Archive for May, 2013

Jeffrey Brown betrays Elizabeth Campbell

Chicago Board of Education Plans to Shut Down 54 Schools, Move 30,000 Students

JEFFREY BROWN: The Chicago Public Schools proposal would close 54 underutilized schools, forcing the relocation of approximately 30,000 students. The district says the move would save $560 million dollars over the next decade.

CPS chief executive officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett addressed the plan in a video posted Wednesday on the district’s Web site. …

… Declining enrollment has also forced other major cities like Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia to close scores of public schools in recent years. …

KAREN LEWIS, Chicago Teachers Union: Well, we oppose it because it’s completely destabilizing of neighborhoods in which their neighborhood is already destabilized.

Jesse Ruiz is very good at laying out the problems from a spreadsheet analysis. And it makes perfect sense. Oh, let’s put two places together that are underutilized. The problem is, the reason most of these buildings are underutilized is because we have had decades of school closings.

So, the school closings have created this underutilization issue. And one of the things that is very problematic about it is, if you listen to him, it’s all corporate-speak. So, this is an attack. It’s a corporate attack on public education. We have 25 buildings right now that are still vacant from the closings.

I love how he says, well, we’re going to repurpose these buildings. Those are all perhaps. I hope everybody noticed that. There’s no plan for this. There’s no safety plan block by block. People do not understand how unsafe Chicago is right now. I know you have heard it and you have talked about it. But, literally, we have 59 different gangs in Chicago and 650 branches of those gangs.

So, we’re talking block by block. So sending children from one place to the next could be deadly. And, in addition, there are a lot of special ed programs. I was at a school yesterday that was a fairly new building that had already been retrofitted with the things that they said they wanted to give, libraries, computer labs, science labs, beautiful building.

They’re being sent to a school that is much, much older, not in good shape, and not really equipped to handle the children with special needs there.

That last part would send bells off for any real reporter. Why would you ever shut down a school with new equipment and special adaptions for an older less adapted school? That is something a real reporter would follow up on.

WETA came out of the Arlington County Public School System. Elizabeth Campbell had a profound commitment to the public schools. The legal heirs of Ed Campbell are those lawyers fighting to keep DC public schools open. Sharon Percy Rockefeller and Dalton Delan have allowed the NewsHour to trample on that legacy. They owe public school teachers and parents an on air apology. Which they will get on the 12th of never.

Define reform

Alan Suderman reporting on Anita Bonds victory

Bonds’ victory will likely lead to plenty of hand-wringing among self-style progressive and/or reform voters, who often tend to be white and relatively new to the city and have seen their votes split among several of their chosen candidates in the last three at-large elections. Bonds’ victory follow similarly patterned wins by Councilmember Vincent Orange in 2011 and 2012. Orange eked into office with 29 percent of the vote in the 2011 special election and won 40 percent of the vote in last year’s Democratic primary, beating Sekou Biddle by only 1,746 votes.

There’s a clear appetite among the majority of the city’s voters for fresh blood on the Council. (Orange had previously been a Ward 5 councilmember and, like Bonds, has been a fixture of the local Democratic Party.) Yet no candidate has been able to bring together the disparate groups of voters looking for change in a strong majority or even a simple plurality. That might be because the reform-oriented candidates just haven’t been that impressive, but it’s more likely because “reform” means different things to different people; there’s no organized effort or group powerful enough to make or break any candidate who wants to claim the reform mantle. It’s an open casting call, and the people who answer it are often convinced of the rightness of their crusade.

In 2006 Adrian Fenty carried every precinct in the city running on reform. 4 years later Fenty was dumped in the Democratic primary because black people thought that reform was just code for push all the black people out of the city. I could be wrong, but I think the word reform is toxic in the black community.

Now the policies of gentrification have been put in place by Democratic and predominately black city councils and mayors. Electing black Democrats does not seem a solution. But it does not surprise me that white candidates running on a reform platform are not finding much support in the black community.

Candi Patterson for the Washington Teachers Union

It’s Official – I’m Running in the WTU elections!

Good afternoon to all of you. It’s official on April 30, 2013- I declared my candidacy for Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) General Vice President again. This time, I am running on the Elizabeth Davis (known as Liz) slate. It’s an opportunity for a new start, for new beginnings- a time to take stock of where we’ve been, where we stand and how much needs to be done for DC teachers and school personnel.

Good luck and God speed.

Why does Kaya Henderson have a job?

D.C. spending plan cuts programs and staff at dozens of schools

Mayor Gray has continued Fenty’s school smashing policies. Had he changed course there might be some protection from the One City Two Campaigns scandal. As it is he has continued Fenty’s policies and so now is as unpopular as Fenty.


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