With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Have we really made CPS a wing of City Hall?

It's like a bad dream...

A foul-mouthed megalomaniac is given autocratic control over the schools in the nation's third largest city. He doesn't particularly care for public education and certainly wouldn't send his own children to a public school -- especially to one that had implemented his own version of school reform.

"Reforms" like diverting public school funds to privately-run charter schools, a longer school day with fewer teachers, bare-bones budgets, over-sized classrooms, no libraries, banned books, and with less art and music. These "reforms" are for THOSE kids, not for the Emanuels'. He and his wealthy patrons are sworn enemies of public employee unions and he's fond of dropping F-bombs on the African-American woman president of the CTU.

The demolition of La Casita
This is a mayor who, like his predecessor, wants to privatize or sell off all things public, including the schools and their programs, while in the process, eroding public decision-making and collective bargaining rights.

What he can't sell, he closes, even if it means violating the civil rights and equal protection rights of the poor, those with special needs and communities of color. His massive school closings in those communities has put some 30,000 students in harm's way. 

In response to public outcry, Rahm has posted hundreds of Safe Passage signs and militarized the routes kids will have to take to their new, overcrowded receiving schools. Yesterday, in a scene that's becoming more and more familiar to parents and students, 5 people were shot in the shadow of one of these signs.

Why would we entrust our schools and our children's education to the corrupt patronage plantation that is Chicago City Hall? To a political machine that feasts off of public funds while bankrupting its public institutions? To an autocrat who operates with impunity and without public accountability?

Safe Passage
His latest attempt to neuter the city's Inspector General, in the wake of perhaps the largest scandal yet, even has his own loyalists shaking their heads in disgust. His misuse of  in public TIF money, meant to bolster economic development in under-resourced communities, as his own private slush fund -- funneling billions to cronies,  rich property owners and lakeshore developers for a DePaul basketball stadium--or to his pals at American Demolition to pay for the destruction of La Casita and Whittier School...

And the list goes on. The bad dream continues. Time to wake up and put an end to mayoral control of the schools, redirect that TIF money, get an elected school board, and take back City Hall in 2015.

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