major media outlets and evidence is now pouring in showing the extensive nature of the push to bust the Chicago Teachers Union by Mayor 1% and his preacher buddies.
As the final barrage of hearings on the schools closings and turnarounds begins taking place during the week of January 23, 2012 (with a major emphasis on the Board of Education's January 25 meeting at 125 S. Clark St.), Chicago's education reporters are taking a more active interest in the "Rent A Protest" story Substance began covering with Rahm Emanuel's Preacher Breakfast at Sox Park on August 25, 2011.
On Tuesday evening, January 24, 2012, Chicago's WGN TV ran a lengthy story about the Rent A Protest, focusing on the protesters who showed up at the hearings on the closing of Dyett High School on January 20, the snowy night when many people thought the hearings had been cancelled because CPS had cancelled everything else. The URL for the WGN story is http://www.wgntv.com/...
On the morning of January 24, 2012, the Chicago Sun-Times touted its own "exclusive" story on the Rent A Protests with a front page photograph of one of the protesters, a young man who had commented two weeks earlier revealing the price of the protests at Substance. The Sun-Times "exclusive" caught the attention of many readers, and featured the Rev. Roosevelt Watkins, who was named in the Substance coverage of the Crane High School hearings from January 6. Watkins was the person who organized the buses that brought the Rent A Protesters to Crane that night.
First Reported on Substance News and here on DailyKos
- Rahm Caught Red Handed By State Officials
- 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 say they got paid to protest, back closing Chicago schools
Always contentious hearings on whether to close failing Chicago schools have taken a bizarre twist this year with charges that cash-strapped residents were hired as “rent-a-protesters” and given pre-made signs and pre-crafted scripts to support school shakeups.
Two men told the Chicago Sun-Times they showed up to apply for financial help with their energy bills at the Englewood office of the HOPE Organization headed by Rev. Roosevelt Watkins III, only to be offered money to attend school-related “rallies” held Jan. 6. Watkins denies they were paid to protest, saying money paid was for training.
Both protesters said they didn’t realize until the last minute that they were supposed to support school closings. One said he was promised $50 to speak at a rally “for schools,” but was stiffed $25 after Watkins complained he had publicly revealed at the hearing he was “compensated” for speaking.
“I don’t want the $25 he owes me,” Thaddeus Scott, 35, told the Sun-Times. “He can keep his dirty money. You can quote that.
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.
Ministers call paying protesters unusual
We don’t pay people for training,” said the Rev. Alvin Love of Lilydale First Baptist Church. In fact, “Many people who go to training pay to go.”
But to pay people just to show up at a hearing — as two protesters alleged — “That’s kind of carpetbagging. We don’t do that kind of thing,” Love said.
Love and the Rev. Larry Roberts of Trinity All Nations Church reacted to a report Tuesday in the Chicago Sun-Times in which two men said they were duped into going to recent school closing hearings by the lure of money.
Both said they were offered $25 to attend school-related rallies while trying to get energy-bill assistance at the Englewood office of the HOPE Organization headed by the Rev. Roosevelt Watkins of Bethlehem Star M.B. Church. One of the protesters, Thaddeus Scott, said he was promised an extra $25 to speak and handed a script at the last minute.
Watkins, whose HOPE Organization has won nearly $1.47 million in Chicago Public School contracts since 2010, is among a coalition of pastors who have supported Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s call for a longer school day.
Paid to protest?
Bus loads of protesters appear at closings
A WGN-TV camera captured busloads of people heading to a public hearing last week. It was one of several this year held to debate the CPS plan to close underachieving schools.
Chicago Public School officials deny they're behind a "rent-a-protester" campaign to push Mayor Emanuel's reform agenda.
An education blogger and former teacher, George Schmidt said a protester at another hearing admitted he got paid.
Mayor 1% responds to rented protestors claim
and gets testy.
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
Renaissance 2010 On the Frontlines from educator on Vimeo.