With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Rauner appointment of Vallas will take CSU from frying pan into the fire.

“When it comes to paying contractors, the sky is the limit; when it comes to financing the basic functions of the state, the coffers are empty.” ― Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
If you want to see how disaster capitalism works in real time, watch for shock-and-awe Gov. Bruce Rauner to appoint Paul Vallas as head of predominantly-black Chicago State University.

Vallas may have cost Quinn the election.
Driven to its knees after years of corrupt leadership and deprivation of adequate funding by state leaders, CSU is now set up for privatization, dismemberment and final burial by a governor bent on destroying everything public in public education. And who better to lead the way to the academic graveyard than Vallas, the master of disaster himself?

If it was up to the voters, he couldn't be elected dog-catcher. Vallas, the faux Democrat whose selection as Pat Quinn's running mate was a major factor in Quinn's loss to Rauner in the gov's race, is one of the most despised figures in the field of education. As I recall, he even lost his own primary run for governor to none other than Rod Blagojevich. From Chicago to Philly, to New Orleans, to Haiti, to Chile, and Bridgeport, he has left chaos, and division in his wake.

His top-down, school reform approach, pushing so-called "choice", privatization and busting teacher unions, puts him on par with Trump and Betsy DeVos. 

His appointment comes at a time when his former partner in Synesi Associates, Gary Solomon, is on his way to prison, along with Barbara Byrd-Bennett in the SUPES corruption scandal. Synesi is one of the indicted companies that hired Byrd-Bennett as a consultant, in return for her support in obtaining millions of dollars in CPS no-bid contracts. Vallas not only hired Solomon and his companies when he worked in Philadelphia, but brought Solomon with him to New Orleans.

Vallas is no more qualified to run a university than he was to run a public schools system. In fact, the governor of CT tried to pass a special dispensation and failed after a state superior court judge ruled that Vallas did not complete a state-mandated school leadership program and was therefore not qualified to be superintendent of Bridgeport. He was then run out of town by voters.

I'm hoping CSU faculty and students will rally in opposition to Rauner's appointment.


  1. What a bunch of baloney! CSU could not get any worse under the current "leadership." Paul Vallas turned around the disaster that was CPS in the '90s (before its more recent mismanagement). Thank goodness there's anyone willing to take on CSU! Vallas has as good of a chance as anyone.

    1. I can't blame this Vallas surrogate for posting annonymously. It must be embarrassing to have your name attached to such nonsense.

  2. Exactly my thoughts, Mike. After all, Paul Vallas doesn't work for nothing!! (He left Bridgeport, CT, in disgrace, still trying to get compensation, even after a judge had ruled that he needed to take actual administrative courses (or was it only one course?)to retain his position.
    Which, of course, Paul refused to do, so was given the Bridgeport boot.

    People like Vallas (Arne Duncan & HRC come to mind, among others) just won't go away & leave us alone, will they?
    (Even Barbara Bush had advised Jeb not to run, as she thought that the country had had enough Bushes.)

  3. Would hope there would be a massive student protest.
    Good Mary Mitchell column on this in Thursday, 3/23, Sun-Times--Page 2.
    (Sorry, I'm a lunkhead at kinking.) Title: "Call for Vallas to Lead CSU is Divisive." Says it all.

  4. Mr. Klonsky:

    In my estimation, this school is going to cease to exist within a year or two if the current leaders remain at the helm, finishing the job of destroying the school they started several years ago. Our enrollment is likely to be down to below 3,000 in fall 2017. Our most culpable senior administrators (President, Provost, General Counsel at the top of that list) must be discharged by the end of this school year. We must already write off the 2017-18 school year and if the present leadership remains in place, we will have to give up on 2018-19 also. Obviously, the real victims are our students. The classrooms are falling apart, technology in many classrooms is broken, the administration cut the building service staff by more than fifty percent, resulting in workers having responsibility for entire buildings, we have no paper towels, sometimes no toilet paper. A number of academic departments have no support staff since the ranks of those workers were decimated by our current administration. Students stand wait for hours to see an advisor (only 4 or 5 are expected to advise the entire undergraduate population), then are frequently misadvised by persons responsible for up to a dozen different programs. Course schedules don't meet student needs and cancellations frequently create impediments to their academic progress. The faculty at this school have tried for years to get rid of these people, to get someone to take a hard look at the school, to actually do something in the best interests of CSU and its students. All to no avail. Frankly, I think we're quite short of options here, what do you suggest?


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.