Tom VanderArk, as usual, has his head up his rear end. Remember VDA? He was the education front man at Gates who pushed the idea that urban high schools were "too difficult" to fix and called for mass school closings in the black community before the idea was hip. Now he is promoting the Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee, Newt Gingrich, Al Sharpton crowd and their faux commemoration of the Brown decision.
VDA, posting on Huffington, claims he was just in Chicago where he supposedly visited Austin High School.
On the far west side of Chicago, Austin High School serves a population of low income minority students. The school was closed and replaced by four small schools in an effort to improve achievement and graduation rates. The building is old and the Oak Park neighborhood is tough. At nearby People's Taco, you shout your order through a hole and greasy tacos spin out of a bullet proof turret.But VDA must have been high on greasy tacos. For one thing, Austin High isn't in Oak Park. For another, Oak Park isn't a" tough neighborhood'. It's one of the wealthiest suburbs around. Austin High School was closed all right, but wasn't replaced by four small schools. There are only three, including one good one, Austin Poly, which btw isn't a charter school. Oh, one more thing. It's PEEPLES (not PEOPLE'S) Tacos over on Chicago Ave.
So the question is--where was VDA really when he was supposed to be in Chicago? If I was his partner at Vander Ark/Ratcliff, I would ask to see some travel receipts before I reimbursed him.