With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Life In the Clay Pool

Rahm Emanuel knew what he was doing when he brought educational know-nothing, Forrest Claypool over from the CTA to run the schools. Claypool, who like Rahm, sends his kids to private school, didn't come to CPS to lead an educational transformation. With apologies to Shakespeare, he came to bury public ed, not to praise it.

While stalling contract negotiations with the CTU, he's contracted (no-bid of course) with his old firing squad from CTA to help him engineer the mass firings of thousands of teachers and staff.

In the midst of budget cuts and mass layoffs at the board, Claypool gives no-bid contracts to two highly-paid CTA cronies to help him plan the next round of mass teacher firings. 
Carol Rubin was chief administrative officer at the CTA and the Park District while Claypool ran those entities for Daley and Rahm. Rubin has been working with Sally Csontos, another former CTA and Parks staffer who’s married to John Filan, once a budget director for former Gov. Rob Blagojevich and another longtime Claypool associate.

This is the same way Claypool ran the CTA. Readers may remember back in 2014 when he hired Jimmy D'Amico to help "manage the CTA's rail maintenance" even though D'Amico has no railroad experience.

I'm anticipating that one day, Claypool may even share a cell with Blago.

This week's layoffs of 227 central office staffers was billed by Claypool as a way of avoiding classroom cuts. But most of those laid-off were the very staffers (lower-paid) who deliver direct services to schools, many in the area of special education. His central office is stocked with high-paid patronage hires or former CTA cronies. They were untouched by the lay-offs.

CPS claims it is "reorienting" its special education services "around a bottom-up approach, replacing the formulaic, centralized operation that had been in place with a focus on schools to keep resources in classrooms."

But Access Living's Rod Estvan makes a good case against the "bottom-up" approach when it comes to funding special ed.
“Those people are critical. The school itself isn’t an island for special ed. … These kids have evolving needs. They may need more support like an aide, they may need more technology." 
Kids who have behavioral issues can’t just be removed from schools, he said. Managers must observe them before they can even consider a move to another program.
“No rational school district is going to give each individual school the right to make those decisions, because you will make the decisions that are right for your school not necessarily right for the kid or for the law. These kinds of issues require that human interface.”
Gov. Rauner placed the blame for the state's budget crisis on Democrats who have a veto-proof majority in both houses. If his point is -- Dems are too cowardly to really take on a psychopath like me -- he's got one. Sen. Pres. Cullerton continues to play footsie with Rauner. He's still trying to make a deal with the guv on a new (unconstitutional squared) pension-theft bill while distancing himself somewhat from Rauner's virulent union-bashing rhetoric. See Brother Fred's post this morning for more on Cullerton's budget shenanigans. 

At the City Winery last night, the great Steve Earle paid tribute to Bernie Sanders before singing his anthemic "The Revolution Starts Now". Packed-house crowd of loyal fans gave serious applause. 

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