Skip to main content

I'm sitting here in my cozy dining room while baby sleeps and before I pick up my others kids from their public magnet school. I am lucky. My kids' school isn't one of the 52+ being closed or 'consolidated' in the city of Chicago today. I'm crying. I really am. My face is hot and splotchy. My fingers are trembling as I write this. Our school system is in shambles. Our system caters to an overwhelmingly minority and high poverty group. They are being FUCKED by these closings. Yes, they are.

I am white, over educated, married to an over educated highly well compensated guy (not rich but not struggling by any means). I wanted my kids to be a part of the diverse public education system 'cause it did fine by me and would for them too I figured. Now I wonder.

As we speak 100s probably 1000s of teachers and staff at these school will have no where to go in the fall. Why below the orange cloud. And my emotional hot ramblings.

We had a strike in Chicago Public schools this past fall. Two weeks they walked the line. Got some concessions, didn't get enough and it seems like the whole thing was a lesson in futility. Now, the mayor, Rahm, is skiing while the school closing list came out. His kids go to a private school, which is fine, I'm just saying.

What a jerk. He's never going to be re-elected in this town. We thought he'd come in here and clean house and have special time with the President who was going to help change all our problems. Rahm's proven no better than his predecessors. Worse in fact because as much of a wheeler-dealer Daley was, at least he was a likeable sort of guy and you felt it that he liked the city and was working to ultimately do good by it. What a waste of our votes for Rahm! He has managed to piss off very single union in the city: police, fire, teachers, etc. Acts like a privaleged moron half the time and the other half you can't tell what his end goal's going to be. Not the lifting up of the city because surely if it was, he wouldn't be doing the things he is, the way he is. What is wrong with this executive staff? Isn't there anyone one who can clue him in??

Schools are the most important thing for people like me- the EXACT people he wants in this city because we pay taxes and don't suck the city dry with using services: public transport, social services, park district, police, etc. I'm the kind of person who pays for that other stuff if the free stuff doesn't fit my schedule- I don't need it to be free because I can pay for it. I do use it, just don't rely on it like other folks do.

But, fucker mayor, I VOTE. I vote at all the primaries that get very low turnout no matter what. It was the one thing that my immigrant folks instilled in me: VOTE. It's the only way to get your voice heard. And you better believe I will, against you and the horse you rode in on. You are out buddy.

Chicago public schools has some of the best schools in the state. And some of the worst. But, the system provides lots to many folks who rely on it: after school activities, english as a second language classes, community services, special education, etc. You get the idea. Some of these schools in certain communities where/are open on Saturdays to give kids a place to hang and not be in trouble. These are the schools they are closing because according to some fucked up software program they are 'under utilized'. They have SPED rooms with less kids per room because that is what this population needs to learn appropriately. They have rooms allocated for parent classes in language and citizenship, etc. They have rooms allocated for ART, MUSIC, etc.

I know deep in myself that this whole school closing thing is about politics and getting back at the union because now the closed schools' staff will be left high and dry. Where are they going to teach? Where?

Oh yeah, the new funding cycle will be on a per pupil basis without the allotment of 'one teacher per 2 kids' by the Board of Ed. Now the principal just gets a lump sum per kid and she figures it all out. So, central office isn't the bad guy, but the principal. Of course every principal is going to stuff the max # of kids per room and pay for the cheaper teacher. The higher paid teachers who are out now, who's going to hire them at other schools? No one.

My school is safe. But many around here are not and I feel for the parents. I feel for the kids. Mostly I feel for the teachers. The catholic schools just released their projections of higher enrollment for the fall. Of course. But most of the kids affected are in high poverty areas whose parents can't afford this tuition. They are screwed and will be crammed into other schools and bused and made to attend schools no better than the ones they left behind.

It just seems like a set up for a building grab for the charters to come in and use the empty buildings 'cause this mayor, he loves him some charter schools.

We don't have an elected school board. The mayor is in control of his group of monkeys. It's sad. The last few CEOs of the school system were a joke. One was a student of mine in grad school at U of C. He was a suck-up who came into my office constantly to try to talk up his grade. I never gave in. He had no education backgroud, just an administrator and ex-cop. The one before him is now in Washington, but really no better. The last one was a failed educator from Rochester, NY. The current one drove the Detroit schools into the ground. What do they all have in common? They are YES men to the mayors. They are Rhee-formers too.  

Are there problems in the system? Yes, yes, many many problems that are made worse by poverty and all the issues surrounding that: violence, hunger, homelessness, etc.

But research has shown that simply closing the schools isn't going to fix it.

Here is what is going on in Chicago today:

I am sick at heart. There are rallies at the chicago board of ed member's homes. There are community meetings. There is huge Occupy rally for 3/27.  Spread the word. Peace

7:29 PM PT: Ok wow- thanks for the considerate conversation going on. Just a few more thoughts. I'm an LSC member. That is a local school council that every school has and it's mostly parents, a few teachers, a staff rep and the principal. We are supposed to have a say in how our schools are run. This system was set up after the strike of the 80s. Now, were any LSC members consulted about any of this? Were there focus groups? Were there committees? Nope, nothing of the sort. It flies in the face of the supposed democratic process of this whole thing. You see, as an LSC member I am an elected official. But, the mayor has taken our ability to do anything about this mess away from us completely. I see law suits popping up. I think it's going to be a huge shit storm. My immediate family is lucky. The magnet school is safe for now. And how did I get the lovely magnet school spot. Through sheer luck. Through a lottery. How can that be a sane or fair process? It's not and shame on all of us for letting this happen but you take what you can get and worry about the consequences later. I chose this magnet school- it's lovely and has arts and my kid gets piano twice a week. The neighborhood school is over crowded. Its not one of the bad ones so it would have been ok. Now, all the other folks directly affected by this mess are going to have a hell of a hard time navigating the system. You see, they've already sent out the acceptance letter just this week for all the magnet spots. So, theoretically they can't get their kid in unless they had already done the paperwork and such.

This is why charters seem like a good alternative here. They offer hope when there isn't any glimmer of hope. People want a better alternative and will do what I did, take what you can get.

Please see this report on closing by this thoughtful group:

The CReATE Research Brief on School Closures is available at http://createchicago.blogspot.com.

The briefing paper was prepared by professors Stephanie Farmer of Roosevelt University, Isaura Pulido of Northeastern Illinois University, Pamela J. Konkol of Concordia University, Kate Phillippo of Loyola University, David Stovall of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Mike Klonsky of DePaul University.


7:35 PM PT: Oh yeah, I almost forgot. There is a movement here to end high stakes testing as we know it. Yeah yeah, it's a long shot. Check it out:
http://morethanascorechicago.org/...
I actually opted my two kids out of this hot mess. I'll be doing it in the fall as well. Aren't we stressing these kids out enough. Imagine all these kids now in the new schools along with whatever nonsense they have to deal with having to deal with all the new silly and redundant CPS testing in the fall: NWEA, Reach, Dibles, etc. Ha I say. ha

7:51 PM PT: Wendy Katten from Raise your Hand has been doing excellent work.
http://ilraiseyourhand.org/

I was told that the CEO of schools was on the pbs (WTTW) basically blaming parents. Wow, good job lady. She's lucky she's not elected. I think she'll be out in a year too.

also check out #cpsclosings on the twitter feed

8:12 PM PT: Last update- need to sleep.
Diane Ravitch of No Child Left Behind fame who has done a complete 180 degree change on her view points has this to say:
http://dianeravitch.net/...

I feel she is dead on.

Originally posted to KikiK on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 12:26 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  He got his and the rest of us (37+ / 0-)

    can just piss off as far as he is concerned. He swears up and down that the things the school he sends his kids to are the wrong way to run a school.

    Until we fully fund education it will continue to languish. All the standardized testing in the world won't change that.

    •  Educated parents... (10+ / 0-)

      ...like the Diarist aren't hurt by bad schools. I know because my wife and I are in a similar situation.

      Parents like us know how to navigate the broken Public School system to get into Magnet Schools, Gifted Programs, and other safe spots.

      We have the wealth to move close to the few good schools, and the advocacy skills to get even the worst Public System Bureaucracy to cough up special services.

      Even if the schools aren't teaching, our kids learn at home -- white-collar parents have time and skills to devote to out-of-class education. We can be at home at 3:26 PM (2:26 PM, Chicago time) to wait for the school bus, as the Diarist is doing right now.

      It's easy to be for the status quo and against reform when the status quo is so...comfortable.

      But how do poor parents view reform? The answer is simple -- look at charter enrollment. When a charter school opens, in NYC, parents fight to get their kids in. They fill out forms, they beg, they wait in line, they enter humiliating lotteries. I suspect the same is true in Chicago.

      They'll do ANYTHING to get out of the broken public system.

      They'll do ANYTHING to have the same choices the Diarist and I have.

      Because they can't sit at home writing dKos posts on a Thursday. They need to be at work. They can't make-do with half a school. In short:

      1) My family has choices.

      2) The Diarist's family has choices.

      3) The current round of charter-school bashing is an attempt to deny choices to others.

      Like I said, it's easy to be against reform when the status quo is so...dammed...comfortable.
      •  You clearly haven't read enough about (41+ / 0-)

        charter schools if you think they do a better job educating people. People are lining up for these schools because they are told that they are better. In fact, charter schools average about the same as public schools.

        People such as you continue to ignore the central fact about education that is important at this time: the most important determinant in regards to the success of a school is the socio-economic status of the families of the students there. This is because we underfund our schools. You can support privatization as much as you want, which is what the charter school movement really is, but the problem is funding, that's the only thing that's changed significantly over the years. Schools do well when they are well funded and rich people can afford to make up the difference through fund raising, everything else is propaganda aimed at destroying teachers unions and public schools. And you've bought it hook line and sinker.

        •  Not true. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Victor Ward

          Some charter schools are better. Some are worse. Parents can choose which ones they want.

          What is better for my kid may not be better for yours. But if we have choices, we can decide what our kids need. Close the charters, and you remove the choice.

          Also, you write:

          "...the problem is funding, that's the only thing that's changed significantly over the years."
          Yes, it's changed, it's gone up! Public schools spend more money per kid than ever before, even adjusted for inflation. Yet the results remain bad.

          I admit, money means a lot. But there complaining that the public schools are "underfunded" doesn't explain all of their failure.

          •  What is the money used FOR? Certainly not for (25+ / 0-)

            music and art, things that are CORE CURRICULUM.

            Certainly not to give each student an UP TO DATE TEXTBOOK.

            Certainly not to give each student ADEQUATE SUPPLIES.

            Certainly not to give each student resources like the rich schools have.

            And certainly not pay teachers either.

            "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

            by zenbassoon on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 02:10:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  No, true (21+ / 0-)

            I'll find the link somewhere  but in Chicago, the students do no better in the charters (numerous charters outfits) than in the public schools. Also, the chicago charters can boot out lower performing students and those with 'issues' that they then send back to the neighborhood school who has to take them no matter what.

            We're also having a charter school scandal here wherein the largest operator of charters, the UNO system, has been busted for all sorts of unethical practices and nepotism and sketchy contracting, etc.

            The city aldermen are trying to get a moratorium on opening any new charters in the city until this whole school closing mess is figured out.

            In fact, one school slated to close, Trumball, in my neighborhood which has almost 40% special ed students is slated to be closed and just the other day the turkish charter group, whose name escapes me now, got a special repreive from the state to go ahead and open a charter a few blocks away! Well, maybe now they can just use the Trumball building. That in essence seems to be what this all about.

            Another school- Manierre- in old town area is sitting on some really really nice property in a hot area. Now what do  you think will happen to that piece of premo land?

            It would just be better for all involved to just come out and tell it like it is. We are broke, we need $$, so we are consolidating and selling land to cover costs. Simple.

          •  We spend less than any other OECD country (20+ / 0-)

            except Switzerland per student on K-12 education. Funding is the problem.

            What is better for my kid may not be better for yours. But if we have choices, we can decide what our kids need. Close the charters, and you remove the choice.
            Yes, pray to the market, it shall be our savior and our only savior! Of course, you ignore the fact that parents like you already know how to get your kids into better schools, and then you take that money away from public schools. Yay privatization! And I'll say it again, charter schools average no better than public schools, so really, it sounds like you just want to pull a Rahm, you're going to get yours and your kids' so screw everyone else if they don't have the time to figure out which are the good schools. We need good public education and the only thing that charter schools do consistently is undermine public education.
            I admit, money means a lot. But there complaining that the public schools are "underfunded" doesn't explain all of their failure.
            No, it doesn't. The other half of the problem is the supremacy of standardized testing. Race to the Top was such a failure that the people running it had to lie about test scores.
            •  You have it backwards. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Victor Ward

              Educated, white-collar parents aren't looking for Charter Schools. We don't need them.

              Both the Diarist and I have our kids safely tucked into special niches in the public school system. We know how to do that, you see.

              The status quo works very well for The Comfortable:

              - Comfortable white-collar parents.
              - Comfortable suburbanites.
              - Comfortable unionized teachers.
              - Comfortable wealthy families in Private Schools.

              It's not working for the poor. And that is who we need to help.

              If I was selfish, I'd simply remain silent. If I was really selfish, I would actively oppose reform...as a disturbing number of people on this "progressive" site tend to do.

              •  You don't seem to understand the issue (10+ / 0-)

                Poor people have a problem figuring out how to get their kids into good schools, and charter schools do no better at education than public schools, therefore, there is no reason that charter schools are an improvement.

                Which part of "charter schools are not better than public schools" do you not understand? It's been shown in studies again and again and you pretend like t has no bearing on the conversation.

                If I was selfish, I'd simply remain silent. If I was really selfish, I would actively oppose reform...as a disturbing number of people on this "progressive" site tend to do.
                No, if you were really selfish you'd get a job for a company that benefits from the privatization of schools and then push for the privatization of schools. I don't know what kind of work you do in education, but if you're going to be advocating for the privatization of schools here it would be good if you could let us know if there is a conflict of interest.
              •  No. (13+ / 0-)
                If I was really selfish, I would actively oppose reform...as a disturbing number of people on this "progressive" site tend to do.
                Opposing charters is not opposing reform.
                Opposing the breaking up of teachers' unions is not opposing reform.
                Opposing vouchers is not opposing reform.

                Those of us who believe in public schools have been proposing reforms for years, but they're not the kinds of reforms the corporatists want to hear.

                Classroom size has been increasing.
                Administrative positions have been increasing.
                Standardized testing has been increasing.
                Scripting has been increasing.
                Paperwork has been increasing.
                Cuts to support services for students have been increasing.

                None of these improve education. Not one. Most of them make it more difficult for teachers to do their jobs.

                The data show that most public schools are doing fine, but that kids in poverty are struggling.

                The data overwhelmingly demonstrate that poor kids need a lot of support beyond the classroom.

                These are the bald, inconvenient facts.

                But you simply ignore this by saying "we can't fix poverty, so let's do these other things" -- none of which have been shown to work.

                You say let's fix the schools, but then ignore the data that shows what the real problem is.

                I'm an educator -- I teach at a community college, so I see the first-hand the result of public schools and of poverty -- and I grow weary of your straw man argument that those who disagree with you are opposed to reform.

                I want to see schools get better -- I've willingly accepted low pay for a couple of decades now because I believe in the transformative power of education.

                But the reforms that are being pushed upon us aren't coming from people who know much about the classroom. Some are simply seeking to put public dollars in their own pockets. Others, however, have better intentions, but don't seem to realize that their experiments are causing changes that we won't be able to recover from when they fail -- and they will fail because, once again, they don't address the underlying causes.

                So stop with the straw men, please. Stop implying that those of us who oppose current "reforms" have ulterior, less than honorable motives.

                Beware the man of one book.

                by fiddler crabby on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 05:43:44 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Ulterior motives. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Victor Ward

                  Anyone who is pro-reform is accused of being a shill for corporate profiteers.

                  Since that's the level of discussion we've chosen, why not point out that many groups have Strong Financial Interests in blocking reform?

                  (A house in a good school district costs $300,000. The same house in a bad school district costs $50,000. If you fix inner-city schools, somebody is gonna lose a quarter-million...)

                  Or we can just stop the ad hominem altogether.

                  I support Charters not because they are a complete solution, but because they are politically possible. Do you really think that Suburban Soccer Mom is going to vote for you to raise her taxes so you can gut the value of her house?

                  Do you really think the Upper Middle Class actually wants their kids competing against well-educated kids from poor neighborhoods?

                  The grand master plan to End All Poverty will not pass Congress this year. Next year doesn't look good either. Charters, however, will.

                  Something is better than nothing.

                  •  How can we know if you're a shill or not (8+ / 0-)

                    If you refuse to disclose where you work. We know you work in education, and that you refer to tests as something you do. Given how much you support reform I'm assuming you don't work in a public school classroom, especially given that you're a former wall-streeter. So what exactly do you do?

                  •  Did I say you were shill? (9+ / 0-)

                    Work with what I actually did say.

                    Charters are politically popular because they promise something for nothing. They're politically popular because its easier to demonize than to take the effort to solve the real problems.

                    They're also politically popular because they serve a corporate agenda -- there's lots of money and lots of pr behind the destruction of public schools, and it would be nice if you'd at least acknowledge that fact.

                    The "something" you're talking about might not be better than nothing -- there's plenty of data that shows it's worse than nothing for a whole lot of kids.

                    But data's not politically popular, I guess.

                    btw, here's my experience as an educator: Twenty years in the classroom, five classes a semester, teaching a lot of kids who grew up in poverty, and many who continue to struggle with it.

                    What's yours?

                    Beware the man of one book.

                    by fiddler crabby on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 06:02:53 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You are misreading the data. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Victor Ward

                      The data shows that some charters are better and some are worse.

                      If parents are free to choose, they can choose the better ones.

                      Here in NYC, charters have been shown  to be a net positive.

                      Yes, there are scams, scandals, and profiteering.  Just like there are in Public Schools. But using Charters is a cost-free (yes, something for nothing) way of getting some kids a better shot some of the time.

                      When Dennis Kucinich becomes President and we have 67 Progressive Senators, we can solve Poverty. But until that happy day, it is immoral to ask kids to wait for a solution.

                      As for my educational experience, my most relevant experience has to do with Real Estate. I'm a landlord and I see every day how our screwed-up educational system robs families by means of the whacky housing market.

                      People say the Recession was caused by a housing bubble. But what they won't say is that the housing bubble was caused by families fleeing horrible inner-city schools.

                      Don't believe me? Ask Elizabeth Warren...yeah, I went there...

                      •  Cost free for who? (6+ / 0-)
                        Yes, there are scams, scandals, and profiteering.  Just like there are in Public Schools. But using Charters is a cost-free (yes, something for nothing) way of getting some kids a better shot some of the time.
                        You are championing a purely selfish viewpoint - Ayn Rand would be proud.

                        Do what is good for you, and everyone else can go to hell.

                        Turn the public school system of this country into a for-profit enterprise, which is what you are advocating by cheerleading for charter schools, and education will just be just as good as our healthcare system - where if you aren't rich, you die.

                      •  But it's not cost-free. (10+ / 0-)

                        Struggling public schools have to struggle even more as charters dump their non-performers back into the public system. Funding shifts from public schools to charters, while at the same time public schools have to deal with those kids charters can turn away -- kids with disabilities (one of the biggest costs in public schools, by the way), kids whose parents don't/can't live up to charter requirements for involvement, and so on.

                        And all those teachers who will be losing their jobs? It's not because of selfishness. You might not be aware that public school teachers are one of the backbones of the black middle class. Charters tend not to hire a lot of people of color -- take a look at the studies for that. Middle class black neighborhoods are taking a serious hit because of public school closures and the hiring patterns of charters.

                        And all those local schools that will close? They're also community centers in poor neighborhoods, providing adult and ESL education, job training, meeting spaces, and a host of other services that help serve poor communities.

                        And some kids doing better some of the time also means some kids will do worse. That seems pretty much status quo, to me.

                        But if you're just a bottom-line, $$$ kind of guy, then yeah, it's all cost-free.

                        Beware the man of one book.

                        by fiddler crabby on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 07:16:24 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  You keep saying this, but you don't seem to (8+ / 0-)

                        grasp that it is statistical nonsense:

                        The data shows that some charters are better and some are worse.
                        Uh. No, duh.  Left unsaid in this particular example is "than what" -- but generally as you've expressed it, you've indicated "than non-charter public schools". This is practically a statistical tautology. Has it not occurred to you that the data also show that some non-charters are better than the "average" non-charter, and some are worse?

                        You cite Warren -- but of course, Warren's argument is not to replace public schools with for-profit charters, or to hand out vouchers that can be used at private schools. Rather, her argument is that parents should be able to send their kids to any public school -- at least, if they can get them there. Something you overlook in her argument is the implication that all of the schools would  get equal funding, which is something you've dismissed elsewhere as politically undoable.

                        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                        by UntimelyRippd on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 07:35:23 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  He's nothing if not inconsistent. (7+ / 0-)

                          Never stays on a single point, either.

                        •  Yeah, you almost got it. (0+ / 0-)

                          1) Some charters are better, some are not.

                          2) Some public schools are better, some are not.

                          We have not even considered that what is "better" for one kid may not be "better" for another. Why not let families choose?

                          Unless you think you are wise enough to make the choice for them and just stick them all in the public school. Are you really that wise?

                          The sad thing is that rich kids will not be subjected to your "wisdom". Rich kids have the choice to move to leafy suburbs.

                          Why not let poor kids have some choices, too?

                          Also, I never claimed that Warren advocated charters. I only claim that she agrees that the housing bubble was cause by the education crisis.

                          •  Here's a good reason why not... (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SilentBrook, maf1029, fiddler crabby

                            In Ohio, at least, charters underperform and cost more than public schools.

                            But hey, as long as your kid benefits, all the rest of the kids can just deal with the shit, right?

                            Or is it still "all for the good of the children"?

                          •  But only SOME... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...charters under-perform! Many do not!

                            Just don't send your kid to those that aren't good!

                            Only send your kid to the ones that are better!

                            It is your choice!

                            Why can't that be understood?

                          •  Not if you live in Ohio. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SilentBrook, maf1029

                            Learn to look outside your own situation. Remember that local is not national. Remember that national affects local.

                            Your choices are detrimental to the country.

                            You seem to be happy with that.

                          •  *you* almost get it. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            maf1029

                            Only some public/not-for-profit schools underperform. Just don't send your kid to those that aren't good!!

                            For-profit, privately owned schools can offer nothing -- nothing -- in the way of positive reform, that couldn't be achieved as reliably and practically as within the model of public, not-for-profit schools. Every perceived benefit of a for-profit school can be duplicated without private capital. For-profit schools carry all of the same risks as public schools, with all of the additional baggage of capitalism thrown in, including the single most serious shortcoming of capitalism (with respect to the goods produced, that is): The corporation's purpose is to make money, not educate your kids, and to the extent that they can dupe you, they absolutely will. At every turn, they will strive to deliver to you the absolute bare minimum that they can without losing you as a customer -- and they will feel good about doing it.

                            I think charter schools are fine and dandy: As long as they are public schools, owned by the public, accountable to the public, and with no mandate other than to do the best they can to teach the kids.

                            The corporate for-profit school model is nothing but an organized pillaging of the public's money, right on a par with privatizing Social Security (which would, under that circumstance, need to be renamed, since a private system would be neither social nor secure).

                            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                            by UntimelyRippd on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 04:05:09 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm wise enough to know that for-profit schools (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            maf1029

                            are a scam that will inevitably lead to McSchools staffed by semi-trained semi-skilled, owned by corporations whose CEOs rake in 10s of millions of dollars per year.

                            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                            by UntimelyRippd on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 03:54:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm not stupid, either. (8+ / 0-)
                    The grand master plan to End All Poverty will not pass Congress this year. Next year doesn't look good either.
                    You don't do your cause any favors by engaging in condescension.

                    Beware the man of one book.

                    by fiddler crabby on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 06:08:45 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Privitization is not reform (8+ / 0-)

                Obama: self-described moderate Republican

                by The Dead Man on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 06:57:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Comfortable unionized teachers? (5+ / 0-)

                Where exactly are you going to find any of them, these days?

                To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                by UntimelyRippd on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 07:21:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  The US spends HUGE dollars on education! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Victor Ward

              Here is the data from the 2006 OECD report (Table B-1).

              Per-student spending is US Dollars

              USA              13,447
              Switzerland      12,667
              Norway        11,487
              Austria         10,895
              Denmark       10,395
              Sweden        9,523
              Netherlands        9,330
              UK                9,309
              Japan                8,872
              Belgium        8,827
              Iceland        8,823
              Australia        8,678
              France        8,428
              Italy                8,263
              Ireland        8,092
              Finland        8,048

              I don't know where you get the data about the OECD outspending us.

              •  That report is higher education and K-12 (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                fiddler crabby, sandblaster

                Not just K-12.

                According to those numbers I was mistaken and the US isn't the worst, although I can't find any current information and I'm pretty sure things have changed since 2006. That's what I get for not checking my sources well enough.

                It seems like these stats should be more easily available in this day and age. Information super highway my ass.

              •  That certainly is a juicy pie for corporations (7+ / 0-)

                to dip into at cost+ rates.

                Obama: self-described moderate Republican

                by The Dead Man on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 06:58:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Yep, we sure do. (6+ / 0-)

                Of course, there's a big difference between the mean, the median, and the 25th percentile -- we spend a lot more on some kids than we do on others.

                And, as was noted elsewhere, these numbers include university education -- which is extraordinarily expensive in the US, and which also is, to a greater and greater degree, funded by the individuals, not the state.

                However, the real bottom line is this: A huge reason we spend so much on education is because unionized teachers generally receive superior health care benefits, and our health care costs are ludicrous. This is something that is hidden in the statistics. When those other countries calculate the amount they are spending on education, it doesn't include $20,000+ per teacher per year allocated for-profit healthcare, but only whatever rather more reasonable fraction of the typical teacher's salary is taxed away for regulated, price-controlled, universal health care.

                The solution offered by the for-profit schools industry is simple: Reduce teachers to the approximate economic status of convenience store associates. I suppose that is one solution, but the only real solution is to increase Medicare taxes (including applying them to unearned income) and funding Medicare for all, at which point we'll find out how much we're really spending on education in this country.

                To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                by UntimelyRippd on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 08:00:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  You're comparing nations which have a single, (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                SilentBrook, maf1029

                unifed national educational system, because they have populations of from 10 million to maybe 60 - 80 million, to the US which has about 3,500 different school districts in 50 different states, each of which has its own separate Department of Education.  It is not a fair comparison, because some districts probably spend more and some probably spend much less.  

                The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

                by helfenburg on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 04:01:43 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Charter advocacy propaganda is an illusion.... (10+ / 0-)

            ..it's a false choice. Until high stakes standardized testing is eliminated, children will still be outside the decision making processes central to the learning activities they engage in. That means children are still cogs on the test prep assembly line machine including well funded corporate/publicly funded charter schools.

            Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

            by semioticjim on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 05:12:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I call BS. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Victor Ward
              "Until high stakes standardized testing is eliminated, children will still be outside the decision making processes central to the learning activities they engage in."
              Prove it.

              Standardized tests ensure that the child is central to the decision-making process, because we test the child.

              - We don't measure how many degrees the teacher has.

              - We don't measure how popular the teacher is with the Principal.

              - We don't measure the length of the school day, wealth of the parents, or the child's race, color, nor creed.

              - We measure what the child actually knows.

              So if you think this is not child-centered, prove it. Link to some data, please.

              •  Saying this assumes that the tests (8+ / 0-)

                are appropriate for every child and are a good assessment of their learning skills. They aren't.

                We measure what the child actually knows.
                You measure? I see, so you work for a testing firm. Good to know.
              •  Does this mean what the child actually learned (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                vcmvo2, mrkvica, SilentBrook, maf1029
                We measure what the child actually knows.
                in the classroom of do you measure the test information that the teacher taught the child so he/she could keep their job?

                "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

                by gritsngumbo on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 06:32:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Standardized tests are crap. (8+ / 0-)

                I know, because I used to work on them.

                They do not test what a child knows in any adequate way.

                Testing companies create random questions that ask about a specific bit of learning, and those questions are plopped into a test to hit numbers decided in advance by state Education Departments and people at the testing companies -- who, by the way, aren't all that smart. One test might have four useful questions and six that are not, but if the numbers assigned to those questions add up to the target score, hey, that's what's on the test this year. Too bad if your class didn't cover that section yet -- it's on the state standards, that means the teacher taught it! Right?

                People cheat too, with documented incidents of school personnel changing student answers after the fact or "helping" students who aren't supposed to have accommodations. And why do they test kids who obviously aren't native English speakers in English and then count their scores? Why do they make Special Ed students take these tests and count their scores? It's as ridiculous as expecting 100% of students in this country to reach grade-level progress by 2014 when they spend so much time testing and preparing for testing that there isn't any actual time to teach! There have also been instances of states lowering the passing score because so few students were passing, it would have been a scandal to fail so many. If you can't win honestly, cheat, I guess. Quite the lesson for our students to learn.

                If all parents actually realized what's been on the tests their kids have been taking for years and years, and all the crap that goes on behind the scenes for money, money, money, they would have rebelled before now.

                Either you have no idea what is on those tests and how they are created, or you do, and you just won't admit how worthless they really are.

                "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

                by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 07:03:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Prove it? (6+ / 0-)

                Ah education policy by statisticians and politicians. The dream of those supposed “reformers” who are not burdened by experience or expertise.  Reducing everything and everybody to a number makes it so easy to paint schools and teachers as failing. Pick your statistic and repeat it over and over. What great talking points for the media. Heck, you can even play that game while posting here on Kos.
                 The truth is, of course, more complex than a simple test score, more complicated than data backed arguments about fourth graders by statisticians and researchers who wouldn’t know a fourth grader if they fell over one.  
                Your faith in standardized testing speaks volumes.  

              •  Prove to me... (5+ / 0-)

                ...that standardized testing is good for America. Last time I checked, after 30 years of standardized education and 12 years of high stakes testing, 26% of children in America are living in poverty, gap between rich and poor is the largest it has ever been, US wages have stagnated while productivity has dramatically increased and creative learning opportunities in our schools is on the decline.

                Standardized tests ensure that the child is central to the decision-making process, because we test the child.
                ManhattanMan this statement reveals a deficit in your understanding of what it takes to optimize learning experience for a group of heterogeneous learners.

                It also reveals you are an advocate for corporate test publishing companies or other corporate interests related to corporate education rephorm.

                Children are not in control of their educational experiences when testing companies dictate to them what they will learn, how they will learn it and when they will learn it. Problem is...children learn at different rates and in different modalities.

                 What you are prescribing is Pavlovian Behaviorism for other peoples children.

                Bad, bad, bad...

                You disrespect teachers who work in incredibly difficult circumstances.

                Here is your data...I've got a ton more.

                I have observed thousands of children who are not motivated to experience or participate in standardized learning experience and do not take their tests seriously.

                Then their are other children who are driven to tears because they do not deal with the stress caused by your damned tests, many of whom end up hating school and end up dropping out.

                We know their is a concerted effort to destroy public education in America by those who profit from standardized testing.

                I consider you as one who is aligned with the corporate rheeform movement.

                Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

                by semioticjim on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 09:34:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  He probably isn't just aligned with them, he's (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  semioticjim, SilentBrook, maf1029

                  probably employed by them.  He's definitely not an educator, however.  Never misses an opportunity to push charters in these diaries being the upper-middle class, privileged guy and all that kind of thing that he always makes sure everyone knows...

                  If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

                  by livjack on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 07:34:02 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  We don't know what the tests test because (5+ / 0-)

                their contents are secret and the students who take them and the teachers who adminster them are sworn not to discuss their contents.  Teachers discuss them at the risk of losing their jobs per the test security agreements they are made to sign.

                Go into  a school and observe what goes on.  You don't know.

                The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

                by helfenburg on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 04:04:15 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  That increased funding goes mostly (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, semioticjim

            to educate kids who need specialized teaching methods for their educations.  (Note I'm not using the term special ed.)  It's not intended to go to the average students.

            Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one.--Sam Rayburn

            by Ice Blue on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 05:35:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  There's no such thing as "public schools". There (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SilentBrook, maf1029

            are over 3,000 school districts in the U.S. and they are all quite different, so it's just not legitimate in the first place to talk about "public schools" as if they constitute a uniform monolith.  

            And what is their "failure"?

            The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

            by helfenburg on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 03:42:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Name 1. (0+ / 0-)

            Take your time.

        •  Here in Ohio (24+ / 0-)

          The GOP has been experimenting with charter schools for over a decade.  The evidence here was clear - charter schools don't provide an improvement over public schools.

          In fact, the biggest player in the system, White Hat Management, has turned out to be very, very corrupt

          Link

          There are big profits in charter schools, but not much quality.  The schools are underfunded, buildings falling down, teachers unqualified and underpaid and the results show they're no better.

          Link

          It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

          by Betty Pinson on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 03:08:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  ManhattanMan's Profile (9+ / 0-)
        Former Wall Streeter.

        Now works in education...some may think this implies a "vested interest" in educational policy, so it's disclosed here.

        Forgive me, but "works in education" activates my weasel word sensor. What work do you do in education, if I may be so bold to ask?

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 05:01:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I mostly agree (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, lurkyloo, semioticjim, SilentBrook

        I find it to be very common for middle class and rich people to be outraged about something horrific but the fix they go for tends to only make them feel better rather than actually helping the poor.

        My only issue with your logic is that if poor parents do not know to navigate the public school system, how are they going to navigate the charter system to find a good one? What is the difference between getting your kid into a public magnet school and a good charter school?

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 06:04:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Can you show us that charters are better. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SilentBrook, maf1029

        Of course, after the public schools have been bashed for decades, people are going to believe that a charter is going to do a lot better for their children.  But do they?  From what I read, there's absolutely no proof of that.  But people just continue to believe.... it's a faith-based education.

        The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

        by helfenburg on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 03:40:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's people like Rahm Emanuel... (25+ / 0-)

    ...who give Democrats a bad name. I have nothing but contempt for him, and you described one of the reasons why.

    Polls don't vote, statistics don't vote, history doesn't vote, yard signs don't vote...PEOPLE VOTE!!!

    by DownstateDemocrat on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 12:44:46 PM PDT

    •  His actions as a Congressman, head of the (4+ / 0-)

      DNCC and as PBO's Chief of Staff should have given you some idea of the kind of mayor he would be. Hes a jerk, plain and simple. He's the primary reason we HAD so many Blue Dog Democrats.

      "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

      by gritsngumbo on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 06:26:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You mean that he was the reason (0+ / 0-)

        We had a Democratic House of Representatives for the time he was running the DNCC?

        •  Notice what happened to that while he was (7+ / 0-)

          Chief of Staff?

          And then:

          While chairman of the DCCC, Emanuel was known to have had disagreements over Democratic election strategy with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. Dean favored a "fifty-state strategy", building support for the Democratic Party over the long term, while Emanuel believed a more tactical approach, focusing attention on key districts, was necessary to ensure victory.
          ...
          ...
          In 2010, Emanuel was reported to have conflicts with other senior members of the president's team and ideological clashes over policy. He was also the focal point of criticism from left-leaning Democrats for the administration's perceived move to the center. By September 2010, with the Democrats anticipating heavy losses in midterm elections, this was said to precipitate Emanuel's departure as Chief of Staff.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 08:27:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, but did you notice that too many (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          maf1029

          were Blue Dogs and voted with the other side most of the time?

          "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

          by gritsngumbo on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 02:56:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  With all the crap he did (5+ / 0-)

      As COS and calling libarals retards, I was surprised people voted for him.
      I don't live in Chicago, but I knew he was for CS.
      He was the protege of Duncan.
      Nothing he does surprises me.
      I feel horrible for those teachers that might lose their jobs.
      They don't go in to teaching for the money.
      They do it cuz they love it.
      Imo.

      Gitmo is a Concentration Camp. Not a Detention Center. Torture happens at Concentration Camps. Torture happens at Gitmo. How much further will US values fall? Where is YOUR outrage at what the United States does in OUR names?

      by snoopydawg on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 07:26:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  links (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, semioticjim, Ice Blue, mrkvica

    all my links didn't post. will do it later after i get the kids from school if people are interested. go to fred klonsky, mike klonsky, cps chatter, raise your hand, catalyst

  •  Rahm wants to get richer on for profit schools (21+ / 0-)

    From what I've read, Rahm has friends and supporters in the hedge fund business who are primed to expand their investments in corporate run charter schools.  It's the next big investment opportunity if you can influence a mayor like Rahm to help break the public school system.

    More info here

    Wall Street Hearts Charter Schools, Gets Rich Off Them

    Charter school businesses and the hedge fund managers who lend money to them get New Market tax credits from the federal government, a 39% tax credit

    What happens is the investors who put up the money to build charter schools get to basically or virtually double their money in seven years through a thirty-nine percent tax credit from the federal government. In addition, this is a tax credit on money that they’re lending, so they’re also collecting interest on the loans as well as getting the thirty-nine percent tax credit. They piggy-back the tax credit on other kinds of federal tax credits like historic preservation or job creation or brownfields credits.

    The result is, you can put in ten million dollars and in seven years double your money.

    That's why Rahm is getting rid of public schools in Chicago and replacing them with charter schools - its where the money is.

    It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

    by Betty Pinson on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 12:53:00 PM PDT

  •  I share your anger. (26+ / 0-)

    I am retired and in Wisconsin now, but I taught in the Chicago schools for years.  Before that, I attended them until I went to he University of Illinois.  My three daughters did pretty much the same.  And what stands out in my mind are all the dedicated and hard working teachers who gave so much to their students.  The other thing that stands out are recurring problems caused by  bad administrators, including many principals along with the higher ups.

    Although my own schools, while growing up, were considered good ones, the schools my children attended and ones where I taught were in poorer areas with lots of disruptive gang activity, much like similar schools today.  Still, the teachers were as good as those who had taught me, and when the schools had principals who were supportive of teachers and who kept order, the kids who attended regularly and tried did well, even if overall scores were hurt by the scores of kids with lots of social and poverty problems and usually poor attendance.  

    But then as now so many decisions were based on calculations of how many dollars per student in attendance.  So, for instance, in October there was always  a dreaded headcount of classroom sizes, which typically resulted in class closings and students being transferred to other teachers to replace those pushed out or into the pool of substitutes.  What could be more disruptive than starting the school year over again after a month?

    The most damaging changes that I experienced came with the orders to synchronize teaching activities within departments, to the point of scripting lessons in some cases. All creativity was killed as, at the same time, the focus changed to test scores.  Everybody was told what to do, almost minute by minute, and exactly what to cover, never mind that some of the students needed lots of extra help just to read and write.  Anything that didn't apply directly to vocabulary or reading was minimized or cut altogether.

    I left when Paul Vallas was in charge, specifically because I was switched to another teacher's schedule by an autocratic principal annoyed at me and the other teacher because we accurately recorded poor attendance and grades rather than making the school look better, as his favorites did.  I took a chemistry schedule, and the other teacher took my biology and environmental science schedule.  We both quit after giving it a few weeks because we didn't feel prepared to teach the other subjects, although we had years before taken enough coursework in them. When I had come to the school I had told the principal I could not teach chemistry because I had not done well in the courses I took decades before. The principal knew where we could teach effectively and instead chose to punish us.  I wish I could say he was an unusually bad administrator, but I worked for more like him than for the good kind.  My best years, however, were in schools where the principals were outstanding.

    Under Vallas, when all the current craziness started, detailed and time-consuming documentation of each classroom skill or topic taught led to universal dishonesty.  We had two different and sometimes not even overlapping sets of goals and material to cover, and for each of them we had to record what was accomplished daily.  The Chicago version, which was very different from the state version, was semi-scripted and went with texts and materials which we didn't have, so we actually could not comply but had to pretend we were working on it.  The state version was at a level beyond the students, but again, we had to make an effort to cover the material and document it, even though we knew the students needed more time and individual attention to help them comprehend.  So I'd cover things like the chemistry of DNA at a clip impossible for the students, because that was what I was commanded to do and document, but at the same time I would be trying to figure out ways poor readers with bad attendance could get some benefit and learn some important basics.

    What seems the same then as now is that the teachers were not allowed to do what they were trained to do. The administrators were aiming for a certain product at a certain cost, and the teachers were trying to get students interested in learning and thinking and communicating.  The teachers were wanting students to enjoy learning, even if they grumbled about it, and the administrators just wanted better test results, which ironically had a better chance of happening if teachers were free to try creative strategies.

    It is so sad to see that teachers and students are still suffering from bad administrative decisions, not just in terms of the education that is not happening but in terms of all the consequences in their lives.

  •  It ain't over yet. (19+ / 0-)

    Rahm may think he knows the shitstorm that awaits him. But I think it's going to bigger and more powerful than he can even imagine.

  •  Rahm wasn't paying attention to Adrien Fenty's lot (14+ / 0-)

    was he?

    Things didn't not end well for Fenty, who hitched his wagon to Michelle Rhee's star.  One poorly negotiated contract and several school closings later, DC schools still struggle in all but the most affluent neighborhoods.

    The funny thing is that we intentionally give the Mayor control to appoint a superintendent in order to ensure a single point of accountability.  But does it ever occur to these mayors that the schools are another tool in their toolbelt to reach out to communities?

    Perhaps community building isn't on their agenda.  That darling of the left, Dennis Kucinich, when he was Mayor of Cleveland, let all of the Community Development Organizations die out.  Funding was cut.  He had no interest in them.  This is one of the reasons why his support eroded when he took on the big utilities who were trying to raid Cleveland's infrastructure at the time.  He undercut his power base.

    If you stop looking at schools as factories into which children walk in and educated students walk out, you may begin to see the school as a neighborhood resource--which is what it is.   The focus changes.  What can we do for parents?  What can parents do for each other?  What can the school do for the community and vice versa? How can teachers and counselors facilitate this?  Are there business people, retirees, graduates, other volunteers who can supplement our scarce resources?

    We have contracted out the education of our children, a task that used to belong to the community and involved a community resource.   It is when we divorce schools from the communities they serve (and nothing does this better than a magnet elementary school) that everything begins to break down.

  •  Why aren't the kids (0+ / 0-)

    being bused or whatever to your safe school? Or are they?

  •  You are on the receiving end of.... (9+ / 0-)

    ...a policy that has been in place since Reagan: Kill the public schools, kill public everything.  This will never be fixed. I think they are winning.

    If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

    by Bensdad on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 04:25:46 PM PDT

  •  What a great diary! (12+ / 0-)

    I've been seething all afternoon. My son is out of high school now but it's obvious that the school building/land grab is on.  Otherwise why would a school just a few blocks from here, one of the few on the north side, be singled out, when the building was extensively repaired, with new roofing, parapets, tuckpointing, etc. just within the last year or so?  It's a school that reportedly had lots of special ed classrooms.  My son was at a different school where he was able to be in a small self-contained classroom for four of his grade school years, and without that, he probably wouldn't have later finished high school.  Really the news media here are AWOL in describing the issue of the 'ideal' classroom size that the new plan establishes--36 being most 'efficient', while 30 being ok.  These SPED classes that really help kids are much smaller. The other school  nearby that is being closed is quite small but even that got a brand new playground recently.  Ironically it's on the same block as the mayor's house.  I suppose that can be turned into a playground for condo owners.....even though CPD denies that's how they will dispose of school buildings.  

    •  Updating what's above (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KikiK, SilentBrook, maf1029

      Found out that the small school on Rahm's block, which had become a magnet school (entrance by lottery) that is in a building that doesn't have amenities like a gym that isn't also a lunchroom, so 200+ kids will be moved to the 'failing' school that had all the nice repair work done, that has enrollment of about 450+.  So: The small school technically isn't being closed although the building will be, and evidently a developer has already submitted a plan to convert the building to condos.  The small school's administration will now be in charge of the entire population that will be housed in the larger school, and evidently all the larger school's teachers will be fired and have to reapply for their jobs. Thus the larger school is being 'closed'.  Got that?  That's how 'reform' works here.  

  •  You're obviously very educated and informed. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Victor Ward

    But the census showed the city losing 200,000 people over the last decade.

    Why wouldn't that have an effect on the number of schools?

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 06:26:58 PM PDT

  •  Can We End The Myth That Schools Are Failing? (13+ / 0-)

    Yes, I totally get that there are some failing schools, and if your kid is in one of them, it doesn't matter if every other school in the country is doing splendidly.

    Totally. get. it.

    But we are busy gutting public education and making policy decisions with far reaching consequences based on our attempts at solving a problem which largely doesn't exist.

    Schools, by and large, are doing Better than ever before. The fact that so many of us don't believe that is proof that the right wing propaganda/privatization machine has done an amazing disinformation campaign.

    For more on this, I'll direct you to this very excellent summary of the reality of the, "Crisis," in our schools
    http://www.motherjones.com/...
    If I'm not allowed to link to it, please let me know. I'm a relative newbie.

    Again, we desperately need to fix troubled schools, but what we Don't need to do is chop the legs out from under good schools already working miracles on limited budgets.

    And, op, I'm sorry for dragging this off topic, but it's two cents I've been meaning to chuck in for a while now. Apologies if it's unwelcome.
    Thank you for your diary.

    •  Nice link. It's going in my bookmark arsenal, for (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrkvica, SilentBrook, maf1029

      use when education trolls bent on destroying public education show up.

    •  This is so true. I went to public schools in the (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ydice, anastasia p, SilentBrook, maf1029

      50s, 60s and 70s and have several advanced degrees and a B.A. cum laude from a Seven Sisters college and I'm a teacher.  The schools in many districts today are far, far better than they were when I was a student.   But again we are talking about 3500 different districts in 50 different states as if there is one "education system" in the US and there is not.

      I taught in public schools in a small central European nation that has a population of 10 million people and a single, unified national school system.  They don't have the ethnic, language and economic diversity that exists in this country.  You cannot compare them to us.

      The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

      by helfenburg on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 04:15:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So true. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SilentBrook, maf1029

      In Ohio, contrary to popular belief, there were last year only six school systems in academic watch (none in academic emergency; the only schools is academic emergency were, ahead, CHARTERS — for-profit charters which should be outlawed). All are in a poor urban areas.

      Last year, our gov. proposed a plan to expand vouchers to families making nearly six figures and to every school system in the state, not just ones that were doing poorly. This plan would have entirely defunded the state revenue for a swath of excellent, upper-middle class school systems if only a few kids chose to take the money and go to private school. That is why it failed — those relatively wealthy people living in topnotch districts just lost it and shot it down.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 08:19:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think I may be sicker than you. (5+ / 0-)

    I am a neighborhood school parent. Sure, it's one of the best neighborhood schools in Chicago. But it's still a neighborhood school. And it's severely overcrowded.

    Why? People WANT to avoid the stress of the magnet craziness. They want to know their neighbors. That is true of parents north and south. And we all deserve good schools. Rahm doesn't understand that it's neighborhood schools that keep neighborhoods strong.

    As a neighborhood school parent, I know what our school means to me. I know that it is the thing that binds me to my neighbors. It makes this big city feel small and close-knit. I know who will help pick up my kids from school. I know who will walk to school with them -- almost a mile.

    And because of that, I can imagine how it would feel to lose that anchor to community. I can imagine how it would feel to be torn apart from my neighbors or to have to walk (or otherwise) get to school even further away. I know the impact that has on tardiness and even absences.

    This is an extremely sad -- and sickening -- day for Chicago and I wish EVERYONE would wake up and see it. I wish that those who think they are "safe" from harm by being in the magnet or selective enrollment schools would all be as supportive and aware as the diarist.

    Today was also a day when many parents were getting their magnet school letters. On a popular CPS blog, one group of parents was congratulating each other on a thread about who got into what "safe" school, all while overwhelmingly poor neighborhood schools were being devastated. It made me ill to read them basking in their good fortune and tuning in to the tragedy occurring around them like someone watching tsunami coverage on CNN. "Thank God it's not me."

    I will be out of town on Wednesday, but now I plan on leaving early and being home in time to attend the rally. I am just as "lucky" as the diarist for having the means to be in a good neighborhood school. And it's my duty to support my fellow neighborhood school parents.

    IF anyone has the means to help in the fight, please do.

    •  Everything you say is true (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ydice, SilentBrook, maf1029

      I still know people I grew up with, friends of my parents (including my mom's best friend who died last week in Hyde Park at the age of 91), whom we got to know in our community through attending the same neighborhood public school. My mom and her friends were active in PTA. My mother was president of the PTA in both my grade school and high school. We held big fourth of July bashed in our backyard and everyone lived within walking distance. We were a COMMUNITY because of our school. My best friend lived on the next block, kitty-corner from is.

      This same tragedy has been occurring here in Cleveland (which is where Barbara Byrd-Bennett was kind of chased out of). Kids go to schools far from their home where they're anonymous. No one is neighbors. One of the biggest issues teachers I know have is parental involvement. This makes that an even more daunting prospect. Poor parents are already coping with so much. Making a long trek to their kid's school to do anything often isn't in the cards.

      This move is destructive and tragic on every level.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 08:25:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Recall Rahm (5+ / 0-)

    Fuck him that fuckin dickhead. I hope he skiis into a fuckin tree.

  •  It's not politics, it's privatization (6+ / 0-)

    this is just the kabuki before "something must be done" "for the children."

    Amazing how a Democrat can do such a thing.

    Obama: self-described moderate Republican

    by The Dead Man on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 06:52:42 PM PDT

  •  Abrasive, condescending ass.... (8+ / 0-)
    Rahm's proven no better than his predecessors. Worse in fact because as much of a wheeler-dealer Daley was, at least he was a likeable sort of guy and you felt it that he liked the city and was working to ultimately do good by it.
    Absolutely.  Daley was a typical Chicago mayor, but he was a Chicagoan through and through.  He also came across as a regular type of guy (whether he is or not can be discussed in another post...Daley did privatise city assets, like the Skyway and the parking meters, which was bullshit).  Daley never had any other career aspirations other than being mayor.

    Rahm is an abrasive, arrogant DC guy who really doesn't like being mayor and having to hang around the "peasants" (as he sees them).  He would prefer to be in DC telling liberals to go to hell and sucking up to Republicans.  

  •  The end of high stakes testing is not a long shot, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook, maf1029

    in my opinion, because it makes no sense at all. There's no legitimate reason to do the testing and make important decisions on the basis of one flawed test.  It will come to an end because it doesn't improve education for anyone, wastes lots of time and money and once the political crowd that promoted it and made their careers out of it moves on, someone will say why are we wasting so much time and money on these tests?  Let's stop doing that.  Meanwhile, time and money will be wasted, nerves frayed, etc.  Oh and by the way, the scores of the students who've been tested will live forever in the databases of public education -- kind of a silent testament to the folly of high stakes testing.

    The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

    by helfenburg on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 03:38:33 AM PDT

  •  For profit schools and vouchers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burlydee, SilentBrook, maf1029

    At the moment we are being offered vouchers for these schools as incentive to leave the public school system. If/When the powers trying to dismantle our public education actually manage to do so...does anyone actually believe that those vouchers will remain enough to cover the education for your child? For profit means squeezing as much "revenue" out of the populace as they can bear and sometimes more than they actually can. There is no doubt in my mind that costs will go beyond vouchers. At that point will even basic education become only available to those who can afford it because it will no longer be in the hands of the government/public or will we have to start taking out loans for elementary school?

    •  Education is a public good. Private enterprise has (5+ / 0-)

      no place in it, and anyone promoting the privatization of education should be publicly flogged as an example to those who would destroy a shared public resource for the benefit of the few.

    •  Vouchers don't cover much now (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SilentBrook

      If we move to all vouchers, rich kids can get a fraction of their private school coverage paid by taxpayers while chains of for-profiit McSchools will spring up to warehouse the rest. Parochial schools cannot absorb them all, although they will take up many, which infuriates me because I do not want my taxes going to support a religious group I don't belong to. There is no way to have a voucher system that adequately funds everyone; to try would require taxes to increase multifold. Our governor proposed one of those "Help rich kids go to private school" voucher expansions about a year ago and it was a disaster because the propaganda about our supposedly universally failing schools is lie — the school systems in all of the upper-middle class suburbs are excellent and parents DON'T want them destroyed to send a small fraction of the kids in those towns to expensive private schools.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 08:15:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The best and the worst (0+ / 0-)

    Chicago public schools has some of the best schools in the state. And some of the worst

    And are the closing any of the best schools? Because if not, then this doesn't sound like a big deal. As long as the process is concentrated on closing the worst schools, then this is probably a good idea, considering the budget constraints and falling enrollments.

  •  The real problem in American education... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anastasia p, maf1029

    ...is poverty. Always was, and still is.

    Standardized testing is a big corporate ruse and an abomination to children's natural pathways to intellectual and creative growth.

    Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

    by semioticjim on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 07:14:04 AM PDT

  •  Who's going to defeat Rahm? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook

    You write that he won't be reelected but unless Toni Preckwinkle decides to challenge him, I don't see who could knock Rahm off his perch.

  •  Why.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook

    ....in Chicago and the rest of the US, are we closing schools and packing jails?

    Then dehumanizing educational experience through standardization, rewards and punishments?

    Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

    by semioticjim on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 10:36:02 AM PDT

  •  This is the future of public education (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    semioticjim, SilentBrook

    as envisioned decades ago by the conservative think tanks. It will only get worse.

  •  You want to know how... (0+ / 0-)

    ...the corporate education reform vampires got there hooks into public education in Indiana?Here it is....

    Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

    by semioticjim on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 01:39:11 PM PDT

  •  Just wondering if the Chicago closings are a scam (0+ / 0-)

    It's possible they're a set-up for a big state owned education real estate grab.

    About half the profits earned in charter school scams comes from buying old education real estate on the cheap and leasing it at extremely high prices to the charter school corporations.

    It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

    by Betty Pinson on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 05:47:23 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site