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I originally posted this back in April 2010 from an article published in September 2009 about the conditions and Chicago Board of Education policies that lead to the increase in violence and murders of black and brown youth in Chicago.

fenger
The tragedy at Chicago's Fenger High School was not the only one resulting from the murder of a teenager during the last full week of September 2009 — only the most dramatic because the murder itself was captured on a video that the world is now watching. But more than most other gang induced murders in Chicago — and affecting the public schools — the murder of Derrion Albert is the result not only of the city's massive drug gang problem, but of the Chicago Board of Education's policies of 'New Schools' and 'School Turnaround.' By closing Calumet, Engelwood, and Carver high schools — and forcing the most challenging students from those schools into Fenger and nearby schools — Mayor Daley, Arne Duncan, and Chicago schools officials appointed by him guaranteed that Fenger would "fail." When Fenger failed, Daley's school board voted to fire all of Fenger's teachers and force a program called 'turnaround' on Fenger. The destabilization resulted in chaos in September 2009. Substance caption and photo by George N. Schmidt.

Arne Duncan is now promoting the turnaround of 5000 schools across the United States. Turnaround is a policy where the entire staff is terminated — including the all support staff such as lunchroom attendants and custodians. Fenger High School is a turnaround school; it is where student Derrion Albert was murdered walking home after school on September 24, 2009. In recent testimony and court litigation it is obvious that the Chicago Board of Education did not learn from it mistakes and now Arne Ducan wants this chaos spread throughout entire country.

albert schrine
The memorial to Fenger High School junior Derrion Albert sits against the west wall of the "Agape Center" on 111th St. in Chicago, a half mile (and a full five blocks) from Fenger High School. Derrion Albert was murdered on September 24, 2009, when he reportedly walked into a gang brawl on 111th St. while going home from school. The dramatic video of the beatings that led to Derrion Albert's death have made the murder more of a media event that the others that have befallen Chicago teenagers since the public school year began on September 8, 2009, for more than 400,000 students. But the memorials like the one above have been built by the hundreds during the years since Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley was first elected in 1989. Daley's policies of allowing the city's major drug gangs to flourish in the city's segregated African American and Latino communities (and in a few working class white areas) are viewed by many as a contributing factor to the ongoing wave of what Chicago's media refer to as "youth violence." While not all teenage murders in Chicago are committed by street gang members or are gang related, the vast majority are related to the gangs and their activities. The fact is, most Chicago youth are no more violent than young people in any other place, but the toxic expansion of the "People" and "Folks" gang nations has made Chicago unique in the USA as a center of drug gangs north of the Rio Grande River. Substance caption and photo by George N. Schmidt.

The tragedy at Chicago's Fenger High School was not the only one resulting from the murder of a teenager during the last full week of September 2009 — only the most dramatic because the murder itself was captured on a video that the world is now watching. But more than most other gang induced murders in Chicago — and affecting the public schools — the murder of Derrion Albert is the result not only of the city's massive drug gang problem, but of the Chicago Board of Education's policies of 'New Schools' and 'School Turnaround.' By closing Calumet, Engelwood, and Carver high schools — and forcing the most challenging students from those schools into Fenger and nearby schools — Mayor Daley and Chicago schools officials appointed by him guaranteed that Fenger would "fail." When Fenger failed, Daley's school board voted to fire all of Fenger's teachers and force a program called 'turnaround' on Fenger. The destabilization resulted in chaos in September 2009. Substance caption and photo by George N. Schmidt.In a press release and statement issued at 5:00 p.m. on September 28, Police said: “Chicago Police charged two adults and one juvenile in Thursday's beating death of Fenger High School student, Derrion Albert, 16. Eugene Riley, 18, of the 13200 block of South Ellis Avenue, Silvonus Shannon, 19, of the 130 block of South Evans Avenue, and a 16-year-old male were each charged early this morning with First Degree Murder. Derrion Albert was fatally beaten on Thursday, September 24 (2009) after he unknowingly walked into the path of a fight involving two large groups of people in the 300 block of West 111th Street. Area 2 Detectives, reviewed video footage obtained from Fox News showing the offenders attacking Albert with wooden planks, and physically punching and kicking him as he lay helpless on the ground. With the help of the video, witnesses and the community, Detectives were able to identify and locate the offenders who were then taken in to custody. Arrestees were scheduled to appear in Central Bond Court, 2600 S. California today at noon.”

Later on September 28, a fourth individual, identified as Eugene Bailey, 17, of the 7900 block of South Throop. Like the others, Bailey was charged with Murder. Police said that Bailey was scheduled to appear in Central Bond Court, 2600 S. California on September 29. Two of the four adults charged in the murder have addresses in the Altgeld Gardens public housing project. The fourth lives in the Englewood community. All have been identified by reliable sources as affiliated with the Gangster Disciples street gang. News reports and Board of Education statements have indicated that Derrion Albert was not affiliated with a street gang.

The memorial to Fenger High School junior Derrion Albert sits against the west wall of the "Agape Center" on 111th St. in Chicago, a half mile (and a full five blocks) from Fenger High School. Derrion Albert was murdered on September 24, 2009, when he reportedly walked into a gang brawl on 111th St. while going home from school. The dramatic video of the beatings that led to Derrion Albert's death have made the murder more of a media event that the others that have befallen Chicago teenagers since the public school year began on September 8, 2009, for more than 400,000 students. But the memorials like the one above have been built by the hundreds during the years since Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley was first elected in 1989. Daley's policies of allowing the city's major drug gangs to flourish in the city's segregated African American and Latino communities (and in a few working class white areas) are viewed by many as a contributing factor to the ongoing wave of what Chicago's media refer to as "youth violence." While not all teenage murders in Chicago are committed by street gang members or are gang related, the vast majority are related to the gangs and their activities. The fact is, most Chicago youth are no more violent than young people in any other place, but the toxic expansion of the "People" and "Folks" gang nations has made Chicago unique in the USA as a center of drug gangs north of the Rio Grande River. Substance caption and photo by George N. Schmidt.The murder of Derrion Albert, which was caught on video by a person who was at the scene, was committed with the use of fists, feet, and large boards which some witnesses have indicated were taken from nearby railroads. The video was provided to Fox News, which shared it with the police and also aired it during newscasts.

Derrion Albert died of head wounds suffered during the beating. The beating took place, according to police and other reports, when two large groups of people, many of them Fenger High School students, began fighting in the 300 block of 111th St. after school let out on Thursday, September 24, 2009. Fenger High School, located at 11220 S. Wallace Ave. on Chicago's far south side, has been the scene of gang violence since school began in Chicago for students on September 8, 2009, because of "turnaround," according to many sources who asked Substance not to name them because the Chicago Board of Education has terminated a large number of veteran teachers, both from Fenger, and other schools, during the past five years.

Fenger in particular was stripped of its veteran teachers this school year under the Chicago Board of Education’s so-called “turnaround” program. CPS officials, including CEO Ron Huberman, Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason Watkins (who heads "turnaround"), "Chief Turnaround Officer" Donald Fraynd, and officials in the large CPS "Office of Communications" have refused to be interviewed by Substance of discuss these issues.

Substance will re-instate a request for interviews on September 29, 2009. According to sources at Fenger High School and in the community, only nine of the more than 100 teachers who had taught at Fenger were retained when the school was subjected to “turnaround” (a form of school reconstitution) was begun in June 2009.

During previous iterations of "turnaround," CPS has also purged the majority of veteran teachers from the schools, but this year the difference was that at Fenger the "turnaround" team was not allowed to purge the school's most challenging students as well. Chicago Public Schools officials have refused to answer questions regarding the denuding of the Fenger staff by “turnaround”, and CPS has also refused to comply with a request under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act for the Board of Education’s current “Position File” which would enable Substance to independently verify the names of the teachers and other staff who are at Fenger this year against the list of staff who were at Fenger last school year.

Fenger erupted from first week of school

Because the Chicago Board of Education was stung in 2008 by press reports and reports from community organizations indicating that previous high school “turnarounds” had scored improvements in test scores by simply getting rid of their most challenging students in the first year of “turnaround,” this year Fenger, the only high school hit by turnaround in 2009, was forced to keep its incumbent 10th, 11th and 12th grade students, as well as admitting eligible 9th grade students. Fenger, called an “Academy” under the unusual naming policies of the Chicago Board of Education, is a general high school.

Huge drug gangs are a plague across South Side communities

By the end of the second week of school, Fenger students and teachers began reporting to Substance staff that Fenger was the scene of increasingly violent street gang fights, both inside and outside the building. Community residents noted an increase in police presence at and around the school. One source told Substance that teachers had been injured during some of the altercations, but Substance was unable to confirm the reports, and CPS officials refused to answer any questions regarding the Fenger situation.

By the third week of school, which began September 21, sources at the school reported that school staff had told the gangs to “take it outside” and away from the school. The gangs involved in the fighting at the school were reportedly the Gangster Disciples, the largest gang in the “Folks Nation”, and the Black P. Stones, the largest gang in the “People Nation.”

On the morning of September 24, 2009, Fenger High School was already in turmoil. A Fenger student (and known street gang member) was arrested shortly after classes began in the morning for firing a gun outside the school at the corner of 113th St. and Wallace Ave. in the quiet middle class community that surrounds Fenger itself. The student, a 15-years-old, had been involved in a number of altercations in and around Fenger since the opening of school on September 8, according to school sources.

Chicago and Illinois have the largest drug gangs in the United States, and the gangs are divided into two large “nations” which operate both on the streets and within the jails and prisons, according to police sources and the Chicago Crime Commission (“The Gang Book”). Chicago Board of Education spokesperson Monique Bond failed to answer Substance questions, left by voice mail, regarding the “take it outside” order or the escalation of violence at Fenger prior to the murder of Derrion Albert.

Fenger draws some of the most difficult students from the far south side, mainly today as a result of Board of Education polices which have closed three high schools within three miles of Fenger.

CPS policy of closing African-American high schools for "failure" caused much of Fenger's problem in 2009

Beginning in 2004, CPS policies, developed and implemented by former Chicago Schools Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan, closed Calumet, Carver, and Englewood high schools.

Carver Area High School, at 13100 S. Doty Ave., which had served children from the Altgeld Gardens public housing project on Chicago’s far south side, was closed as a general high school and turned into “Carver Military Academy” three years ago. Carver now rejects students who do not want to take part in its military program.

Calumet High School, at 8131 S. May St., was ordered to stop admitting 9th graders in September 2004. Calumet was closed as a general high school by Arne Duncan after graduating its final class in June 2007. The Calumet building, after a $20 million rehab, was given by the Chicago Board of Education to the Perspectives Charter Schools. Perspectives now operates three charter schools within the building, which is called its “Calumet Campus.” Two of the Perspectives charter schools are high schools, and one is a middle school. Perspectives requires students to apply for admission and routinely gets rid of students who fail to follow the rules of Perspectives.

Perspectives administrators also pride themselves in rejecting calls to the Chicago Police Department, as has been reported previously in Substance and at www.substancenews.net. According to one former Perspectives teacher who left Perspectives and who testified at the January 10, 2009, hearing sponsored by CORE at Malcolm X College, Perspectives administrators have told the staff that the police oppress youth in the community.

Englewood High School, located at 6201 S. Stewart Ave., was closed as a general high school (by stopping taking 9th graders in 2005) and graduated its last general high school class in June 2008. Englewood “campus” now houses the widely publicized “Urban Prep” charter high school and a smaller public high school (‘Team Englewood”) on its so-called “campus.”

Schools and veteran teachers aware of gang presence, keep it under control

Prior to the radical changes in the high schools of Chicago’s south side, Calumet High School was widely known in the community as a school that had members of the “People”, specifically the Black P. Stones, among its students. Englewood and Carver were known as “Folks” schools. With the closing of Carver, Calumet and Englewood as general high schools, the remaining students from those schools — as well as those who were kicked out of the military high school or the charter schools — went to other south side high schools, with the majority of those from Altgeld Gardens going to Fenger.

At public hearings in February 2009, and earlier, teachers, community leaders and others (including this reporter, who served until 2004 as director of security and safety for the Chicago Teachers Union) warned that disrupting the general high schools of Chicago’s South Side would lead to increasing gang violence and destabilization.

Most recently, Fenger teachers and their supporters issued the same warning when Arne Duncan announced that he wanted to subject Fenger to “turnaround.”

Duncan left Chicago to become U.S. Secretary of Education in January 2009.

Huberman ignored Fenger staff and community warnings, did not even attend school closing hearings in January and February 2009

The new Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools, Ron Huberman, did not attend any of the hearings on the proposed closings and other “turnarounds” in January and February 2009. Nor did he read the dramatic testimony in the transcripts which were available to CPS executives and Board of Education members on February 25, 2009, when the Board voted on Huberman’s recommendation to subject Christian Fenger High School to “turnaround.”

Since he became U.S. Secretary of Education in January 2009,

Arne Duncan has begun pushing so-called “turnaround” as a model for the USA, based on what is claimed to be the success of the program in Chicago.

President Barack Obama has also endorsed “turnaround,” singling out one corporate group in Chicago, the “Academy for Urban School Leadership” (AUSL), as a national model for turnaround and a supposed national source for “turnaround specialists.” At the time of the murder of Derrion Albert on 111th St. in Chicago, Obama had announced that one of the AUSL “turnaround” teachers was going to Copenhagen to help promote the Olympic bid for Chicago. Substance reported the Fenger hearing extensively in February and March 2009.

The Fenger chaos was predicated by students, teachers and community leaders at that time, and ignored by the Board of Education when it voted at its February 25, 2009 meeting to subject Fenger to "turnaround". At the time, not one member of the school board had read the dramatic transcript of the Fenger hearings.

The Board members relied on the recommendation of the "hearing officer," Respicio Vazquez, who was exposed in Substance as having a massive conflict of interest. Despite the fact that he told the hearings he was "independent" of the Board, he is in fact a partner in the Franczek law firm. The Franczek firm received the largest amount of outside legal work from the Chicago Board of Education between 2002 and 2009, amounting to several million dollars.

Recently, Arne Duncan hired one of the Franczek partners (Charlie Rose) to work as general counsel for the U.S. Department of Education. Despite these conflicts, the Board of Education voted to destroy Fenger High School, the teachers were fired in June and July 2009, and the history since September 8, 2009, is now a matter of record.


CPS RESPONSE AT NEXT SET OF CLOSING HEARINGS WHEN MURDER WAS MENTIONED

In remarkable testimony, February 1, 2010,  Dr. Donald Fraynd (Chief Officer of the Office of School Turnaround at CPS who managed and is directly responsible for the turn-around process at Fenger High School) made a statement that although the Derrion Albert tragedy took place at Fenger:

“We have learned a great deal.”

He went on to minimize the death of a student as the result of School Board policy and talked of the

“positive things”
he claimed were going on inside of Fenger — neglecting to put into the record the numerous arrests and school fights that have occurred after the murder of Derrion Albert. Dr. Fraynd also neglected to put into the record a lawsuit filed by Fenger parents on behalf of students on the grounds that the school was unsafe and the school Board did not allow students to transfer out of Fenger to safer and better performing schools.

                     Donald Fraynd

The 'Chief Officer for Turnaround' in Chicago's public schools is Donald Fraynd (above left), who has never taught in an inner city high school or served as principal of one. Fraynd came to Chicago from Madison Wisconsin to take a job as Principal of Jones College Prep High School, one of Chicago's elite high schools. When the Jones LSC reportedly began to have questions about Fraynd's stewardship, CPS promoted him to the Chief Officer for Turnaround job, newly created. According to Fenger staff, Fraynd and other CPS officials have let the staff know that they will be fired if they tell the truth about the Fenger disaster. Above, Fraynd (pronounced "friend") is testifying as to why Marshall High School should be subjected to "turnaround" at the February 1, 2010 hearing on Marshall. Beside Fraynd is CPS attorney Joseph Moriarity, who presented the Board's "case" against Marshall. In the background (left) is Ryan Crosby, who presents the "data" supporting this year's CPS closings, turnarounds, and other attacks on schools. On the right is Stephen Glombicki, who assures the hearing officer that CPS Office of Safety and Security will make sure that everyone is safe while "turnaround" goes on. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.

In Testimony during another school closing hearing in 2010 there was again warnings of increased violence that would be worse than what happened at Fenger.

It took a lawsuit by parents to allow their children to transfer to better performing schools

Ten Fenger High School students -- who have not attended the Far South Side school since the fatal beating of 16-year-old Derrion Albert -- will be allowed to transfer immediately, the students’ attorney said Tuesday.

The decision came following a settlement conference in U.S. District Court on Tuesday morning, according to attorney Christopher Cooper. The students can transfer immediately to one of four schools: Carver Military Academy, Morgan Park Academy, Lincoln Park Academy or Julian High School. All are located on the Far South Side except for Lincoln Park.

The students, ranging in age from 14-18, filed a civil suit on Nov. 10 against CPS, claiming they were being deprived of their constitutional right to a public education and could not attend Fenger because it was “too dangerous.”

Although the transfers were approved, Cooper said the case continues on the basis of whether any constitutional rights are being violated.
Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com/...

Derrion’s video recorded death prompted the latest round of violence at Fenger H.S. that has not ceased since the afternoon that 16 year-old Derrion was savagely beaten to death with nail-spiked railroad boards as he left Fenger H.S. Plaintiffs state that they fear for their lives and that school officials have refused to allow plaintiffs promised transfers from the Fenger High to other public high schools.
Fenger Students vs. Chicago Public Schools

History of School Closings Behind Fenger Violence

Carver Area High School, at 13100 S. Doty Ave., which had served children from the Altgeld Gardens public housing project on Chicago’s far south side, was closed as a general high school and turned into “Carver Military Academy” three years ago. Carver now rejects students who do not want to take part in its military program.

Calumet High School, at 8131 S. May St., was ordered to stop admitting 9th graders in September 2004. Calumet was closed as a general high school by Arne Duncan after graduating its final class in June 2007. The Calumet building, after a $20 million rehab, was given by the Chicago Board of Education to the Perspectives Charter Schools. Perspectives now operates three charter schools within the building, which is called its “Calumet Campus.” Two of the Perspectives charter schools are high schools, and one is a middle school. Perspectives requires students to apply for admission and routinely gets rid of students who fail to follow the rules of Perspectives.

Perspectives administrators also pride themselves in rejecting calls to the Chicago Police Department, as has been reported previously in Substance and at www.substancenews.net. According to one former Perspectives teacher who left Perspectives and who testified at the January 10, 2009, hearing sponsored by CORE at Malcolm X College, Perspectives administrators have told the staff that the police oppress youth in the community.

                  Akisha Craven

Area 19 "Chief Area Officer" Akisha Craven (above left) was one of those who testified that Marshall High School had to be subjected to "turnaround" at the February 1, 2010 hearing. Like the others who represented the Chicago Board of Education, Craven said that the turnaround was necessary for the sake of the students. As usual, Craven delivered a prepared text from the Board of Education's binder, presented at each of the hearings. According to what Craven read into the record, CPS has the experience through the "Office of School Turnaround" to do successful turnaround at Marshall, just as it has allegedly done at Harper High School and Fenger High School. Craven was elevated to her CAO job despite the fact that she had less teaching or local school (principal) administrative experience than the average Marshall High School staff members. At Craven's side, above, is Ryan Crosby, who currently introduces himself as "Director of Performance Management." Crosby's experience and credentials are similar to those of Craven. Because the hearings do not allow cross examination of the witnesses sent up by the Board to destroy the reputations of school teachers and principals, no one was able to question, in the record, the lack of qualifications of either Craven or Crosby. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.

Englewood High School, located at 6201 S. Stewart Ave., was closed as a general high school (by stopping taking 9th graders in 2005) and graduated its last general high school class in June 2008. Englewood “campus” now houses the widely publicized “Urban Prep” charter high school and a smaller public high school (‘Team Englewood”) on its so-called “campus.”Complete Story - Fenger High School tragedy caused by 'New Schools,' and 'turnaround' policies

A Fenger Staff Member Speaks
The following was written by a staff member from within Chicago's 'Fenger Turnaround High School.' As the author explains, the new administration’s priority — far beyond the safety and education of the students — has been complete media control. The staff has been threatened with their jobs should they tell truthful stories from within Fenger. As a result, the whistleblower in this case has elected to hide their identity. We have confirmed, according to our procedures at Substance the identity of the writer, a teacher presently at Chicago's Christian Fenger "Turnaround" High School.

It has been stated that the Turn-Around Team at Fenger High School already judges itself a success. On October 30th at Orr High School, Mayor Daley himself insisted, “Fenger has a very good principal and it’s a very good school” just a month after Derrion Albert’s murder and even while Fenger has been mired in violence, corruption and mismanagement.

But our administration and city leadership judge it as a success because it has achieved compliance from its staff members. Not one of us has spoken out in the midst of the chaos and tragedy that have occurred and, so it is said, there is a feeling of victory over Fenger. No one has spoken: not upon the death of a student, which reached the public with full force, or upon the small deaths that are experienced daily within our silent walls.

Because of the unearned victory that is being claimed it is necessary that a voice reach beyond our walls, beyond the mandated silence imposed by the administration, that it might stand as a caution to this new “trend” (of anti-community turnaround) that is sweeping our nation. Even after what has happened in Chicago, the Chicago Public Schools Board of Education continues to push forward attempting to Turnaround both Marshall and Phillips this year. I cannot speak for those beyond Fenger’s walls. Perhaps there are ways of “turning around” a school that have been truly successful. It is possible.

I can only speak for Fenger and the rumblings coming from Harper High School. May these voices be heard: Turnaround has failed in Chicago.

We saw one testimony of its failure on Fox News the night after Derrion was killed. The fight and beating and all the violence and injustice done to our children since were not caused entirely by Turnaround, but speak of its utter inability to meet the needs of our students. Actual ill treatment of children speaks louder than lofty claims to the contrary. It speaks of the complete lack of care by so many of our city’s powerbrokers towards our community and other poor minority communities.

What else but a flippant lack of care stopped the bussing of students from Altgeld Gardens to Fenger and back again only a year after turning Carver into the selective enrollment military academy that it is today?

The District knew the danger it placed these students in and pacified both communities with that year of bussing and then dropped such a financial burden into our streets, which became a hotbed for fights like the one that caught up Derrion. It was spit upon our faces when Mayor Daley aired his call for an end to violence on TV while failing to provide enough police presence to stop or bring real justice to any of these fights.

The students, teachers and parents of our community were then slapped across our spit-damp faces with the appearance of police in our school corridors later that month. In incidents in late October, the officers moved through our students as if they were on the street. A lunchroom fight became pure chaos as billy clubs, fists, tazors and handcuffs came out. There was no evidence of the de-escalation training the Fenger staff had received the previous year. (But then, none of the adults making decisions had been in the building during that year.) Children who did not answer directions with a, “yes suh,” or “yes ma’am,” were thrown down and handcuffed.

Five students were arrested after at least a dozen fights broke out at Fenger High School today, 10 of them in the lunchroom alone.
www.chicagobreakingnews.com

As I watched a 90-some pound boy being handcuffed and led away after reacting with frustrated confusion when not allowed down the hall to his class, I realized how painfully alive the realities of the Harvard Civil Rights Project are. Our schools are back to the 1950’s in many ways. Beyond the violence is a complete and utter lack of the expertise and desire to run a school. While — as has been publicized heavily at Harper High School — hall sweeps are going well. This is the only bright spot in the administrative program. The extra resources that every school in the city should be receiving have been squandered. The administration actually approached a used textbook vendor and sold books only to rebuy them for more than the price at which they were sold.

The social studies department paid an outside vendor to produce four years worth of curriculum and only received the same curriculum for all four years, rearranged to be taught in a different order. To avoid the fact that a portion of our new staff are not certified in the area they are teaching, we have switched to general “Social Studies 1-4” so that we appear to be NCLB compliant. The first unit was on race, so we had a nearly all white group of inexperienced teachers teaching Fenger students about the mechanics of race with predictable results.

We have waited months for the vital teaching materials that our students need, but the exterior of the building had thousands poured into it from the first day. New trees were ready for the new year, but we as staff were asked to volunteer to remove lead paint from our classrooms or simply endure it. We received double the English books, but did not have adequate math books for much of the school year.

What else but a flippant carelessness would have allowed the powers that be to nod at a school like Fenger — its size, heated gang rivalry and painfully impoverished student body — and say, “Yeah, why not give ‘er a try. See what you can do with it. Keep good numbers so we know if our experiment worked”?

Are the voices in our community loud enough to count as a cry of dissent that will check the wave of turn-around plans rolling out across the nation? Does our pain speak loud enough that no other community will have to suffer such a placebo experiment? To ensure that no other child desperate for a future outside of poverty be treated as expendable to those who have never held a twenty-year-old textbook or Link card. Subtle racism and overt classism allow it to be so here in the Windy City. May our experience reveal this reality and, as in the days of Malcolm X and King, appeal to the humanity of those in power who stand with their feet upon our necks. May our nation understand and be wise in the manifestation of the Turnaround in each of her towns and cities that are affected. We must understand and remember the failure of the Fenger turnaround and firmly proclaim, “Never again.”

Fenger High School has been Turned Around. There shall be no more trust in the administration to work with you or for you. There shall be no more appreciation for the work you do inside or outside the classroom that did not come in the job description.

You are a young White teacher. Why would you not work your fingers to the bone? We hired you to save these Black kids. Teach them (as best you can, you new college graduates, you) and then pour your all into them. You are expected to burn out after three to five years. That’s all we need you for. After that, there are younger ones to come and you can return to your suburban life with your conscience clean. You are not really expected to empathize with the students. Just please feel sorry for them and pass them so that our on-track numbers go up. After all, the goal (achieved and nurtured) was to bring in hundreds of you young white, middle-classed green professionals. You, who will lie down as the contract is raped before you, will not say no to any of the most absurd demands. Soak yourself in the guilt of being White. We want you to need the administration to bestow upon thee favors.

Experience is not appreciated. It endangers the absolute authority of a group of leaders floundering in their lack of administrative training and experience. It’s okay if our students miss the chance to apply for the maximum college funding. Just please smile and admire your bosses who hold before your blue eyes the ideals of a just society, where the white man has finally raised the black child to his level. Dream with them of the change that your presence can bring to the lives of your black students, but do not count on consistent discipline or quality curriculum. Please manage your classroom with your smile. Please do not question those above you. Live in the uncertainty of someone’s mood deciding the life of your next project or competition.

Do not mention the lack of supplies.

All equipment was removed from your classrooms to make way for the newest technology that our poor, black students deserve. How dare you complain that the flat screen TVs and LCD projects only began to arrive in December! Changing a school takes time. Be patient. After all, it is not as if we are running a company. You are in a poor ghetto school (that we are changing!); get over it. Let your frustration simmer over the weekend. Your students are Black ghetto kids. No one is going to care even if you would complain. No one really cares.

“These people are playing with kids’ lives.”
http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/...

Was that not made clear the minute you realized that those handling the money and structure of the school had no credit history in their career to fall back on? Give the administration a break. They have never run a school like Fenger before. Have patience for the one who orders those TVs. Did the trees not get delivered this summer? The TVs will come. Our leader’s lack of any business and educational sense makes her job all that more difficult. Just be patient. It is okay to mess up inside our walls. Just be quiet so no one knows. We rely on the hope that no one will come asking after the welfare of these Black south side kids. Did you not read the books we gave you? They made it clear that everyone except us white people in Fenger are racist. You need to be here to save these kids and work extra hard because they are Black and you owe it to them – you white middle-class teacher. Watch Freedom Writers again. Be that. Save these kids. Do not go to their homes. Do not go to their block parties. Do not trust their families. It is too dangerous. Save them from it all.

Original Article Published February 09, 2010
A Fenger Staff Member Speaks @ www.substancenews.net

Murder of Derrion Albert, Chicago's Fenger High School tragedy caused in major part by Chicago's school closing, 'New Schools,' and 'turnaround' policies
http://www.substancenews.net/...

After the 2009 closing continued the stories of violence came in as an omen to the murder that was to be video taped on September 24, 2009.

2011

March 21, 2011

In Chicago, nearly 700 children were hit by gunfire last year — an average of almost two a day — and 66 of them died.

"We live in a city, and in communities, where we have students who are exposed to extraordinary risks in their lives," says Terry Mazany, acting CEO of Chicago Public Schools. "We play a particular role in where we see that we can help to assure the safety and well-being of a young person. That's important."

2010

Violence Inside Chicago High Schools Up Nearly 20%: Catalyst
In the past year, violent incidents inside or on the grounds of Chicago's high schools rose by almost 20 percent, with students committing aggravated battery, drug-related offenses and fights with staff at an alarming clip.

Fenger High(turnaround), for example, has had a high rate of code violations for a number of years, but the rate has soared over the past two years. In 2006-2007, the rate was 16 for every 100 students; last year, it rose to 25.3.

The two turnaround high schools also have not been immune to problems. Harper High in Englewood saw a big jump, from 18 per 100 students to nearly 40. Meanwhile, Orr had a rate of 20 per 100. (It is harder to look at the change in the rate at Orr, which until last year was three separate schools.)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

Walking To School In A War Zone: A Look At School Violence In Chicago
First Posted: 10/20/10
For 16-year-old Kendall, a high school sophomore in a dangerous Chicago neighborhood, just surviving the two-mile walk to school is an accomplishment.

Kendall lives in an area riddled with violence, where guns on school grounds are common and students are killed walking to and from the high school.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

2009

27 Chicago Public School Students Killed This Year, Already Tops Last Year's Total

First Posted: 4/12/09
Chicago Public Schools officials updated their tally of students killed by violence during the 2008-2009 school year to 27 students, the Tribune's Carlos Sadovi reports. The current total means more pupils have been killed during the current school year than in all of the 2007-2008 school year.

The overlooked student was Clemente High School 9th grader Devour Robinson. The 17-year-old died Nov. 14, days after being found shot in his Humboldt Park Home, according to the Tribune.

A CPS spokeswoman says police notified schools officials about Robinson today.

With about three months left in the current school year, the number of Chicago Public School students slain has reached 26, matching the total for all of last school year.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

All was predicted as early as 2006 and now mayor 1% and dunkin donuts want to continue the murder experiment.

2008

A Closer Look at Violence in Chicago
April 24, 2008 12:41 AM
Last weekend, 36 people were shot in Chicago, and 13 of the victims were Chicago Public Schools students. This school year alone, more than 20 CPS students have been fatally shot.
http://blogs.edweek.org/...

2007
                 

2006
               March 12, 2006 news conference

March 13, 2006. A dramatic press conference at the headquarters of the Chicago Teachers Union allowed two students who had been brutally attacked at their schools and teachers from some of the schools affected by the school closings and resultant gang problems to speak to the press. The temporary attention paid to the problem had no impact on the policies of the Chicago Board of Education, however, and by the time the 2006-2007 school year opened in September 2006, the addition of the closing of 9th grade at Collins High School had added to the pressure on the remaining general high schools, which receive all of the problems. Susbtance photo by George N. Schmidt.

You Murdered That Kid (School Closing Testimony - Feb. 10, 2010)

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anastasia p, Oh Mary Oh, esquimaux

    Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach. -Aristotle

    by Hyde Park Johnny on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 05:30:02 AM PST

  •  If he were murdered at a non-turnaround school (0+ / 0-)

    ...I doubt you'd be diarying about it.

    But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

    by Rich in PA on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 05:41:44 AM PST

    •  Rich, you are missing the problem (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh, esquimaux, slatsg

      which is real, no matter how you want to dismiss it. "Turnaround" is part of the process of shutting schools willy-nilly, which then forces kids into other schools – and in the city that often means hostile territory where kids and gangs are extremely turf conscious. This has been much discussed here in Cleveland too. When kids have to travel distances to go to schools is different neighborhoods in the inner city, they are in often in danger. In addition, stripping a school of people who understand its culture and know many of the kids leaves everybody at sea.

      Your sniffy dismissal of this diary is very much in line with your other comments on public education, but not very helpful.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 06:11:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  turnaround murdered albert (0+ / 0-)

      This is a fact. the policies of the Chicago Board of Education murdered albert and hundreds of other students including six from the school i worked at.

      anyone that allows government malfeasance to murder black and brown youth or bellives that those that fight such injustice are somehow misguided is just as bad as those that pull the trigger

      anyone that looks at your comments and posts [Rich in PA] can see you are a troll

      Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach. -Aristotle

      by Hyde Park Johnny on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 12:39:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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