Archives for category: Emanuel, Rahm

A reader responds to Jeff Bryant’s
article by
wondering why so many Democrats in office are
ignoring their base by aligning themselves with the free-market GOP


“Yes, yes, yes. Lately Democratic operatives have been
moaning and groaning about lack of excitement among their voters.
Supposedly this is a law of nature. Democrats just don’t get
excited about midterms. Yet, “school reform” is demobilizing
important elements of that base vote. This is one of the most
vibrant web sites around these days, and unfortunately, we have to
fight not only the GOP but also our “own” party – from President
Obama to Arne Duncan to Rahm Emanuel to Pat Quinn (who couldn’t
wait to make Paul Vallas his Lt. Gov. Running mate, within days of
Vallas being run out of Bridgeport, CT on a rail). “Stop doing
things to harm your base voters. What a concept! Maybe then we’d
vote. Don’t you realize you’re going to need every vote you can

An independent investigation found that nearly half of Chicago’s charter schools are under-enrolled, but the mayor-controlled school board plans to open more. This will drain more students and resources from the public schools. Mayor Emanuel hopes to destroy public education as his legacy to the city.

The mayor’s hand-picked board will vote tomorrow on authorizing 31 new charters.


Amy Smolensky, 312-485-0053

Data Analysis Reveals Nearly 11,000 Empty Seats; 47% of Charter Schools Under-enrolled

Pending Vote for Opening 31 New Charters Likely to Have Devastating Impact on Many Chicago Public Schools

CHICAGO, January 20 2013 — In an independent investigation of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) data from the 2013-14 school year compiled by parent Jeanne Marie Olson of the Apples to Apples project, parent group Raise Your Hand has discovered that 47 percent of CPS charter and contract schools had student populations below the CPS threshold for ideal enrollment. This equates to 50 schools with nearly 11,000 seats sitting empty. The analysis also reveals a decline in overall CPS enrollment of 3,000 students this academic year. Despite this drop, the Chicago Board of Education could approve as many as 31 new charters over the next two years.

These revelations combined with tremendous CPS budget cuts, a one billion dollar deficit and the recent closing of 50 neighborhood schools, have parents and community members demanding a halt to charter expansion. Opponents to the charter expansion, which is scheduled to be voted on during Wednesday’s Board meeting, are outraged at the prospect of adding 31 new charters (10 of which have already been approved) while neighborhood schools continue to receive funding cuts that have forced elimination of critical teaching and support positions as well as fundamental education programming.

“CPS has been opening charters in the Austin neighborhood for years and cannibalizing district schools,” said RYH Board member Dwayne Truss. “It is especially offensive to me as a resident of Austin that anyone would propose a new charter in our community after the closing of four district schools last year due to a so-called underutilization crisis manufactured by the district.”

CPS has contended that they will open more charters to meet parent demand and relieve overcrowding.

Raise Your Hand member Jennie Biggs said, “CPS claims to face another near billion dollar deficit. They risk destabilizing all of our schools by this unwarranted expansion. Every type of school in CPS has wait lists and this myth that CPS must open more charters to meet parent demand is insulting as a taxpayer and a resident of a community that had schools on the closing list last year and now has a charter proposal. We must strengthen our existing schools or we face another even more students leaving the system.”

Link to Apples to Apples:

About Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education: Raise Your Hand is a growing coalition of Chicago and Illinois public school parents, teachers and concerned citizens advocating for equitable and sustainable education funding, quality programs and instruction for all students and an increased parent voice in policy-making around education.

For a list of under-enrolled charters, contact:

Amy Smolensky

NPR says Rahm Emanuel gets a “mixed” grade at midterm.

On education, his grade is not mixed.

It is a big fat F.

He will remembered long after his term ends as the mayor who closed 50 public schools.

He will be remembered as the mayor who showed callous indifference to the children of Chicago.

He will be remembered for putting Rich Investors First.

He will be remembered for his contribution to the destruction and privatization of public education in Chicago.

He will be remembered because he did not fight so that all children had the opportunities available to his own.

This is copied from Norm Scott’s Ed Notes Online.

Norm writes:

Reports all day coming in from Substance on this open warfare by the ed deformer/neo-liberals on the community. You can follow events on the Substance web site.

Two years ago at our last meetings in Chicago we went to La Casita for a few hours to talk to people – George Schmidt gave us a tour. I will hunt down that video and post it tomorrow.

We are at war. It has been declared on us. We are in middle of a field without cover (of our union especially) and they are using every weapon they can throw at us and somehow the real reformers are still standing – and fighting back with pea shooters (and Ravitch) against drones, tanks, mortars, cluster bombs, etc.

Here are links to reports in reverse order.
THEY TORE IT DOWN BEFORE OUR EYES!’ CPS contractor begins to destroy La Casita despite library treasures and supposed ‘asbestos danger’

By Kati Gilson – August 17th, 2013 | 2 comments
LA CASITA IS NO MORE. By a little after ten o’clock in the morning, Board of Education contractors had leveled the library that had been created by the demands of a community that did not . . .
La Casita protests continue through the night of August 16 – August 17, 2013 after police arrest three people… Chicago Public Schools blocked trying to demolish iconic ‘La Casita’ community center

By Kati Gilson – August 17th, 2013 | 1 comment
It all started when a 6:45 dance class at La Casita was about to start. At 6:30, a community meeting was being held within the building called “La Casita,” the “Little House” adjacent to Whittier . . .

Rahm sends police to protect crew sent to destroy historic community center… Rahm, Barbara Byrd Bennett order destruction of ‘La Casita’

By John Kugler – August 17th, 2013 | 1 comment
In a brazen move reminiscent of the midnight destruction of Meigs Field by his predecessor, Richard M. Daley, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his handpicked schools “Chief Executive Officer” Barbara Byrd Bennett dispatched the Chicago . . .

Posted By ed notes online to Ed Notes Online at 8/17/2013 03:58:00 PM

Have a good day

Norm Scott

On Twitter: @normscott1

Education Notes Online

GEM, Grassroots Education Movement

The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman – Now Online

Education Editor, The Wave

Norms’s Robotics blog

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In Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget cuts, the ax fell most heavily on teachers of the arts, physical education, bilingual education, foreign languages, special education, and librarians.

The next time the Chicago mayor goes on a national television talk show to boast of his dedication to children and education reform, remember his priorities and if you have the chance, ask if he would want this kind of bare-bones education for his own children.

What a strange bureaucracy is Chicago Public Schools. Also, like many bureaucracies, cold and heartless.

CPS fired veteran Chicago teacher Xian Barrett by informing his mother. The principal called his mother and read a script. It’s not like Barrett is a minor. Why wouldn’t they have the nerve to call him directly?

The mass layoffs follow an unprecedented mass closing of 50 schools.

Could this be payback for last fall’s teachers’ strike? Or just Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s determination to starve public education and call it reform?

“In one of the city’s largest teacher layoffs ever, the district pink slipped 2,113 teachers and other employees.

“Of those laid off, 1,036 are teachers and 1,077 are support staff, with the laid-off teachers accounting for about 4 percent of last year’s total faculty of 23,290.

“Budget cuts are to blame for 815 support staff, 398 tenured teachers and 510 non-tenured teachers; school closings for 68 support staff employees and 194 food staff employees, and changes in school enrollments account for rest, the district said.

“Another 161 highly-rated teachers from the 48 schools that closed permanently in June also learned later Friday they will not follow their students to new schools — there aren’t enough open jobs in the receiving schools, according to CPS spokeswoman Kelley Quinn. Their positions have been cut, but they’re not technically laid off since they continue to collect full pay and benefits in a teacher reassignment pool for the first five months of the school year, and slightly lower pay in the cadre substitute pool for the next five months, Quinn said.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel continues with his plan to downsize public education in Chicago, while privately managed (mostly non-union) charters proliferate. Rahm recently told Charlie Rose that school reform was his highest priority as mayor.

Here is a statement from a Chicago organization created to fight the endless budget cuts:

Raise Your Hand Coalition:

Press Statement in Response to Layoff Announcement of 2,000 Teachers

July 19, 2013

“The Raise Your Hand Coalition (RYH) is disgusted to learn that Chicago Public schools has laid off another 2000 teachers and staff, bringing the total number of layoffs for the year to 3500. This news lies in stark contrast to the ongoing CPS rhetoric to minimize any impact of budget cuts on the classroom. Now CPS is claiming that there will be “winners and losers.” Even if a few schools have been spared from these widespread and severe cuts, we believe that there are only losers in this scenario.

“RYH started in 2010 to advocate for improved funding because for too long, our children have been subjected to inadequate staffing and basic programs and standards at Chicago Public schools. The situation has only worsened under Mayor Emanuel. After pushing through a “full school day,” our mayor has chosen to prioritize property tax spending on unnecessary and frivolous projects such as $55 million for a stadium for DePaul University, while CPS continues to receive drastic funding cuts that severely impact our children’s ability to thrive and learn. The Mayor’s decision not to use TIF money to offset some of these cuts is deeply disappointing and is forcing many parents to leave the city. Parents who don’t have the option to leave will be stuck sending their children to underfunded schools that lack the appropriate staffing and programs needed to provide a realistic “full school day.” This is a frightening day for the children of Chicago.”

Amy Smolensky

Now that billionaire Penny Pritzker has been confirmed as Secretary of Commerce, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has selected her replacement.

Is it an educator? No.

Is it someone who has a deep understanding of the needs of Chicago’s children and families?

How about an investment banker?

Veronica Vasquez found a letter that her 12-year-old daughter Paula wrote.

Paula is a student in a Chicago public school that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is closing.

““I have one question to ask,” it begins, in Paula’s girlish printing.

“Do you have any idea what your doing to us … our school … even to me? We all have tried and tried everything to keep our school open. How can people like you have no mercy on us?”

“Paula wrote that she is heartbroken. She called CPS decision-makers “cold hearted,” and their decision “barbaric.” And she closed the letter by writing, “I just don’t get it, I don’t get it at all.”

A reader (Mom/Speducator) has an idea for President Obama. Instead of going to Mooresville, North Carolina, to talk up the high-tech classroom, she says, how about this:

“Shouldn’t he have instead traveled to Chicago to offer support to the thousands of families whose lives will be in upheaval in a matter of months.”


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