HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Chicago to Shutter 50 Pub...

Wed May 29, 2013, 07:52 AM

Chicago to Shutter 50 Public Schools: Is Historic Mass Closure An Experiment in Privatization?


from Democracy Now!:




As the academic year winds down, a record number of Chicago schools are preparing to close their doors for good in the largest mass school closing ever in one U.S. city. Last week, the Chicago Board of Education voted to close 50 of the city’s public schools in a move that will impact some 30,000 students, around 90 percent of them African American. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has pushed for the closures in order to save the city more than $500 billion, half of its deficit. "Rahm Emanuel actually does not have an educational plan, he has an economic development plan," says our guest Diane Ravitch, who served as the assistant secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush. Proponents say the closures will hit schools that are both underperforming and underutilized. But a vocal coalition of parents, teachers and students has fought back, warning that the closures will lead to overcrowded classrooms and endanger those students forced to walk longer distances to their new schools. We go to Chicago to speak with Jesse Sharkey, vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union, which helped lead the campaign against the school closures. "They are making a very massive, radical and, frankly, irreversible experiment here on other people’s children," Sharkey says.

........(snip)........

AMY GOODMAN: To discuss the Chicago closures, we’re joined by two guests. In Chicago, Jesse Sharkey is with us, vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union, which helped lead the campaign against the school closures. And here in New York, Diane Ravitch is with us. She served as the assistant secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush, now a historian of education and the best-selling author of over 20 books, including The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Let’s start in Chicago with Jesse Sharkey. Explain the latest and why these schools are being closed and what you’re doing about it.

JESSE SHARKEY: Well, Amy, thanks for having me on, first of all.

There’s been a real shifting rationale about why the district is closing the schools. What they keep—what they’ve said is that it will save money and they have a budget deficit to worry about, and then now they’re saying that this will allow them to better serve the students whose schools are being closed. Both rationales are outrageous. As far as saving money, the district is planning—or the city is going to spend $300 million to renovate a new stadium for the DePaul basketball team and renovate the tourist areas of the city, that we don’t believe the school closings will save that much money. And we definitely don’t think that this will actually help the students that are being affected. In all the previous rounds, we found that the University of Chicago research shows that over 90 percent of the students actually wind up with worse educational outcomes as a result of their schools being closed. So, this will be very harmful to the students. It’ll be harmful to the public school system as a whole, and to the people who work in the schools, as well. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.democracynow.org/2013/5/28/chicago_to_shutter_50_public_schools



28 replies, 2759 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 28 replies Author Time Post
Reply Chicago to Shutter 50 Public Schools: Is Historic Mass Closure An Experiment in Privatization? (Original post)
marmar May 2013 OP
byeya May 2013 #1
brooklynite May 2013 #3
Dragonfli May 2013 #16
HiPointDem May 2013 #26
abelenkpe May 2013 #11
liberal N proud May 2013 #2
sweetapogee May 2013 #4
ananda May 2013 #5
Fuddnik May 2013 #13
ieoeja May 2013 #17
xtraxritical May 2013 #20
xchrom May 2013 #6
JVS May 2013 #7
Starry Messenger May 2013 #9
byeya May 2013 #8
Fuddnik May 2013 #14
Newest Reality May 2013 #10
tartan2 May 2013 #12
downbythelake May 2013 #15
ieoeja May 2013 #18
downbythelake May 2013 #19
hrmjustin May 2013 #21
frazzled May 2013 #23
frazzled May 2013 #22
Chisox08 May 2013 #24
frazzled May 2013 #25
msanthrope May 2013 #27
Chisox08 May 2013 #28

Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2013, 08:01 AM

1. Yes of course it is. The RW wants to end all social enterprises and turn them into profit

 

generating entities which they will hollow out and leave the shell behind.
It's the same with turning roads into private toll roads, making prisons private and turning municipal water and sewage systems over to the parasites whether it's here or in Bolivia.
It marks a failure of union/business cooperation and a failure of top down unions. Unions need to go back to the communities and thoroughly democratize themselves.
When the Chicago teachers struck, there were no scabs. The teachers, parents and their allies did not have to picket the schools because there was community solidarity so the protests could be wide ranging.
Everyday Arne Duncan is Secretary of Education is another day of failure for 0bama.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to byeya (Reply #1)

Wed May 29, 2013, 08:10 AM

3. Last time I checked, Chicago was run by a Democratic Mayor and City Council...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to brooklynite (Reply #3)

Wed May 29, 2013, 10:07 AM

16. There are RW Democrats, as evidenced by Rahm. I don't think there should be

but our party big tent policy is to embrace Satan himself as long as he registers Democrat before he plunders

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to brooklynite (Reply #3)

Wed May 29, 2013, 02:40 PM

26. lol. like the daleys are democrats. from the 1%-ers mafia wing.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to byeya (Reply #1)

Wed May 29, 2013, 09:03 AM

11. That is what the RW is all about

So why are Dems in favor of privatizing the public school system? School reform

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2013, 08:03 AM

2. Exactly

The right wing is hell-bent on privatizing everything and making a profit from it all.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to liberal N proud (Reply #2)

Wed May 29, 2013, 08:19 AM

4. Isn't Chicago

run by Democrats?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to sweetapogee (Reply #4)

Wed May 29, 2013, 08:23 AM

5. Dems . in. name. only.

..

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ananda (Reply #5)

Wed May 29, 2013, 09:49 AM

13. But, you have to support them anyway.

It's the law. They do have a "D" after their name after all.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ananda (Reply #5)

Wed May 29, 2013, 10:24 AM

17. Even Bob Novak referred to Daley as a DINO.

 


If Republicans can recognize fellow Republicans in the Democratic Party, you'd think Democrats could tell too.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to liberal N proud (Reply #2)

Wed May 29, 2013, 10:46 AM

20. It's all part of the "austerity" deficit scam.

 

Austerity is a hoodwink proposition foisted by uber capitalists to take over government assets at fire sale prices. It's a .01% scam.
The economic situation we're in now is EXACTLY equivalent to the great depression of the 1930s and has the same causes and the same solutions. Hoover's austerity was a complete bust.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2013, 08:24 AM

6. Du rec. Nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2013, 08:33 AM

7. This is what they get for voting for Rahm.

Note to jurors: this is not advocating for a third party, as the 2011 Chicago election was non-partisan and all of the candidates had histories working within the Democratic party.

Gery Chico, former chief of staff to mayor Richard M. Daley and former chairman of the City Colleges of Chicago

Miguel del Valle, City Clerk of Chicago and former Illinois State Senator

Rahm Emanuel, former White House Chief of Staff and former U.S. Representative from Illinois's 5th district

Carol Moseley Braun, former U.S. Senator from Illinois and former United States Ambassador to New Zealand

Patricia Van Pelt Watkins, non-profit administrator and activist- Democrat in IL state Senate

William "Dock" Walls III, community activist and former aide to mayor Harold Washington - Can't find proof that he's a democrat, but Harold Washington was

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JVS (Reply #7)

Wed May 29, 2013, 08:40 AM

9. Thanks for that list.

Kind of shocked now that Rahm won. I didn't know he ran against some amazing people.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2013, 08:36 AM

8. Unions make a mistake when they tie their fate to the Democratic Party. They need to remain

 

independent of political parties and work on behalf of their members and their communities.

With the Chicago Teachers strike even the police union gave their support. They also received support from similar unions in countries like France.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to byeya (Reply #8)

Wed May 29, 2013, 09:58 AM

14. Emmanuel awarded an airport contract to a minimum wage, non-union, mob owned company.

And tossed out the union company that had the contract.

http://inthesetimes.com/ittlist/entry/14277/rahm_emanuel_is_silent_on_the_syndicate_at_ohare/

Monday Dec 10, 2012 5:11 pm
Rahm Emanuel Evades Questions Over Mob Ties in Non-Union Deal
By Anthony Mangini


NBC Chicago reports that Mayor Rahm Emanuel evaded questions over alleged mob ties in a $99 million custodial contract awarded for O'Hare International Airport. The contract went to the non-union employer United Maintenance, a subsidiary of United Services Co., which has connections to several prominent Chicago mob families.

United Services' executive vice president, Paul Fosco, was convicted and imprisoned in 1987 for a "racketeering...scheme to swindle the Laborers Union through manipulations of lucrative benefit plans," the Chicago Tribune reports. Fosco's father, Angelo Fosco, and the infamous Anthony "Big Tuna" Accardo were also tried for their involvement, although both were ultimately acquitted. United Services' owner, Richard Simon, previously ran National Maintenance Facilities with partner William Daddano, Jr., whose father was a notorious enforcer and loan shark for the Chicago mob.

In a press conference last Tuesday, Emanuel insisted that the contract was awarded via a "competitive process," but skirted the issue of mob connections.

Unions were already outraged over the deal; the new contractor, United Maintenance will replace the unionized employees of its predecessor, Scrub, Inc., with low-wage employees. "This is about the mayor taking care of his millionaire friends," SEIU Local 1 secretary-treasurer Laura Rueda told NBC Chicago, "and this is about the mayor taking away middle-class jobs."

On November 29, the mayor's birthday, dozens of angry janitorial employees gathered outside his house in protest, lighting candles and singing Happy Birthday in English, Spanish and Polish. SEIU Local 1, which has spearheaded a campaign on behalf of O’Hare's custodial workers, will be sponsoring a City Hall demonstration at 3:30 pm on December 11 to protest "Rahm Emanuel’s War on Wages."
--------------------------------------------------------------------

A real Peach of Shit.
After all the damage he did running the DCCC, anybody could have seen it coming.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2013, 08:52 AM

10. So, is everything politcal

just a party of moneycrats and profitlicans now? That's a rhetorical question, I guess.

Oh, we might as well get used to everything being privatized since, it seems, that there is a handful of people who now actually have the money to own everything and they do need something more to do with their money, don't they?

Most of us are just renting space on their planet and the facade that we are politically empowered or really have anything other than Oligarchy and neo-fascism is becoming a thinner veneer that will eventually be unnecessary and a waste of precious money.

One commodity, under corporations, with liberty and justice for our owners.

Without major upheaval or a complete game changer, our children will be nothing, (and I do mean nothing) more than neoliberal transactions who carefully monitored 24/7 and constantly manipulated living an irresistibly technocratic form of Serfdom.

Gee. Rereading that, I see that we are already pretty far along that trail collectively and television reveals this well. That's why it will take an inner change amongst people in order to break the softly spoken magic spell, (yes, it is visual and word magic as abstraction on a higher order) because it has been internalized so deeply, (like traumatized abuse victims and Stockholm Syndrome) that the personal side of the complicit behavior is largely invisible to the members of this culture.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2013, 09:49 AM

12. When it comes to Chicago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel

I can't help myself but I think of a Democrat with a red interior and I also think Rahm just might fancy himself to be the first Jewish POTUS!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2013, 09:59 AM

15. to be fair

 

The city is only paying ~100 million as their part of the stadium not 300 million. Not that it really makes a difference still stupid.

But where is the rest of the money going to? A bunch of rich people that is where. Forget the stadium.

We just got hit with all of these great new tax increases just this year here too. I have really noticed it too: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-01-01/news/ct-met-taxes-fees-20120101_1_fee-increases-fee-hikes-hotel-tax

-50 Democrat Alderman - 0 Republican Alderman on City Council
-Democrat Mayor
-Democrat Governor.

With what is going on around here you would think its all Republicans. I dont even know what to do anymore nothing works

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to downbythelake (Reply #15)

Wed May 29, 2013, 10:28 AM

18. I hate it when I time travel back to 2012. n/t

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink



Response to downbythelake (Reply #19)

Wed May 29, 2013, 11:07 AM

21. Welcome to DU my friend!

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to downbythelake (Reply #15)

Wed May 29, 2013, 12:36 PM

23. Actually $70 million of that $100 million is from hotel taxes

And the money collected from hotel taxes, I believe, would not be available for schools anyway: it's to develop tourism to grow businesses and jobs.

The other $30 million of the $100 million is from TIF funds, a Mayor Daley special that has always been controversial. That might have impact on schools (though I doubt there are many schools in the TIF district in which McCormick Place resides; it's pretty much a sea unto itself, though I could be wrong).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2013, 11:20 AM

22. By the facts, no.

The population of each of the closed schools is being absorbed by another "receiving" public school in the district.

The Tribune published a detailed chart the other day of each school being closed, which other public school will receive their students, and what the "utilization" rates of these schools were. I was surprised to see how many of the schools, on both the closing and receiving end, were being utilized at shockingly low rates (eg. at 28% of the student capacity: 337 students out of 690 possible at Betsy Ross Elementary, for example will be absorbed into Dulles School, also running under capacity). The schools that were "saved" were ones running at 60% of capacity or more. Or in one case (Willa Cather Elementary, with a population of only 30% of its capacity of 780 students, was not closed because it is a high-performing school and will instead receive 314 kids from Calhoun North (which was a school that could ideally house 690.) These were consolidations, and that's how we should be discussing them.

I defy anyone here to imagine themselves running a district of 450,000 students and 472 elementary schools (106 high schools were not affected) and, knowing that Chicago lost 200,000 people according to the 2010 Census, almost all in African American neighborhoods where residents migrated to suburbs or to other states ... what would YOU do if you had a whole bunch of schools running at anywhere from 28%-49% capacity—schools whose maintenance and replication of services and materials were very costly. Would you hire fifty extra janitors, pay heating (and sometimes cooling), electrical, roofing, boiler and other repairs at each of these underpopulated schools, when the money and resources could be used more effectively if the underpopulated schools were consolidated to fit building capacity? I wouldn't. I'd use that money to buy more books and equipment, computers and other resources.

This misinformation has to stop. This wasn't about closing poorly performing schools; this wasn't about a stealth attempt to get more charters in. This was about a district that had lost population--the most significant loss of any American city in the last decade. I've sat on Building Advisory Committees and had to look at school budgets. You do NOT want to throw away money on fixing windows and boilers and roofs and cleaning the floors and paying the heating bills and liability insurance at 100 schools that are each 50% or less populated. It's not efficient; it's not wise, especially when the condition of some of these very old buildings is iffy to begin with. It's not a popular choice, but it's one that is, ultimately, best for the district. Conspiracy theories like this to the contrary.

This is not as detailed as the chart I saw in the print paper the other day (surprise: I actually LIVE in Chicago), but it'll do (scroll down to chart):

http://graphics.chicagotribune.com/school_utilization/

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to frazzled (Reply #22)

Wed May 29, 2013, 01:18 PM

24. Isn't small class sizes a good thing?

If it is not about getting charter schools in those buildings, then why most of those schools have a charter across the street from them? Why did applications to those same charter schools spike after the final vote to close those schools?
If you look at where they are moving the children to, the city is asking for trouble. The old gang lines are obsolete, because there are gang fights within the same gang. Even the police was against the closing because the city will be putting the children and their parents lives at risk.
You might live in Chicago but you are not being affected by what is happening. I have family that currently attends 3 of the schools that are to be closed Calhoun, Marconi and Banneker.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Chisox08 (Reply #24)

Wed May 29, 2013, 02:38 PM

25. Don't know that class sizes are affected that greatly

Depends on how the previous and new schools were staffed. It could be a question of whether there were, say, two second grade classrooms (of 25 kids each) in the old, and five second-grade classrooms (of the same density) in the new. I don't have that information

As for the gangs (and this is the reason the high schools were not touched in this plan) ... don't you think it's time we took them in hand and stopped letting them rule our kids and our city? If these younger kids can be safely (and I do mean safely) put in schools together, there is likely to be a better outcome by the time they get to high school. We can't let our city become ruled—terrorized might be the term— by "warlords" that control little blocks of turf forever.


It's true that I do not have any children in CPS to be affected (my kids are grown up, though my son does live on the South Side). But I did send them to public, inner-city schools in another city when they were growing up. Although there was a school two blocks from our house, I chose to put them on a bus to attend a school several miles away--actually, to a more dangerous neighborhood and more integrated school-- because we liked the program better. At that time, our city was still under a desegregation program that put different types of programs into different buildings (fundamentals, contemporary, open, Montessori, continuous progress) and let families choose which of those programs in their general quadrant of the city they wanted their kids to attend. This led to a good deal of self-selected integration of neighborhoods and socio-economic and racial makeup in the schools. The nice school near me was a "fundamentals" school (for kids who needed more basic academic work and a more structured environment for discipline and attention). I chose the "continuous progress" school because it fit my kids' learning style better.

I don't particularly subscribe fully to the return to "neighborhood" schools (as much as I realize that the return of the two-parent working family may make it a more appealing option). To me, "neighborhood" has meant a return to more "separate but equal." I've seen what mixing up kids from different neighborhoods and backgrounds can achieve, and it is a beautiful thing for everyone.

Lastly, I know no one wants to lose their beloved school. Change is hard. But let's see what happens in, say, two or three years. It may be that your family's kids end up liking their new schools just as well and have the opportunity to meet all kinds of new kids and teachers. It could be a failure or it could end up being a really good thing. I'm open to seeing what happens.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Chisox08 (Reply #24)

Wed May 29, 2013, 02:49 PM

27. Small class sizes are great, but you also have to look at the physical infrastructure...

 

It costs money to run buildings. So, if you have a 1,000-seat capacity school running at 500, you still have to repair, heat, and maintain that building and grounds. It's more cost efficient to combine physical spaces.

As for moving kids across gang lines, I think the time has come for the parents, teacher's union, and CPS to hold the CPD accountable--the gangs should not dictate where kids go to school. Something is seriously off when a city government is supposed to make educational policy around a criminal gang.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to msanthrope (Reply #27)

Wed May 29, 2013, 04:16 PM

28. Instead of dumping a hundred million dollars into a stadium

that almost nobody will go to after the first year, that money can could be put into the schools. I also find it strange that there are charter schools in most cases across the street from the closing schools and some of the charters schools want a larger building.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread