Thursday, October 25, 2012

Yet another reason to support an elected school board...

Is this the reason Rahm brought in BBB to replace Brizard as CEO? Did he think that she would be slicker at carrying out the closing of another 100 or so neighborhood schools than J.C. was? Did she and Vitale really think no one would notice their "not open to the public" meetings on school closings, "to give community leaders a reality check, as well as ask their advice on the criteria."

I think it's the pair of them that needs a reality check. Not only are their meetings a violation of the Open Meeting Act, they are such a blatant scam as to rival Rahm's previous attempt to pack board meetings with paid protesters.

The meeting are also a slap in the face of the 32 Chicago aldermen who signed the resolution calling for transparency and an evidenced-based rationale around proposed school closings.

It's become obvious that Rahm, BBB, and Vitale take parents and community folks for fools.

Sarah Karp at Catalyst reports that while open hearing hearings are often contentious, these closed meetings are highly orchestrated, with participants asked to answer specific questions and take surveys.

She writes:
Next, the audience was given keypads and asked to vote on the following question: What is the most important thing that impacts students? The choices were: maintain the adults, maintain the building or provide an effective transition to a higher performing school nearby.
Immediately, Capers C. Funnye, rabbi at Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation on the Southwest Side, grumbled. “This is very skewed. I feel like I am being used, and I don’t like being used. The choices are out of focus. Seems like the decisions have already been made and we are just supposed to fall into place.”
The preface to the question—that the district is broke and has much excess capacity—seemed to steer the answer, he said.
The adults-vs.-kids survey question flashed me back to my early-voting experience Monday when I was asked to vote on Rahm's meaningless pension measure which read:
 “Shall the State of Illinois provide funding for the normal cost of pensions for Chicago teachers in the same manner as the State pays for the normal cost of  teacher pensions in every other school district in the state which will free up local funding that can be invested in the classroom?”
Questions like this are only there to confuse people and to take up ballot space that could be allotted to more community-driven initiatives.

And I was surprised to see former small-schools educator and Kenwood principal, Liz Kirby allowing herself to be used in this charade.  Does she really expect us to believe that this is all just about cost-cutting and "under-utilization" of school buildings when they are, at the same time,  opening dozens of new privately-run charter schools?

Yes, it may be necessary to close some under-utilized schools, but not before the needs of the community are carefully and thoughtfully considered. And not before real community voices have been heard. If that were to ever happen, it would be a first for the current school board.

As if we needed any more reasons to replace Rahm's hand-picked, rubber-stamp board with an elected one.

1 comment:

  1. If it is in violation of the Open Meetings Act, then why can't/won't anyone stop them from doing it? I don't understand.


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