The February 2015 Issue of Substance

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We were forced to suspend subscriptions to our print edition a year ago, and after wishing we could get back into print have finally admitted that we can only continue as an online publication. Therefore, readers can no longer subscribe to Substance on paper, but those who wish to donate will be thanked.

Bringing the War Back Home, Courtesy of the Chicago Police Department: “Black Site” Used in Chicago; Local Press 'Uninterested'

An explosive article about CPD’s use of a “black site” to hide, isolate and sometimes torture people in Chicago has just been published by Stuart Ackerman of “The Guardian” newspaper. (The full article is at . . .


RAHMWATCH: Mayor saves city from minor snowfall, orders all out effort to make sure every side street is plowed this time -- while making sure the TV cameras are watching him at Snow Command...

Not wanting to have the news reports once again showing that Chicago's side streets were left unplowed while the mayor's block and those of powerful city officials were cleared, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel stood on . . .


LETTER: Obama and reading tests... 'With the proposed reductions, there will still be plenty of tests, and they will still be administered online, a huge and ever-growing boondoggle that bleeds money from schools...'

In my e-mail today I received a note from President Obama which included this statement: "We need a better education plan -- one that cuts standardized testing to a bare minimum ...". Of course I . . .


Barack Obama's hypocrisy -- and ignorance of Chicago and union history -- was fully exposed as Rahm Emanuel is defeated. Even with the massive support -- and even a 'Bro Hug' from Obama -- Rahm was forced into a runoff scheduled for April 7.

In no local election in American history has the President of the United States come down from his throne to tout the candidacy of one candidates as did Barack Obama during the month before the . . .


Elected school board referendum shows 90 percent want the elected school board

Despite the tricks played by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his allies (especially Alderman Joe Moore) to block a major referendum on the elected school board in 2011, in 2015 the voting on the elected school . . .


CTU and community organizations celebrate victory forcing Rahm in to runoff, while preparing for April 7 defeat of Rahm and 'Rahmunism'

By the early morning hours of February 25, 2015, the Chicago Teachers Union and the majority of the others backing the candidacy of Jesus "Chuy" Garcia began preparing for the election campaign to defeat Rahm . . .


Early voting ends today -- February 21, 2015 -- so here are the locations of the 51 early voting sites

February 21, 2015, is the final day for early voting in Chicago. Election Day is February 24, 2015 (Tuesday, as usual) and voters are able to vote early. Voters don't need a reason or excuse . . .


It's almost over... for the mail delivery person who will be on Workers Compensation from lugging the anti (_______, fill in the blanks) ads from the Rahm people and Rahm's clones... to the materials asking for a vote for the candidates, from ward to City Hall... February 24, 2015 is ELECTION DAY!

Everyone in Chicago knows that the weekend before an election is the key time to complete your canvass (for your candidates), prepare your GOTV workers, tell the "minuses" on your canvass that the voting is . . .


Is it time to renew the 'nature versus nurture' debate? If so, can its beginning start with a discussion of keeping score by talking about 'smart people' and others....'For better or worse, rightfully or wrongfully, “intelligence” is the elephant in the classroom...'

No one will claim that Michael Jordan or Jahil Ochafor are not "gifted" as athletes specifically at least for playing basketball. And yet when it comes to discussing whether human children are endowed by virtue . . .


'Social Movement Unionism', 'Social Justice Unionism,' or some other understanding... Disentangling Theoretical Confusion within the Global Labor Movement

[Editor's Note: With the recent decision by the Washington Post, not generally a friend of labor unions, to feature a lengthy essay by Milwaukee's Bob Peterson, and the attempts by some in the Chicago Teachers . . .


DFER -- 'Democrats for Education Reform' -- is pouring millions of dishonest dollars into negative campaigning against City Council progressives like 45th Ward Alderman John Arena

It's been about five years since the multi-million-dollar group calling itself "Democrats for Education Reform" (DFER) first began, and almost as many years since the group first arrived in Illinois. DFER propagandists for charter schools . . .


BOOK REVIEW: How corrupt is Illinois?... '...between 1976 and 2012, the Northern District of Illinois (which includes Chicago) was the single jurisdiction responsible for the greatest number of corruption convictions in the country: there were 1,597 [federal corruption] convictions...'

Just released in time for the Chicago City elections, Corrupt Illinois is a must-read for anyone interested in politics and governance in this state, not only in Chicago, but especially the suburbs and across the . . .


LABOR BEAT: Climate Change and Capitalism: reflections on the 2014 Climate Convergence

The new Labor Beat video, Climate Change and Capitalism:, reflections on the 2014 Climate Convergence, is now available On YouTube at: http://youtu.be/A0I_QcVyYBM. It is also archived at:laborbeat.org. The movement over climate change continues to grow, . . .


RAHMWATCH: The hypocrisy of Barack Obama's support for Rahm Emanuel shows in the 'Historic Pullman' announcement as looming Rahm publicity stunt nears

The support for Rahm Emanuel by President Barack Obama in the 2011 Chicago municipal election was decisive in bringing in the vote from Chicago's African American wards for Rahm. Despite the fact that the candidacy . . .


BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Langston Hughes was more than 'a raisin in the sun'...

Better late than never, today Substance begins our Black History Month lessons for our readers to use and enjoy. And it's appropriate to begin with Langston Hughes, a great poet, activist, radical (a member of . . .


How do you spell 'unpaid overtime' for more than 1,500 teachers? 'Dynamic Learning Maps... 'of the 1572 educators with KITE Educator Portal accounts (the mechanism used to complete the training modules), only 220 teachers have taken and passed all seven modules. ...'

The the alphabet soup of pretentious acronyms at CPS (Chicago Public Schools) few are as pretentious and obnoxious as ODLSS -- the special education department. As most teachers and principals now know, the main criteria . . .


ILLINOIS HISTORY MONTH: Bruce Rauner's pick to head ISBE said in 2009 that the CTU is worse than Chicago's drug gangs! 'Chicago public schools have a gang problem... The gang is not the BDs… the GD's… the Vice Lords, or the Four Corner Hustlers. The gang is the Chicago Teachers Union!'

How reactionary is James Meeks, now President of the Illinois Board of Education? And how big a hypocrite is one of Chicago's most famous preachers? As Substance readers can learn by utilizing our "Back Issues" . . .


LETTER: Rice appointment to 'Foundation for Excellence in Education' is typical of ignorance requirement for a national position in 'education reform'...

The recent appointment of Condoleezza Rice (Ph.D, Political Science, former US Secretary of State) as chair of the Foundation for Excellence in Education shows that necessary qualifications for positions in educational policy still include (1) . . .


BOOK REVIEW: Hardhats, Hippies and Hawks: The Vietnam Antiwar Movement as Myth and Memory by Penny Lewis

Penny Lewis has written an important book about the Vietnam antiwar movement, challenging important myths and received memories that have affected US politics ever since. The myth—on which much “received wisdom” is based—is that it . . .


Oil Workers strike at several plants... Bosses now call scabs a 'work continuation plan'...

Oil Workers represented by the United Steelworkers of America have gone on strike at plants across the USA demanding better pay and benefits, and an end to the outsourcing of work at union facilities. The . . .


'Common Core' now on the bulls eye despite continued AFT support for so-called 'standards'!... Newark mayor supports Opt Out against PARCC as national Opt Out movement grows

Resistance to the neoliberal corporate "eduction reform" agenda continues to build across the USA with the news yesterday that Newark, New Jersey mayor Raz Baraka has called for support for parents who join the Opt . . .


RAHMWATCH: Rahm Emanuel is having his 'Michael Bilandic Moment'... While Rahm does photo ops at 'Snow Command' the side streets are dangerous and people will die because of Rahm's plowing and management failures

The fifth largest snow storm in Chicago history did not have to leave the mess that's confronting citizes across the city (except in the wealthiest communities). The danger that will leave some people dead has . . .


RAHMWATCH: Progressive Democrats finally realize Rahm is a reactionary Republican wearing a donkey suit as a disguise

With three weeks to go before the all-important February 24, 2015 Chicago municipal election, the "progressive" wing of the national Democratic Party has finally broken with the reactionary corporatist wing headed by President Barack Obama. . . .


ALDERMANIC RACES. Zerlina Smith tops incumbent Deborah Graham in the 29th Ward NAACP candidates' debate

Zerlina Smith got the most applause and incumbent Deborah Graham got the most boos at the January 25th Sunday forum held at the Greater St. John Bible Church on Chicago's far West Side. The NAACP . . .


BOARDWATCH: Veterans for Peace continues to criticize hypocrisy of Chicago for having America's most militarized school system

[Editor's Note: The following remarks were delivered to the Chicago Board of Education on January 28, 2015 as part of the Veterans for Peace campaign to remind the seven members of the Board that they . . .


UNITED OPT OUT: Corporate media coverage of the conference shows growing ruling class concern about test resistance

The surprising coverage of the recent United Opt Out conference in Florida is not significant for what it reports (most of the conference is ignored, including, for example, the important remarks by Stephen Krashen, reported . . .


BOARDWATCH: Chicago Board of Education meeting of February 25, 2015 continued the Board's privatization and charter school policies despite the verdicts of the February 24 municipal election against Rahm Emanuel and the massive vote for an elected school board!

The Chicago Board of Education held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, February 25, 2015, at 42 West Madison Street, the old Sears Loop Store, at the "Garden Level", which is now the small Board Meeting . . .


BOARDWATCH: 'The Board’s pro-business policy of moving essential health services to the private sector is not in the best interests of Chicago’s school children...' Nurses' testimony highlights dangers of privatization obsession of Rahm's appointed Board of Education.

[Editor's Note: Below is the written testimony prepared for presentation at the February 25, 2015 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education by veteran CPS nurse Helen Ramirez Odell. Not only did the Board members . . .


BOARDWATCH: Veterans for Peace continues to remind Rahm's Board of Education of the obscenity of CPS militarism

[Editor's Note: The following statement was delivered to the February 25, 2015 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education by Arny Stieber, a Vietnam veteran, who has repeatedly spoken at Board meetings in opposition to . . .


Rahm rejected... Chicago's mayor faces runoff despite massive corporate media and money blitzes... Mayor's millions and Hollywood propagandists fail to offset citizens' rage against 'Mayor One Percent'

Despite unprecedented support from the President of the United States and a campaign that spent more than $15 million to elect him, Chicago's neoliberal mayor, Rahm Emanuel, will face the end of his political career . . .


The arc of Justice? A look back at a mere four years at the Chicago Board of Education and in Chicago's public schools

The Chicago municipal elections are Feb 24, 2015. Don't we all hope that the "arc of educational justice" is bending away from corporate rule toward democracy? Don't we hope Rahm Emanuel has to face a . . .


Will Guzzardi versus Rauner's budget immorality

[Editor's Note: The statement below is the response of State Rep will Guzzardi to the budget speech by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. Rauner's complete speech, which we reported on last week at substancenews.net, can be . . .


The beginning of the most expensive municipal election in Chicago history... More than 50 mailings to one home in the 45th Ward during build up to the February 24 voting as Rahm and Rahm's surrogates try every slander to defeat a Progressive Caucus leader

There were days when our mailbox received four mailings on the upcoming municipal election. By February 23, after both my wife and I had voted early, our home had received 51 pieces of mail about . . .


Four of the five Mayoral Candidates Respond to Questionnaire Regarding Bi-lingual Education in CPS Schools— Mayor 1% Doesn’t Respond— Parent Mentors from Four Schools Discuss its Importance

Parent Mentors—people who work in schools to support students and teachers—in programs sponsored by the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) on the Northwest Side of Chicago got four of the five mayoral candidates to respond . . .


Fierce and angry responses to Rauner's budget speech as Illinois's billionaire gov'nor practices droppin' his final 'g's' while tryin' to sound like just another guy...

Anyone who listened to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's budget speech, as it was delivered (as I did) had to want to scream at the invocation of the memory of Abraham Lincoln, and Rauner's obscene attempt . . .


We Need Syriza in Illinois... When a millionaire governor decrees austerity, it’s time for the left to step up.

[The following article by Jane McAlevey has been published in The Nation, February 16, 2015 and is reprinted here with permission of the author. Jane McAlevey's book ("Raising Expectations and Raising Hell, my Decade Fighting . . .


'Zero to 50' challenged as grade inflation -- or perhaps, fraud... Question of grading policy and increased graduation rates in CPS

A cynic might say there are at least two ways to do anything: the right way and the "Chicago Way." When educators want children to do better, they usually reward good work, set reasonable standards . . .


Plutocrat and the candidate of the plutocracy... Rahm Emanuel: Campaign Donors Get Shadowy No-Contract Payouts From Chicago... 'DVP payments do not even require a formal contract, so it is impossible to verify what the money purchased...'

In 2006, then-Congressman Rahm Emanuel attacked his Republican colleagues for oversight failures, focusing in particular on the awarding of a $7 billion no-bid contract to Halliburton, which had for a time been headed by Dick . . .


ALDERMANIC RACES: 33rd Ward race heating up... Meegan stronger in polls as Deb Mell can't get it together

A major independent poll of the 33rd ward (Albany Park, Avondale, Ravenswood Manor) race came out yesterday and doesn't look like good news for the continuation of the Mells' four-decade reign. It should be an . . .


Quazzo's sanctimonious corruption serves as a dramatic example of the failure of Rahm's appointed Board... Ten reasons for an elected school board... Raise Your Hand outlines the reasons for the elected schools as voting begins on February 9, 2015...

As voting begins (early voting began on February 9), Chicago voters in 37 wards are able to vote in favor of the elected school board -- finally. Although the actual decision on whether Chicago eventually . . .


Broad Foundation suspends $1-million prize for urban public school districts, claiming real public schools are a complete failure and all-charter districts are the answer

The Broad Foundation, run by 81-year-old Eli Broad, has suspended its annual "Broad Prize for Urban School Districts." The prize, which was lusted after but never won by Chicago Public Schools, was awarded to other . . .


RAHMWATCH: January 2015 -- Murders up 30% and Shootings up 41 percent. If this were 'The Wire' corporate media would be talking about 'juking the stats' instead of urging voters to return Rahm to the Fifth Floor

January 2015: Murders rate is up 29.2% from 24 Homicides in January 2014 to 31 homicides in January 2015. Additionally to corroborate the increasing violent crime rate in Chicago there were 149 shooting victims in . . .


How much propaganda can ISBE continue on behalf of PARCC nonsense? Raise Your Hand challenges ISBE over PARCC claims, basically calling Meeks and Koch liars

The Raise Your Hand coalition has issued a statement challenging the claims by the Illinois Board of Education (ISBE) over the PARCC claims. The "Raise Your Hand" coalition has emerged since its founding three years . . .


Karen Lewis at City Club February 2 despite the blizzard... Releases new manifesto on how Chicago will be while noting full support for Chuy and readiness to continue challenging the plutocrats from Rauner and Rahm to Wall Street...

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis spoke as expected keeping her commitment to speak at the City Club on Monday, February 2, 2015, despite the blizzard. As of the morning of February 2, with the . . .


IEA's Chicago members -- 5,000 strong -- endorse both Bob Fioretti and Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia in latest news at February 24 municipal election draws nearer

The news that the Illinois Education Association, or at least the members of that group in Chicago, was endorsing both major opponents to Rahm Emanuel arrived on February 3, 2015 as Chicago continued digging out . . .


BOARDWATCH. Squeezing out the public and the press.. Board Chambers designed as an insult to the public and the press.... 'News' coverage is forced to photograph the smiling faces of the Board members while speakers critical of the Board are only seen from the backs of their heads

While each month the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education regale the TV cameras with their scripted lessons about the "true facts" (which only they possess, no matter how precise their critics become), . . .


RAHMWATCH: That $30 million campaign fund is apparently not enough, as Rahm uses taxpayer money to push his ever-ready image with 'Snow Command' propaganda story

Most registered voters have already received two or three mailings from the Rahm Emanuel campaign reminding us that a quarter century ago, while Chicago's 2015 mayor far away from the USA, a young alderman voted . . .


We were forced to suspend subscriptions to our print edition a year ago, and after wishing we could get back into print have finally admitted that we can only continue as an online publication. Therefore, readers can no longer subscribe to Substance on paper, but those who wish to donate will be thanked.

Contact Substance | Suggestions (email)