With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The greater flow of life

No reason for doom and gloom here in Chicago. Spring is in the air, Derrick and the Bulls are streaking and the Cubs are getting ready for another World Series run.

Yes, I know that Judge Hyman just tossed out the civil rights suit, filed by Local School Councils, that sought to block the Chicago Public Schools from closing 17 schools in mainly African-American neighborhoods. But he also left an opening for the case to be refiled. If that fails, the LSCs can try again in federal courts.
“The deeper issues that underlie this lawsuit will not disappear anytime soon,” he wrote. “Yet before the court today is a narrow question involving the legal sufficiency of the amended complaint. As such, the answer is dry, cold, removed from the greater flow of life.”
"Removed from the greater flow of life," my ass.  I'll tell you what's removed from the greater flow of life, your honor -- closing our neighborhood public schools and turning them over to private "turnaround" companies and charter operators.

Special thanks should go out to attorney Tom Geoghegan, who is handling the suit.

Yet, another gleam of sunshine has burst through the cold Chicago winter's gloom. Parents are beginning to speak out against the mayor's longer-school-day scheme. 19th Ward parents are asking why CPS seems stuck on a 7.5-day for all students when the national average is 6.6 hours, the state average is 6.5 hours, and the top-10 suburban elementary average is 6.5. Good question.

The Tribune reveals the continued involvement of the anti-teacher, corporate reform group, Stand For Children, in promoting the longer-school-day. You might remember how the group came into Chicago spreading millions of dollars around to local pols' war chests, and how Stand leader Jonah Edelman bragged about selling the scheme to the mayor as a way to break the union.

Now, according to the Trib, the group is robo-calling 20,000 households from various zip codes across the city to push the 7.5-hours of seat time. Those who remain on the call will then be invited to participate in a longer school day discussion with schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard.

Another bright ray of hope was the victory for the coalition of organizations that pushed the board to extend the registration deadline for LSC candidates. The board responded positively, showing that they're worried about the growing grass-roots resistance movement. 

Finally, the sun has shown its light on Brizard's plan to use federal education dollars to support private schools. An unsolicited confession from the CEO that confirms what everyone's already been thinking.

Go Bulls!

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