With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Rahm's 'Fog Machine'

“Their decision to modify their promise of a five-year moratorium on school closings is a smack in the face to the parents, teachers and students who are working so hard to secure vital resources for their neighborhood schools.” -- CTU's Stephanie Gadlin

If her lips are moving, Byrd-Bennett is lying.  Becky Carroll is lying even when her lips aren't moving. Crain's Greg Hinz calls it Emanuel's "fog machine."

There is no transparency at CPS or anywhere around City Hall. Everything said in Rahmville -- and make no mistake, CPS is square in the middle of Rahmville --has to be interpreted through the haze. 

Usually, it's CPS Liar-In-Chief Carroll framing the message. But this time around, it was Rahm's toadie BBB who was made to go in front of the cameras and assure an outraged community and teachers' union that there would be a 5-year moratorium on Chicago school closings once she was allowed to close 50. This despite the fact that 20,000 parents and community members came out to series of citywide hearings, demanding a stop to the closings. Or that even BBB's own hand-picked panel of VIPs advised against the closings.

Now as fractured and demoralized neighborhoods try and pick themselves up from the rubble, and some 30,000 children cautiously navigate their way through so-called Safe Passage zones just to get to school each morning, BBB is dragged out again. This time to tell us, "Remember what I said about a 5-year moratorium?..." 

Dizzy with success, they've come out with new "guidelines" which open the door to the hundreds more school closings they always wanted. 

"The intent of their message was if you put up with all this big instability you can appreciate a period of stability for the next five years. And now it turns out they're saying, well, no, we thought of some exemptions." 
Can they pull it off? We'll see. 

But Rahm's pulling-it-off track record is pretty dismal, says Hinz. He and a sector of the business community appear to have grown dissatisfied with the mayor's big talk accompanied by little do. Take the much vaunted Investment Trust for example:
 "...the one that was unveiled here in the presence of no less a personage than former President Bill Clinton [and AFT Prez Randi Weingarten -- m.k.]. A year and a half later, it's produced nada..."
As for Rahm's running of the schools, Hinz writes:
Remember all the promises about making teachers work more and extending the school day? Well, the school day was extended — and the Board of Education had to pay for it, despite a $500 million budget hole. And all of that promised "enrichment" in the form of more time for foreign language instruction and the arts and so forth? When the board ended up laying off hundreds of teachers, many schools lost that very same enrichment.
All politicians like to brag and strut their accomplishments, write Hinz. Mr. Emanuel is pretty good at it.
The problem is that none of that real-world reality ever seems to affect Mayor Rahm Emanuel's patented public relations fog machine, which works overtime to sell stuff that, in the end, far too often fails to deliver on the promise.
Hinz's column could easily serve as campaign talking points for a mayoral opposition candidate.

1 comment:

  1. Ever behind on my reading (too busy reading those "armchair pundits"--bloggers--I reckon), I must mention Ben Joravsky's piece in the 9/12/13 Reader, as he discusses yet another dis to CPS students, courtesy of His Honor. The article is about the lack of chess teams in CPS, even though the IL Chess Assoc. has repeatedly offered to start a team for EVERY CPS that wanted one, and the association wanted to raise the money to pay for any & all expenses incurred so that, in a nutshell, CPS wouldn't have to pay anything. This wonderful idea has been banging around (since 2010!)--that's right, it has NOT been put into motion because...well, three guesses why? The two guys working on this have been, according to Ben's article, batted around from one mayoral aide to another. But, of course, Joravsky tells the story better--it's a must read...and a terrible shame, once again, for CPS children.


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