In a reversal of fortunes Rahm's bullying and union busting tactics have not only been uncovered, but challenged by state officials on the Chicago Facilities Task Force Force. What was established by evidence and eyewitness testimony in a hearing on January 12, 2012 is that Rahm Emanuel's push to turn over public schools to private operators is his use of textbook union busting schemes to get what he wants. The most disturbing revelations about mayor 1% was the use of paid outside agitators to speak in favor of closing public schools and Board officials forging documents to push out homeless students from one school.
State Representative Esther Golar said she was at the meeting about Reed School in Englewood, which is set to receive Guggenheim students, and saw people arrive on a bus. She said she talked to them and discovered they were from a halfway house and were paid $25 to come to the meeting.
First Reported here on DailyKos and Substance News
- Rahm 'Rent-A-Protesters' Get Confused
- Rahm's 'Rent-A-Protest' Fails
- Rahm's Rent-A-Protest pickets outside CPS
- Chicago Public Schools sponsor Christian breakfast to promote CPS push for longer school day
Two busloads of Rent A Protesters at the Dyett High School closing hearing on January 6, 2012, became confused when challenged about their signs and attitude, and by the end of the hearing many had taken down their signs and agreed with those who opposed the Board of Education's attack on Dyett. The signs held up by the Rent A Protests were the same at all seven hearings across Chicago on January 6. Substance photo by David Vance.
State Senator Iris Martinez(IL-20) also was not happy with the attendance of outsiders at the community hearings.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said.
Supporters of closing Crane High School and other schools showed up at the first community hearing on the issue, spurring accusations that they were paid lackeys of the mayor.
One of those who sat with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the August 25, 2011 preacher patronage breakfast at Sox Park was Rev. Roosevelt Watkins (above right at the mayor's table), who later was a prime organizer of the "Rent A Protest" groups that picketed the Chicago Board of Education, City Council, and the Chicago Teachers Union during 2011 and in January 2012. Above, left to right (except the bodyguard standing at the far left) are Jean-Claude Brizard, Noemi Donoso, Andrea Saenz, Garry McCarthy, Rahm Emanuel, and Roosevelt Watkins. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.
The brief sermon delivered by Rev. Roosevelt Watkins at the August 25 preacher breakfast at Sox Park was urging those present to sign the petition supporting the "Longer School Day" that Mayor Emanuel was using as a "wedge issue" against the Chicago Teachers Union and to preach from their pulpits on Sunday in support of the mayor's attacks on the Chicago Teachers Union. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.
The Christian breakfast took place one day after many of the same ministers and churches staged a loud demonstration outside the headquarters of Chicago Public Schools. On August 24, the day of the Board of Education meeting, ministers (above) held a press conference demanding the longer school days and year, while their supporters held up printed signs (above). Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.
80 students at Guggenheim School had transfer notices delivered to their homes over Christmas break.
Guggenheim teacher Kimberly Walls said none of these children or parents asked to be transferred to another school and were called several times by school staff insisting they take the transfer. Transfer papers were slipped under doors or taped on them.
The parents reached out to teachers and staff, who contacted the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless for legal help. Most of them came back to Guggenheim on Monday. But the students were dropped from the school's computer system, creating a range of issues such as them not being registered for after-school programs, said school staff.
Rendina said that a few parents, though admittedly not as many as were handed transfers, talked about leaving the school at a parents' meeting in December. He said the principal, who is new to Guggenheim, thought he would help them along by providing them transfer notices and point them to better options.
“I think he had good intentions,” he said.
Many of these students had addresses outside Guggenheim’s attendance boundary, but were classified as homeless and therefore have the right to stay in the school.
Martinez seemed incredulous that a principal would take these steps. “You mean while the school closing is just a proposal, in the meantime, the principal is transferring students.”
The only thing CPS cares about is closing authentic neighborhood schools and giving them to crony EMO's. CPS has failed to live up to their responsibility to listen to the people that work with the students and the parents.
The Common way people give up their power is believing that they don’t have any. --Alice Walker
Angela Surnuy a parent at Marconi which was not closed last year because everyone resisted the proposed closing. Surnuy stated that love is shown in action and deed. "My heart craves for justice and I hate injustice," she thundered. Then she went into what almost became a call and response as the audience grew more and more animated:
Angela prodded the crowd with what became a chant: "Injustice is the way of the Board..." The board closes schools that have been drained of resources. Then: Resources are pumped into a school when that school is closed. Injustice is when teachers are put out of a job based on statistics and data. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. You can close our schools or put resources in our schools. We are not victims.
A state legislative task force created to address community concerns over Chicago's efforts to shut down or completely overhaul underperforming schools is calling for a moratorium on school closings and "turnarounds."
"This is a new (CPS) administration," said state Rep. Cynthia Soto, D-Chicago, who plans to introduce a bill calling for the ban when the General Assembly returns later this month. "They really have to get to know these communities before they start to take school actions. Some of the schools they've proposed are performing and should not be targeted."
But since those announcements, community groups have pointed to the fact that Casals Elementary, a Humboldt Park school in Soto's district, is slated for turnaround even though other schools have lower test scores. More than 61 percent of Casals' students met state standards, which is almost 12 percentage points below the district average but still higher than other schools that are not being closed.
The Kenwood Oakland Community Organization said the greater Bronzeville region has seen 15 schools closed and one high school turnaround in 12 years, but still another two schools in the area were proposed for closing and two more for turnaround this year.
The Chicago Facilities Task Force was established as a result of the 2009 campaign against Chicago school closings and turnarounds, as part of legislation introduced by Representative Cynthia Soto of Chicago.
The signing of the law culminated years of struggle across Chicago by community activists in the face of the program called "Renaissance 2010" initiated by the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club and former Mayor Richard M. Daley. By February 2009, when the proposed legislation was first announced by Rep. Cynthia Soto, the Chicago Board of Education had been closing and privatizing public schools for more than five years. At the time Rep. Soto proposed the legislation, the hope was that it would freeze school changes for 2009, but the Chicago Board of Education thwarted that hope and continued its policy of destroying neighborhood schools based on various pretexts, including closing, consolidation, phase out, turnaround, and whatever other term they could use to describe the process of undermining the public schools, usually to privative the facilities or promote residential gentrification at the expense of established communities.
Although political leaders had come out against the closings in prior years, a larger group was galvanized in protest in January and February 2009 thanks in part to the work of teachers who had created CORE (the caucus of rank-and-file educators) within the Chicago Teachers Union a year earlier. CORE's original tee shirts stated the group's opposition to Renaissance 2010 and Mayor Daley's ongoing privatization programs. (See related article in Substance).
The legislation signed by Governor Quinn on August 20, 2011, requires that the Chicago Board of Education go through a public and transparent process in order to do school facilities decisions. The process includes the publication of a list of all facilities data on all schools and community hearings whenever the Board of Education contemplates radical changes in schools.
The foundations of the Chicago Facilities Task Force are explained in the documentary below that came out of the violence and murders of black and brown youth due to mayor daley's and arne duncan's racist school closing policies.
Renaissance 2010 On the Frontlines
A documentary about the threat to the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union, stemming from privatization and charter school expansion. The film explores the motives and interests driving changes in the educational system by talking with teachers from both traditional and charter schools, students, educational experts and community members impacted by these decisions.
film produced by the founding members of CORE - Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators