Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ruiz gets an F, Katten an A+ on Chicago Tonight

I almost felt bad for Jesse Ruiz last night as I watched him play the fool to Wendy Katten on Chicago Tonight. Armed only with an embarrassed grin, a pocket full of cliches ("it's for the kids"... "it's about teaching and learning"..."all hands on deck"...) and a bag full of half-truths and misinformation, Rahm's hand-picked board V.P Ruiz was sent out to face the Raise Your Hand's Wendy Katten and Catalyst's Rebecca Harris to try and defend the indefensible -- CPS's list of 129 "underutilized" schools slated for closure.

It was a total mismatch. Katten, armed with credible information, waited patiently as Ruiz spouted the party line:
"It's under-utilization that's driving it. We want to right-size the footprint. There's been a drop in the student population of Chicago of about 145,000 over the last decade."
Then she turned on the lights:
"We assessed the utilization formula and found that it allows for overcrowding. You can have 36 kids in a classroom under this formula and still be deemed efficient. So it doesn't allow for space for things like music rooms, art rooms..."
Ruiz: "Figures can be argued with ... so if we're off by a few percentage points, we still have a big problem that has to be dealt with." 

Katten: "I just want to add that we have lost 30,000 children in the past decade. It's just wrong to keep using numbers [145,000] that mislead."

Off by a few percentage points, Jesse??  Uh uh. The difference between CPS losing 145,000 and 30,000? You're only off by about 80%. That's an F on the math section on any standardized test. Back to first grade.

BTW, despite having chaired ISBE, Ruiz is no educator. He's a partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath's Corporate and Securities Group, specializing in mergers and acquisitions. Before that, he worked for the privatization firm of Booz Allen & Hamilton. His motives should be clear.  He doesn't lack for information. He knows the figures as well as anyone. His spreading of disinformation is purposefully misleading.

Reason #897 for replacing mayoral control of the schools with an elected school board.


  1. I thought the woman from Raise your Hand was great and the person from Catalyst was pretty good. But people are missing one of the main points which is that one of the main reasons that there is a billion dollar deficit is that Rahm made a decision to significantly expand spending when everyone knew and knows that THERE WAS NO MONEY TO DO IT. Rahm and minions were counting on being able to exploit teachers. Rahm went too far down the track on the extended day.

  2. When you look at the number of students diverted to charter schools the 30K number shrinks even further. This is a long term plan to close public schools and replace them with pseudo public charters. It is being rolled out as we speak in Philly and Sacramento as well as other places not yet on the radar. Just another tattered rag run up the flag pole to see if the public has become gullible enough to fall for this months lie.


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