With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Monday, January 27, 2014

Selling us junk

“They are saying this is choice, yet they are not advertising any public schools at all,” said protester Rousemary Vega. “That doesn’t give any parents choice.” -- NBC 5 Chicago

Rahm and Byrd-Bennett have turned into junk salesmen. Their New Schools Expo was little more than a flea market of mostly inferior goods being sold to desperate shoppers driven to the fair by the debasement and threats of closure of their neighborhood schools.

(WBEZ/Linda Litton)
WBEZ reporter Linda Lutton visited the Expo and describes what she found:
A high-profile Chicago schools fair today is supposed to show off quality new schools, many of them charters...Schools set up tables with photos and marketing materials to try to entice students to enroll. Principals and teachers offer freebies like candy or balloons to kids...
But a WBEZ analysis of the more than 100 new schools featured at the expo this year shows 34 percent of them are rated Level 3 by the district, the lowest grade given. Schools receiving the designation include campuses run by some of the largest charter networks in the city, including UNO and the Chicago International Charter School. This is the first year the district has graded charters on the same scale as traditional schools. In recent years, the district has closed neighborhood schools rated Level 3, citing poor performance.
ABC News reports:
Flyer handed out to parents by protesters
Some braved the cold and handed out flyers to parents coming into the expo to try and urge them to know the facts [See Ellen Gradman's comments below]. The moms argue that while CPS' school budget was slashed by hundreds of millions of dollars, and under-used schools were closed down, charter school funding is on the rise and more schools are opening. They don't think the scale is very balanced. 
BTW, the cost for this great charter marketing scam is no less than $30 million funneled through New Schools for Chicago, formerly the Renaissance Schools Fund (the word Renaissance was banned from use down on Clark St. after the collapse of the Daley/Duncan fiasco formerly known as Renaissance 2010).

Think what that money could mean to resource-starved community public schools, how many highly-skilled teachers or librarian could have been rehired or arts programs restored.


  1. From our action at the New School Expo check my FB page for more information and pictures. --

    At one point, the top security told us we needed to leave or they would call the police. The reason was, this is a private event. We were outside on park district property, passing out questions to ask schools, schools that use public funds, everyone (except me) received several robo calls inviting them to the expo- which meant CPS gave personal information, Every phone number on CPS's roster of student's home phone numbers to whomever made the robo calls. However, what I think happened, was, they went inside and read the sheet we were passing out and there was nothing anti charter, nothing negative, etc... And only a list of questions and they realized that they didn't have a case to call the police, so they came back outside and just told us to move down the path. I think that was just a power play to show who was in charge. The best was when after the reporter from channel 7 did her interview, we were chatting (they all hate Rham) and she had her camera man look like he was filming, because they came back outside. This way, they wouldn't do or say anything to us.
    What really struck me was how many people do not know what it means to be a charter school.
    Stay warm,

  2. As parents we had all rights to be there....when ask to leave we simply continued passing out fliers in a respectable manner:) no negativity. Their fears.....it was valuable information for parents♥


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