Thursday, January 8, 2009

Inside Chicago’s Renaissance 2010

Chickens come home to roost

"I don't send my kids to school to be strip searched." -- The mother of a girl who was allegedly strip-searched at ASPIRA Early College High School. The mom said she pulled her daughter out of the school shortly afterward.

As you know, I am a long time advocate for small schools and have even helped start a few innovative, teacher-run charter schools. But this is what happens when charter schools are touted uncritically, as a group, a single magical solution to public school reform, by politicians, charter school associations, and district leaders. It's an inevitable outcome, where teachers have no union protection and can be fired without due process for speaking out for their kids, or reporting abusive practices. Even good charters and good small schools inevitably run into trouble when the get-rich-quick replication bug bites or when they are handed over to a chain of education entrepreneurs who are seemingly never held accountable to the community. Starbucks-type replications, cheered on by uncritical authorizers and conservative, business-model ideologues have become the MO of Chicago's current school "Renaissance."

From today's Chicago Sun-Times:

Three high school girls, taken into a washroom one at a time by an off-duty Chicago police officer, told to drop their pants, squat and cough -- all in the hunt for a cigarette lighter that was never found. Student grades bumped up a notch -- including Fs changed to Ds. Dozens of student absences that mysteriously evaporated from report cards. These are the charges that are now swirling around a charter school, one of dozens of new schools started under Mayor Daley's Renaissance 2010 initiative -- an approach touted by President-elect Barack Obama as he tapped Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan to be the nation's next U.S. Secretary of Education....Read the rest here.


  1. Meg Sullivan wants to make us believe that she cares so much for these kids but waited until when to report it? August. 8 months later. As educators we are required by law to report this type of abuse to the authorities immediately. Being afraid of the consequences of being fired is no excuse to keep quiet when you see children being abused. She did not report it until she got fired. Looks like she's looking out for her own best interests and not the children.

  2. According to the Sun-Times, Sullivan complained in June, not August. After nothing was done, she then stood up publicly at a board meeting. Sounds pretty courageous to me. Why attack her? Especially anonymously?


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