t care.

Yesterday was a day of infamy in Chicago and in the history of American education.

School boards exist to protect, improve, and support public schools, not to kill them.

The New York Times has written about this story and twice said that the school closings were the largest “in recent memory.” The Times wrote this despite my telling them–twice–that these were the largest mass closure ever. I wish the reporters would explain whose “memory” they were relying on. Just yesterday I explained in an email that no public school district had ever closed 49 schools at one time. On this issue, the “Times” is not the newspaper of record but the newspaper of “recent memory.”

Why does it matter? The phraseology removes the truly historic destruction that Rahm Emanuel is inflicting on children and schools in his city. He is wantonly destroying public education. He is punishing the teachers’ union for daring to strike last fall. He will open more charter schools, staffed by non-union teachers, to pick up the kids who lost their neighborhood schools. Some of them will be named for the equity investors who fund his campaigns.

Rahm and his friends will laugh about the way he displaced 40,000 kids.

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