Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rahm's two biggest scams

 “Have you changed the way you measure statistics?” one reporter asked.  “I don’t buy the premise of the question,” Emanuel answered and quickly moved on. -- Chicago Magazine
Dancing in the dark
The mayor and his two chiefs, schools CEO Byrd-Bennett and top cop Garry McCarthy, have put together a couple of scams any 3-card-Monte hustler or professional illusionist would be proud of.

The first and most callous is his rigging of crime stats including body counts from Chicago's killing fields, then used to celebrate supposed "record lows" in city gun violence even while shootings in the city's black and Latino neighborhoods were at or near all-time highs. It all laid out beautifully in the first of a two-part series by Chicago Magazine's David Bernstein and Noah Jackson.
Meanwhile, the see-no-evil, hear-no-evil pols on Chicago’s City Council have mostly accepted the police department’s crime numbers at face value. So have most in the media. You can hardly turn on the news without hearing McCarthy or Mayor Rahm Emanuel proclaiming unquestioned: Murders down 18 percent in 2013! Overall crime down 23 percent! Twelve thousand fewer crime victims! “These days, everything is about media and public opinion,” says one longtime officer. “If a number makes people feel safe, then why not give it to them?”
Many officers of different ranks and from different parts of the city recounted instances in which they were asked or pressured by their superiors to reclassify their incident reports or in which their reports were changed by some invisible hand. One detective refers to the “magic ink”: the power to make a case disappear. Says another: “The rank and file don’t agree with what’s going on. The powers that be are making the changes.”
‘We are not going to rest until people feel the reality of these numbers." -- Dec. 15th press conference
CHARTER SCHOOLS LAGGING BEHIND...The second is the great charter-school hustle complete with the big lie about charters out-performing CPS schools. This one provides the rationale for Rahm's school closings and turning CPS buildings and tax dollars over to privately-run charters and their operators.  But according to an examination by the Chicago Sun-Times and the Medill Data Project at Northwestern University, in 2013,
"CPS schools had a higher percentage of elementary students who exceeded the standards for state tests for reading and math than the schools that are privately run with Chicago taxpayer funds". 
That by the way, was true for all CPS-run schools (including the 48 schools closed this year) and also just for traditional neighborhood schools, which don’t require admissions tests or offer specialized courses of instruction.
The analysis included results from 48 traditional CPS schools — almost all of them neighborhood schools — that the city closed after the last school year, citing poor academic performance, declining enrollment and the costs of maintaining aging buildings.
 Yesterday's Sun-Times reports that Rahm, "did a popular political dance — the side-step" — when asked about the report. But the mayor can't dance around this. Most recent polls show that even with all his manipulations of crime data and his charter school illusions, his numbers are sinking and it's clear now that he can be beaten if a credible candidate dares to take him on in 2015.

1 comment:

Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.