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The race for City Hall

Jobs and schools promise to be top issues in next year’s city elections. The mayor’s education agenda faces its toughest test in the African-American communities that gave him strong support in 2011.

School closing, turnaround lawsuit dismissed

In a victory for CPS, a judge has dismissed for the second time a lawsuit filed by parents who sought to stop school closings and turnarounds.

The suit claimed that CPS did not provide adequate support to schools slated for closure and turnaround while they were on probation, resulting in a disproportionate impact on African-American students.

“This ruling is a win for students and families across the district. For too long, CPS has accepted a status quo that has failed its students year after year,” the district said in a statement. “With almost one out of two students not graduating high school, and only 7.9 percent of our 11th-graders testing college ready, it would be an injustice to wait another day to give our students access to the quality education they deserve.”

Michael Persoon, an attorney who represented parents in the case, said it’s too soon to say whether the case might be re-filed or the ruling appealed.

Judge Michael Hyman wrote in an opinion issued this afternoon that “this court understands the frustration of the students, their parents, the Local School Councils, the neighborhoods, and the teachers at the manifest failure of the 10 public schools in this lawsuit.”

But, he wrote, “this court has neither the discretion to second-guess nor the authority to prevent the Board of Education from moving ahead with its previously approved plans for the 10 schools … The power to make decisions on dysfunctional schools is placed squarely on the Board, with minimum interference permitted after these immensely consequential decisions are made.”


Anonymous wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago


The court really wanted to say

“this court has neither the discretion to second-guess nor the authority to prevent the Rahm from moving ahead with its previously approved plans for the 10 schools … The power to make decisions on dysfunctional schools is placed squarely on the Rahm, with minimum interference permitted after these immensely consequential decisions are made.”

United we stand wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

This court is asleep at the wheel

It is decisions like these that makes our work that much harder. The fact that now the CBOE has a license to kill at will, makes me more determined than ever to fight for our children.

No Rahm, you are not going to win. You are not going to produce slaves out of the children of Chicago or elsewhere.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

court said

Our courts have FAILED THE parents they have told them.....

We are going to let ONE man (rahm) control the BUDGET and OPERATION and CURRICULUM a school district with a student and staff population that rivals the state of Wyoming. We will allow him to appoint a puppet Board (no explanation needed) to continue a Status Quo Government that has failed the students for at least 10 years. He can hire Staff with no certification, but force teachers to have certification when he finds it convenient!

He can give waivers and moving fees to Top Brass who have no education experience, yet allow children to breathe asbestos and have leaking roofs.

We will also allow a district that has had 4 different CEOs in 5 years and an infinite amount of "experts" who have come and gone! Most NOT FROM CHICAGO!

How can this be? CPS is ALSO funded by state and Federal Sources,,,,yet ONE man can control it all? What other person has this much power? He talks about Children and Parents first....but its all a LIE.....he doesn’t listen to teachers, children, just his HUGE EGO!!!!

He is a dictator in every sense of the word when it comes to CPS. He has a budget that rivals some small and poor countries. He didn’t even pay Chicago Taxes while he was resume padding in Washington (don’t count his house because I am sure he charged his tenant enough to cover his taxes this doesn’t count). This makes him a Carpet Bagger???

If he gets revoted…it will be a bigger blow to Democracy than Scott Walker and the fixed elections of the Mideast!! At least the Mideast leaders (though corrupt) where citizens and lived in the country!!

Avenger wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

I hate to agree.......BUT

Hmmm. OK. some of the schools on the closing list rightfully deserve to be closed. I have had the opportunity to visit a few of the schools and I must say they are downright horrible. It would take 4-5 years just to get them back on track. One school in particular, Fuller Elementary, should go down in history as the absolute worst. There's no way keeping that school open would accomplish anything. The staff is tired and not motivated. The kids run everything from the main office to the classrooms. And the state scores have been consistently low for 5 years. Unfortunnately that's almost the same for others on the list. Principals are too afraid to suspend kids so they stay in the classroom and disrupt others. Kids with horrible attendance should be referred to the truancy department for a adjudication hearing. But no!! they continue to bring down the scores of the entire body when they show up for ISAT and know absolutley nothing. Old school teachers who have no desire to fall in line or change their teacheing style to something new and innovative are allowed to stay in place and teach with no enthusiasm. I could go on and on, but what's the use?? Let's move on. You can't win them all.

Rosita Chatonda wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Mr. Avenger, I'd like to call you Jonny Come Lately!

For over 50 years CPS has been not only negligent but slubbern in it's response to "at- risk schools'. They certainly didn't get this way overnight. Teachers working in these environments should collectively sue CPS for the horrific conditions that they had to work in. The psychological, verbal and in some cases physical abuse that teachers have endured as punching bags in these "so called schools" are unspeakable. The environmental conditions in these schools are akin to none other than an educational holocaust. As teachers struggled to maintain some simblence of normalcy, they were constantly drained of every ounce of strength they had while being attacked by administration, parents students and in some cases co-workers. (To get brownie points from their principals) .
While the "Big Whigs" at central office , ( by the way most were cowardly men) visited and observed the environments, they went back their air conditioned offices and left these female teachers to deal with some of the most dangerous and mean spirited children in the City of Chicago.
(The children are also victims in this situation and they know it. That's why they are so angry)
This is the truth and nothing but the truth. The cowardly administrators at CPS then had the nerve to blame these once bright and energetic teachers who had at one time every reason to believe that they were going to work as professionals> However, the entire educational infrastructure was purposely pulled fro under them due CPS's inability to value this particular student population. Now they have been blamed for CPS's neglect.

Since the privatization of schools has taken place they have decided to come in and fire them and throw them out like trash. For the purposes of financial gain and gentrification of the area, these teachers are being sacrificed.

These are human beings who worked and went to college and paid the cost , got certified, re certified, have masters and PHD's only to be treated less than "The Help".

There's only one thing I can say and that is, God Help you all for the viciousness and evil that you have perpetrated upon these good kind hearted people. SHAME ON YOU!

Rosita Chatonda wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

PLEASE Forgive the Typos Johnny - My mouse is sticking!

Please forgive the errors, I would not want you to think I can't spell!

George N. Schmidt wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Another victory for eugenics, racism, and "Race to the Top"

The judge's decision, while odious, simply reflects that fact that the courts, along with most of those in power, supports the test-based version of reality, not matter how much it is odiously biased against the poor. This is the fundamental debate that has been going on since the ruling class began working overtime to force a single indicator for child and student "success" or "failure" on the world of education more than a quarter century ago. And, fundamentally, all of these test-based measures, because of the manner in which the tests themselves are developed, are inherently as biased as the IQ tests that have been discredited for a half century or more.

The shame is not on the judge who ruled based on the conventional wisdom, but on a state (Illinois) and city (Chicago) which allows this method of keeping score to continue. The origins of these monsters in the American midwest go back to the most racist (and Anti-Semitic) days of the early 20th Century, and haven't really changed much since. The ruling class keeps dusting off their efforts, and thanks to the immense financial power of the plutocracy in the current era, they have been getting away with it.

Teachers, parents and students need to really go "outside the box" and stop pleading on the basis of test scores about whether their school (or child) should be screwed. Since Mayoral Control began under Paul Vallas and Gery Chico 17 years ago, the test hasn't mattered (and Chicago has gone through a dozen iterations of various testings). What matters is that they get the majority of people to accept their right to keep score, in a matrix that has a "top" and a "bottom." And, as we have seen again, those at the "bottom" are still braiding the nooses that that ruling class is using to lynch them by accepting the existence of that matrix, rather than demanding that it be abolished completely, because it's as biased as the old racial categorizations of success.

I just re-read Stephen Jay Gould's "The Mismeasurement of Man" and the insights in that book are as applicable today as our side's first refutations of all of those eugenics-based monstrosities (beginning with the Army test during World War I) have always been. The strength of those mythological realities in 2012, sadly, is evident from both "sides" of this court debate. "Our" side (against the closing etc.) says "We're doing better..." and the other side says, "Not good enough..."

Braiding the noose a different way won't end lynchings.

Chicago dad wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Spot on Rosita!

Keep hitting it out of the park like that and you'll be bankrupt from the cost of the broken windows on Ashland Ave.! Same thing for the Anon. writer of court said.

Chicago dad wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

George always

breaks glass on Ashland! But I guess we'll all have to go down to Comisky thanks to that Rickets stench. Yes, Comisky. Screw the corporate name thieves.

George N. Schmidt wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Real baseball and Sim realities...

In these early years of the Reign of Rahm, there will be a lot of learning as Sim Reality crashes into the real things. Baseball in Chicago is one of those. That team that plays a mile from Rahm's house is an example of a kind of virtual reality, while most of the city prefers the real thing (although our mayor will remain forever challenged in that).

Our little ones (Sam, no ten; Josh, now seven) are fans. (Danny's now in California doing computer work after a successful career at Whitney Young in baseball and academics on — Oh How Did We Do It!!! — the shorted school day is the universe; if you don't believe us, just ask Rahm's scriptwriters...).

Sam, Josh, some friends and I went to Wrigley Field once (the tickets were free) and vowed never to go back. In addition to the uncomfortable seats, the Yuppy drunks on their cell phones, and the terrible baseball, when we left Sam had to use the washroom.

"Dad, that's the grossest thing I've ever seen..." he emerged repeating after having sampled that quaint 19th Century tradition for male peeing.

At Sox Park (Charlie Comisky was not exactly a labor friendly guy, but OK if you insist because of some traditions; to "Cellular..." stuff though) once the kids are a certain age, they can prowl with their friends and the place is safe and happy for them. We usually get our seats near the Sox bullpen so the kids can watch the players close up. In April they were watching Chris Sale and knew we were in for something special if he (a) could regularly find the strike zone and (b) stayed "healthy" (for a pitcher that's always a modified reality...).

That's enough for a Spring morning. And as our friend Sarah Loftus pointed out, Sox Park was not ready to allow Rahm to do his May 23 publicity stunt, either. (I reported that at substance a week ago, so it's old news). The next real fun will be during the July "Teacher Appreciation Day" (granted, it's not like the old teacher days, but still fun; Bank of America proved what jerks they were when they cancelled their participation after eating LaSalle Bank...) and then we have two nights in September. That should be really something.

Rosita Chatonda wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Spotlight on Chicago Dad

Chicago Dad, I worked for CPS for many years and watched injustice and inequity in our schools that resemble a system of "Educational Apartheid", as Reverend Jackson would say. As teachers we funded our under-resourced schools while selective enrollment schools got money. We didn't complain and did the best we could to help our students. In 2001 when they came in to close our school we were fall fired and charged with not complaining enough to let CPS know something was wrong. The same thing happened to the next school I worked and we were closed after inheriting every stanine 2 in South Chicago and raising the scores from 18% to 65% in four years. That didn't matter our school became a charter. Then I worked as a Lead Math Science Lead teacher and when we got the school off probation it closed our positions. I could go on and on and on. I remember certifying, re-certifying again and again. When teachers could pass the certification test , they fired them all. veteran teachers survived, when they were asked to re-certify and many didn't or couldn't veteran teachers survived. When they asked for endorsements teachers got endorsed and they survived. Then they had to re-certfy again and these same teachers that Mr. Avenger is talkiing about have survived an attempt to purge them from the system for over 20 years. The have never been welcomed and treated with any measure of dignity aqnd respect by CPS. As you should know, people always talk their stuff to to who they perceive as the weakest target. because of that, many have been vilified and demonized by EVERYONE, even those who were supposed to protect their rights.

Now if you want me to be a "nicey nicey" girl, I can I know how. I prefer to Stand My Ground on behalf of al those who are being abused as we speak in classrooms across the city. So if I hit a few balls out of the park and it breaks some glass, I'll be the first to say how proud I am that I woke someone up to this travesty that has taken place i Chicago. What hatred indifference and apathy has cost the students and teachers of Chicago, is the loss of 12,000 African American teachers. Who by the way, 30 year old AA principals are having a great time now giving them e-3's. It's cost us 50,000 AA students and 200,000 AA residents. I realize I am alone on this issue and that no one really cares. However, I will continue to raise my voice on this. Sorry if you think I am speaking out too strongly on this. I've been on the inside of these racist educational institutions in Chicago, so I see it from a different vantage point.

Chicago dad wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

I agree with everything you say.

Considering the evil motivations and abject disregard for the facts about our schools that are behind the attack on teachers and public education itself, it is not possible to be too loud or ferocious in defense of them and the children they serve. Continue to raise your voice in righteous indignation as you speak the truth to power. What we are seeing happen to teachers and education in America is even worse than the disrespect our vets returning from Vietnam faced, perpetrated by a patriarchy of vulture edu-preneurs and ideologs who don't give a dead rats ass about any but themselves. This is what we're up against. Educating and informing parents and "taxpayers" is our best hope for fighting back. I wear red every Friday.

Rosita Chatonda wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Thank You Chicago Dad

Believe it or not, I used to be a very quiet person. Like most teachers, I tried to follow the rules. When I saw how the people who make the rules are crooks and criminals, I decided to error on the side of righteousness.

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