Friday, December 13, 2013

Stopping the charter invasion

I guess I've become cynical about CPS-run community meetings ever since David Vitale confided to me that they were called simply to rein-in the dissenters. It got worse after CEO Byrd-Bennett completely ignored the 20,000 parents and community members who turned out to opposed her planned school closings.

Wednesday's community meeting about Noble Network and Intrinsic's charter school invasion of the northwest side had all the dama of a done deal. Even though the crowd of teachers (a big group from Prosser), parents and community activists that packed the Northwest Community Church, was overwhelmingly anti-charter, the process is being run by Rahm's pro-charter, anti-union pals, Stand For Children and CPS' Office of New Schools. The N.A.C. group, who will vote up or down on recommendations for the two new charters (one right across the street from Prosser Career Academy) has no real power. The land's already been purchased. The zoning has already been changed. Despite the best efforts from independent Alderman Nic Sposato, it will take a full-scale community rebellion and an elected school board to hold back the expand-or-die charterization of the neighborhood.

One of the high points of the meeting was reading a copy of the Steinmetz student newspaper, the Steinmetz Star. I've had a thing for Steinmetz ever since their Louder Than a Bomb poetry slam team, the Steinmenauts, won the championship a couple of years ago. The newspaper continues the tradition of great writing with a bent towards social justice. The front page headline on the latest reads: STUDENTS FIGHT CPS CHARTER PLANS. I'm pretty sure Byrd-Bennett will send her censorship squad out there as soon as she catches a glimpse.


If CPS is going to introduce a mandatory black studies program, why exempt the charter schools -- the ones who need it the most?


New York's newly-elected Mayor Bill de Blasio, hasn't asked me for advice about picking his new school chancellor. But I'll give him some anyway. Dump Michelle Rhee's understudy Kaya Henderson and Chicago school-closer supreme Barbara Byrd-Bennett from your short list. Starr, Alonso ... anybody but these two.


  1. Mike,
    You're not the only one who thinks the game was rigged from the start. Read NAC member Timothy Meegan's article in today's Sun-Times.

    "Rules seem to be made up as they go along. Our NAC was overseen by CPS officials from the Office of New Schools and Intergovernmental Affairs. After the NAC decided by majority vote to hold a community meeting at Prosser and had made arrangements with Prosser’s principal, CPS’ John Scott and Emily Metz."

    Read the rest here:

  2. Great work, Steinmetz students.


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.