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Mon Jun 30, 2014, 12:37 PM

this is not my rant. this is the rant from a psyche worker in chicago public schools. karen lewis.

this is a neighbor and a local blogger friend. she has much experience and big time credentials. she shares my very low opinion of karen lewis. regarding rumors of her running for mayor, we both say, what the heck, give it a go, take your best shot. maybe some good will come of it.
but some people make me like rahm more and more. she is one.



I hope she runs, it will be the most enjoyable campaign ever.

On two counts, her instigation of the strike, and her instigation of riot like behavior among parents, which were deplorable, reprehensible and totally self serving, cause me to question whether you're aware of all the angles here. Though I like unions, they need regulation, and if those who are charged with the care of our young don't need the most regulation of all, WTF does?? Her behavior during negotiations was atrocious, with no regard for the the students, the budget, or the city, all she cares about is protecting the welfare of teachers.

Regarding school closings...
Please remember the schools were failing, and excessive violence existed before the moves. If the truth is hard to handle so be it, but in the long run those kids are better off out of those armpits.

Those students are now learning more effectively, they are safer, and the students are happier. I know you don't like or agree with what I am saying here, and I am clear on that, but the dismally ineffective teachers who were fired, and totally deserved to be, totally screwed any hope the students had for a smooth transition.

The hype that was spun by Lewis over the closings was not about kids, it was about the teachers bottom line. Lewis was destructive by deliberately imposing a difficult transition on kids with no regard for those children. If Lewis really cared she would not have incited hysterics among the parents and their kids. It was a selfish display of antics by teachers who didn't want to lose their jobs.

If Lewis really cared about the kids, and had put the students best interest first, she would have been reassuring to parents, and actually helped parents transition their kids. Instead Lewis were so pissed off they made freaking everyone out their top priority.

Closing the schools had to be done, that doesn't mean it was an easy choice, but the teachers really screwed those poor kids far worse than the closings. By creating trauma and spite, for both the parents and students, Lewis made the ultimate statement, teachers are the boss, teachers rule, and no one tells teachers what to do.

All the while their real motivation perfectly veiled with claims of concern for students, when that was never really their problem. Their problem was that their little classroom kingdoms were no longer being allowed to run amuck under Lewis's (iron clad contract) watch. It was an unbelievable display of selfish entitlement and insensitively by adults who are supposed to do what is best for students.

It would be great if my neighborhood school was good enough for my kids, but it's not. Public Schools are far from equal. Keeping kids segregated does not help, and neither does keeping teachers who are not effective.

The US is new country, and our education system is new, relatively speaking, we have a lot to learn, and yes, we have failed on many counts, but the TU has effectively protected teachers salaries, pensions, and benefits without acknowledging budget cuts and restraints.

While Europe is light years ahead, we are still restructuring, and regulating our system, with very limited funds. I am sorry for those kids, but their teachers made things exponentially worse for them and their parents, the TU was selfish, childish, and inconsiderate.

Sorry I am not saying what you want to hear, but as mentioned, we just need to agree to disagree.

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Reply this is not my rant. this is the rant from a psyche worker in chicago public schools. karen lewis. (Original post)
mopinko Jun 2014 OP
enlightenment Jun 2014 #1
mopinko Jun 2014 #3
enlightenment Jun 2014 #6
NYC_SKP Jun 2014 #2
mopinko Jun 2014 #4
NYC_SKP Jun 2014 #5
eridani Jul 2014 #7
mopinko Jul 2014 #8
eridani Jul 2014 #9
mopinko Jul 2014 #10
eridani Jul 2014 #11
mopinko Jul 2014 #12
proud2BlibKansan Jul 2014 #13
mopinko Jul 2014 #14
mopinko Jul 2014 #15
lunasun Jul 2014 #16
mopinko Jul 2014 #17

Response to mopinko (Original post)

Mon Jun 30, 2014, 12:58 PM

1. I don't know enough about this particular situation to opine on

her position, but I have to disagree with this particular statement:

The US is new country, and our education system is new, relatively speaking


The US is "new" only in regard to very old nations. At some point, we have to admit we've been a nation for awhile now and stop using our "youth" as an excuse. As far as the education system goes, it is disingenuous to suggest that it is "new, relatively speaking". Relative to where?

The modern system of public, secular education was instituted in the Western world pretty much across the board in the 18th century (one could even argue that the New England public school model of the 17th century actually predated this, since it stressed fundamental skills in addition to religious education). So the US has been working on its education system for as long as Europe - if there is a reason Europe is "light years ahead" it isn't because we started later.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #1)

Mon Jun 30, 2014, 09:15 PM

3. but i think it is important to remember this fact- compulsory education

i dont see people really understanding that this is a system that was built to meet the need/justify compelling people to turn over their offspring. the supporters of the public system as it is do not seem to grok that for parents, this is still and issue. a HHUUUUGGGEE issue. talk to some homeschoolers. there is a whole left wing of the homeschool movement that is all about not handing our oddball children over to your sausage machine.

i do support public schools. but i dont support turning children into pawns, and that is exactly what karen lewis is.
and btw, a good and gentle man who believed in the ability of all children, no matter where they start, to learn. brizzard was a good man. he ran screaming from town when he realized there was no way around the strike, and that the union team was insane.
really, the negotiations were incredible. shameful, perhaps is a better word.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #3)

Mon Jun 30, 2014, 10:25 PM

6. Like I said, I don't know enough to opine -

so I'll accept your assessment. My comment was only meant as a gentle advisory (since you know the lady) that tossing out broad statements like that one can come back and back the speaker in the ass - so maybe she can rephrase it a bit.

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Mon Jun 30, 2014, 01:14 PM

2. A Hot Mess....

 

I've no personal experience with big city districts, except for SF Unified, but what I hear about CPS and NY is very discouraging.

This person, Karen Lewis, sounds like a bit of a nut with behaviors unfitting even a middle school student, much less an adult in a position of power.

I'm glad to work with schools, but just around the edges, from the outside.

I know what goes on behind the scenes and sometimes it's remarkably good and other times it's downright criminal.

K/R

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #2)

Mon Jun 30, 2014, 09:16 PM

4. i think i am pretty invisible here.

which says something.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 30, 2014, 09:20 PM

5. I subscribe to this group but rarely check in.

 

You know how it is with certain topics, echo chamber, it can get where a person is blackballed for not fitting in, that sort of thing.

I hate groupthink.

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Tue Jul 1, 2014, 05:49 AM

7. Corporate apologist bullshit.

Naturally poor kids in "failing" schools don't deserve libraries or counselors. Why would someone on a liberal board agree with this shit?

Chicago Teachers Go to Bat -- and Take a Hit -- for Their Students

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elaine-weiss/chicago-teachers-go-to-ba_b_1880744.html

But this proposal provides much reason for concern, as evidenced by, among other things, a letter authored by 88 professors and researchers at 16 universities in the Chicago metropolitan area warning against this new law. These scholars raised concerns about lack of preparedness, prior findings that such scores are inherently unreliable measures of teacher effectiveness, the intent to increase the weight of test scores to half over the coming years, and, most troubling of all, that "[s]tudents will be adversely affected by the implementation of this new teacher-evaluation system." The researchers point to the narrowing of curricula, incentives to avoid harder-to-teach (and test) students, a less nurturing teacher-student relationship, and reduced collaboration among teachers.

Indeed, in the recent wave of reform, hundreds of Chicago teachers won a suit based on the judge's findings that the city had saved money by replacing effective, experienced teachers with low-paid novices. In Washington, D.C., which has seen the same pattern, effective teachers now are leaving to teach in districts in which they feel more appreciated, to the detriment of the city's students.

Resources. The teachers are striking to stop the city from citing limited resources to justify shuttering libraries that enrich classroom instruction, eliminating the nurses, counselors, and social workers who enable at-risk students to come to class and to focus on learning, and increasing class sizes such that the individual instruction touted by "reformers" as key to effective learning is impossible. The mayor has largely dismissed those issues as peripheral, as have schools across the country. Yet there is substantial evidence that such cuts do real harm to students and counter any gains that might be seen from other changes.

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Response to eridani (Reply #7)

Tue Jul 1, 2014, 09:16 AM

8. there is no corporation here. just 2 moms on the ground.

and i certainly expected the usual reception here.
but i do this in person too, and anybody who thinks the teachers are protecting anyone but the teachers is the apologist. i dont AT ALL begrudge teachers their union or their contract.
but they dont speak for children. parents speak for children.
and this is what 2 very involved and passionate moms saw.
and like i said, this is a cps psych para describing the emotion, ginned up because rahm said fuck you lewis.
there was no negotiation before the strike was called. the superintendent threw in the towel, and fled the city for trying to deal with this woman.

but NO CORPORATIONS INVOLVED in the making of this rant, just me, and my neighbor. here in chicago.

if teachers here are of good will, they will read and discuss this without resorting to the usual insults. try to resist just calling long term members here liars because you dont agree with them.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #8)

Tue Jul 1, 2014, 05:19 PM

9. So your two moms don't think that poor kids deserve libraries or counselors? n/t

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Response to eridani (Reply #9)

Tue Jul 1, 2014, 08:04 PM

10. called a false equivalence

we are against schools that have become snake pits.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #10)

Wed Jul 2, 2014, 03:53 AM

11. Which you fix by closing their libraries? n/t

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Response to eridani (Reply #11)

Wed Jul 2, 2014, 07:53 AM

12. which you fix by closing half empty schools

so that you are not spread so thin.

and just ftr- the decision to have a library is NOT a central office decision. those sorts of staffing are made by principals. libraries, in case you missed it, are going out of vogue with kids. they are often rarely used these day.
and in point of fact, getting rid of the staff slot, which is what was done, does not mean they set the books on fire, just that they dont have a full time librarian. with the longer day, i would assume that the libraries in every well managed school are getting a heavy workout, and there is now more staff available for that.

the system was in dire need of re-allignment, and some of these pits were in dire need of closing.
it does not, in fact, have anything to do with libraries.
it has everything to do with accountability. unfortunately the schools must correct their own errors, and rarely have the guts to do what needs to be done.
rahm put the hammer down on these pits, but karen lewis managed to make everyone, including those kids, that it was because they were black.
an ugly, ugly lie.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #12)

Wed Jul 2, 2014, 11:02 AM

13. Baloney. Central office determines the budget for each school.

You also think the "more staff" all have time to run a library as well as their other duties? As if teachers and other staff sit around needing more work to do? More baloney.

Karen Lewis has revolutionized her union in Chicago and is a model for unions across the country now. I'm proud to call her a friend. And yes, if I lived in Chicago, I'd vote for her as mayor in a heartbeat. She's far more progressive that Rahm and also more faithful to the principles of the Democratic party. Are we all still Democrats here?

Now since the majority of schools CPS and Rahm are closing are those serving minority kids, and the percentage of African American teachers in Chicago has dropped from 41% to 25% as a result of layoffs, then we should expect a connection to racism. It's a no-brainer.

Black teachers make up 29 percent of all CPS teachers, but were 43 percent of all those laid off last year, the union says. White teachers are 47 percent of the total but were 36 percent of the layoffs.
http://www.peoplesworld.org/chicago-teachers-union-black-teachers-students-most-affected-by-school-closings/


In 2000, 52 percent of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students and 41 percent of CPS teachers were black. Today, 43 percent of students and just 25 percent of teachers are black.
http://www.austinweeklynews.com/News/Articles/1-30-2013/Disappearing-acts:-The-decline-of-black-teachers/

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #13)

Wed Jul 2, 2014, 02:07 PM

14. and what would be the percentage of teachers nationwide?

come on. there is a generation shift going on in the field, and the days where teacher was the only decent job for an african american are over.
lets stop this simple minded name calling and have a productive discussion.

i find it just so, so telling that as a parent i am continually shot down in this forum. i know good and well that i am not alone in this.
the best teachers i know listen to parents.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #13)

Wed Jul 2, 2014, 02:35 PM

15. and most librarians here are paid out of chapter one funds

under the control of the principal and the local school council.

central used to set the dollar amounts, and allocates teachers by butt. other staff were usually either federally mandated para, or counselors or aides, or support.
in point of fact, many of the most violence ridden schools have made the smart choice to invest more in psyche paras, and less in libraries.

but the funding scheme was recently rewritten, more fairly i might add, to just allocate by butt. that is hurting under enrolled schools, it is true. but it is helping over crowded schools. fair.

so, this aint on rahm, or even on central.
but your friend wants to hide that fact. of which she is well aware.
she lies by omission. frequently. and quite pointedly.

i hope we can agree to disagree about her. honestly, if she were my sister-in-law, i would find her a hoot. there is much appeal to her. it will be a fun race. no one else can touch him. i love a good race. i'm all good.
but i will tell the truth on her any chance i get. i would do it to her face.
shit, invite her to like my farm. she can come on up and tell me what her plans for the green economy are. i'll draw a crowd. i'll buy drinks.

no hard feelings, please.

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Wed Jul 2, 2014, 09:46 PM

16. Do not agree!

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Response to lunasun (Reply #16)

Fri Jul 4, 2014, 04:38 PM

17. well, a slightly more in depth conversation is what i was hoping for.

but.....

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