Yes, schoolchildren in Chicago are victims, but not of their teachers. They are victims of a nationwide education “reform” movement geared to undermine teachers’ unions and shift public resources into private hands; they are victims of wave after wave of ill-conceived and failing policy “innovations”; they are victims of George Bush’s No Child Left Behind law, which turned inner-city public schools into boot camps for standardized test prep; they are victims of Barack Obama’s Race to the Top program, which paid states to use student test scores—a highly unreliable tool—for teacher evaluations and to lift caps on the number of privately managed charter schools, thus draining resources from public schools. Chicago’s children are victims of “mayoral control,” which allows Rahm Emanuel to run the school system, bully parents and teachers, and appoint a Board of Education dominated by corporate executives and political donors.
The city’s current reform wave began in 2004 with Mayor Richard Daley’s Renaissance 2010—a massive program, funded in part by $90 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to transform the city’s schools by 2010. The strategy included firing and replacing entire staffs in low-income neighborhood schools, shutting down dozens of schools, and setting up charter schools. When reckoning day came, here is what the Chicago Tribune reported:Six years after Mayor Richard Daley launched a bold initiative to close down and remake failing schools, Renaissance 2010 has done little to improve the educational performance of the city’s school system, according to a Tribune analysis of 2009 state test data.Given the failed reforms, the rational next step would have been to change course. Instead, Rahm Emanuel, shortly before confirming his candidacy for mayor, declared support for doubling down on Daley’s education strategy.
…The moribund test scores follow other less than enthusiastic findings about Renaissance 2010—that displaced students ended up mostly in other low performing schools and that mass closings led to youth violence as rival gang members ended up in the same classrooms. Together, they suggest the initiative hasn’t lived up to its promise by this, its target year.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2009—Beck's GOP, David Vitter, and prostitutes:
Glenn Beck (who is in the process of supplanting Rush Limbaugh as the de facto head of the GOP if he hasn't taken the title already) has spent the last week working himself up over a video showing an obscure former ACORN employee teaching some yokels posing sex workers how to avoid taxes. (Who knew that Glenn beck thought it was important to pay taxes, eh?)
The thing is that Beck's little obsession is putting David "Diapers" Vitter into a really uncomfortable position. You see, Vitter fancies himself to be ACORN's leading critic in the U.S. Senate. But the problem is that Vitter has got a little illegal prostitution problem of his own ...
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