The July 2014 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.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel ignores public schools, privatizes pre-kindergarten through 'Early Learning Centers'

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel continued to privatize as many public education services as possible by announcing that "Early Learning Centers" for pre-kindergarten educational activities will be privately placed, rather than placed inside the city's existing . . .


RAHMWATCH: 'Chicago Mayor kisses babies, shows love of Bronzeville!' could be the headline... Rahm doubles down over the weekend with two publicity stunts on South Side and the usual photo ops with African American children ... But no 'media availability'!

Chicago's mayor, Rahm Emanuel, must have studied propaganda by reading some of the masterpieces of the last century. He has virtually stopped talking to most reporters while having his taxpayer-paid City Hall press handlers ("The . . .


Chicagoans prepare to take back their city: A view from the West Side... Community meetings pushing organizing agenda forward towards upcoming elections

“Imagine what a community would look like that you and your children deserve -- and what are you willing to do to bring that to fruition?” Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) activist Tara Stamps said. CTU . . .


BOARDWATCH: Of course a career that includes working for Kaplan Higher Education and other corporations prepares a guy to become the new CPS 'Chief Communications Officer'

The Board of Education was explaining at its July 23, 2014 meeting how it didn't have the dollars to pay for teachers in the city's real public schools, while parents, teachers, and others who actually . . .


Do CPS 'College Readiness' bureaucrats get a paid day off for Bastille Day?... Chicago Public Schools can't even find the phone number for its vocational and 'career' programs, let alone provide a list of schools' offerings to a caller

In the last month, the Tribune Business Section had at least two articles by two different writers describing the thousands of jobs for workers in skilled areas as drafting, machinery, electronics, and others. In its . . .


RAHMWATCH: Taxpayers are paying for every iteration of 'Rahm's Rainbow' as faux news stories pour out of the Mayor's Press Office. They come complete with photographs of Rahm Emanuel surrounded by (usually) smiling African American women and children

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is sparing now expense to show the world that every day he is engaged in uplifting Chicago with worthy projects, and that he is surrounded by African American people -- usually . . .


Brown v. Board Of Education at 60: Will we ever achieve compliance?

“The night the 1954 Brown decision to desegregate schools was announced, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund threw a party. Future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who had worked on the case was reported to have . . .


A Teacher’s Lifeline: The AFT Common Core Horoscope...

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will continue to support the promise of CCSS. . . --AFT delegates, Los Angeles July 2014 ... "[W]e will continue to support the promise and potential of these . . .


AFT 2014 CONVENTION REPORT: Common Core debate is heated, but the vote is a foregone conclusion

AFT14 Report - Common Core Debate - Epic Battle Between Chicago/CORE and UFT/Unity. PHOTO: The great Sarah Chambers nails them to the wall opposing Common Core ..... Watch it live: bit.ly/1wbeSZG... Gloria in visitor's . . .


AFT CONVENTION UPDATE: Randi told the press she'd 'let the members decide' on whether to vote to dump Arne Duncan...

As the word spread through the AFT convention that delegates were going to demand that the convention vote on a resolution calling on Arne Duncan to resigns -- as the NEA had earlier in the . . .


AFT CONVENTION NEWS AND ANALYSIS: Do AFT locals need an anti-bullying contract clause when facing national leaders? Randi's 'You're more beautiful when you're angry' smiles fall flat when dozens of her 'thugs' push, shove and manipulate the physical spaces in both Common Core debates

44-25. RESPECTFUL WORKING ENVIRONMENT. The following behaviors are inconsistent with a respectful working environment and are impressible: (a) verbal abuse, which includes, but is not limited ot, obseene, threatening, humiliating or intimidating language; and (b) . . .


AFT CONVENTION REPORT... Norm's Notes... EdNotes for Saturday July 12, 2014 AFT convention. AFT is going to debate a resolution of 'no confidence' in Arne Duncan while Chicago continues to battle the Unity tsunami over the Common Core... and other things

[Editor's Note, by George N. Schmidt. Substance will be updating our convention reports from the American Federation of Teachers convention here in Los Angeles with reporting from several of our regular reporters, and when time . . .


In Chicago, the John Galt fan clubs learn there is such a thing as a free lunch... Billionaires' Babies' Breakfasts -- and lunches -- are now free thanks to Barbara Byrd Bennett's Bullshit

Since one of the plutocrats let another cat out of the bag when he compared the current wave of anger and criticism at the privileges of the plutocracy to Nazism, some of us in Chicago . . .


The end of Arne would be a 'game changer...' as far as cliches are concerned, even if the policies of the Obama administration stay the same

[Editor's Note: One of the better questions during the past couple of weeks is what happens after Arne Duncan becomes too big a liability for Barack Obama and is cast aside, like so many before . . .


RAHMWATCH: Fourth of July weekend publicity stunt at a South Side park highlights Rahm's methods of media manipulation and underlines the fact that he is afraid to go to a baseball game

Anyone who wanted a set-piece example of how Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is spending taxpayer dollars to promote himself and his "Emperor of Chicagoland" narrative had a good example on the Sunday of the July . . .


Common Core literary lessons... 'Common Core, light of my life, fire of my loins. . . . '

If the Business Roundtable, Bill Gates, and the US Department of Education had existed in the early 19th century, Jane Austen would have written: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that public school teachers must . . .


LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND RAHMLIES... Apparently, Arne Duncan and Rahm Emanuel never talked about the Chicago Public Schools budget while they were in the White House together with Barack Obama...

It's no wonder that Barbara Byrd Bennett and the current propagandists at the headquarters of America's third largest school system don't hold press conferences. Even though most education writers and reporters in Chicago are muzzled . . .


The high, sad, corrupt cost of Common Core + private contractors... Pearson's reign of error ignored as corporation's take now exceeds $1 billion per year from testing insanity

After New Mexico was added to the states that will be using Pearson tests (and grading) for their high-stakes testing programs, Diane Ravitch joined Fair Test to do two quick calculations about the high cost . . .


CPS Budget: Chicago Teachers Union is not the only group setting the record straight on the lies of the CPS administration about the FY 2015 budget... Hearing dates not yet scheduled, but three hearings are likely before the July 23 Board of Ed meeting...

It's great not to be lonely in analyzing the massive budget of Chicago Public Schools. While there have always been a few people going through the budget and then bringing their findings to the public, . . .


NEA delegates approve creation of national campaign for equity and against “Toxic Testing”... Campaign to focus on assessments and developing real accountability systems

According to a press release...

"DENVER—The National Education Association (NEA) will launch a national campaign to put the focus of assessments and accountability back on ensuring equity and supporting student learning and end the . . .


MEDIA WATCH: Hey, Chicago! Did you hear the one about the 'Pension Crisis'? Or THE PENSION CRISIS!!!! Well, if you didn't you haven't been listening to the Chicago Sun-Times version of reality...

Once again, on July 2, 2014, the current group of people running Chicago's public schools took their talking points to a select group of reporters (and editorial writers) in what amounted to a secret press . . .


LABOR BEAT: History's verdict is now in on the wars from Bush to Obama

A new Labor Beat video, "The Verdict on the Wars from Bush to Obama" is now available On YouTube at: http://youtu.be/npUGZDVitA4. The video is also archived at:laborbeat.org. And for teachers and others concerned with public . . .


MEDIA WATCH: New York Times continues to ignore widespread and growing opposition to 'Common Core' while creating 'news' that shows only a small minority in opposition

Ten days before the opening of the American Federation of Teachers convention in Los Angeles at which a central debate will be whether the AFT continues in mindless support of corporate school reform, so-called "standards," . . .


Bronzeville community continues fight for Dyett High School

It was obvious that the Bronzeville community’s vison for Dyett High School was different from that of the Chicago Public Schools and that CPS and Alderman Will Burns were not interested in hearing from the . . .


The Diane Ravitch Contradiction: Educators Should Rebel, but Be Nice When Addressing Oppressive Union Leaderships

[Editor's Note: The following commentary on the contradictions in recent Diane Ravitch blog postings went up at midnight and we thought should be shared before this afternoon's CORE meeting in Chicago. Those who wish to . . .


BOARDWATCH: Chicago's school board continues lies, while outrage explodes at the July 23 meeting. The $6.8 billion budget again increases money for charters (including those under federal FBI investigation) while continuing draining dollars from real public schools...

It has been months since all seven members of the Chicago Board of Education (all appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel) have been at a monthly meeting of the Board together. Considering that they only have . . .


BOARDWATCH: Chicago Board of Education meeting of July 23, 2014 highlighted by large public protests against budget lies before the Board doubles down and votes to approve its $6.8 billion budget for the 2014 - 2015 school year

The Chicago Board of Education began its July 23, 2014 meeting at a little after 10:30 a.m. The roll call showed that six of the seven members of the Board were present, along with "Chief . . .


BOARDWATCH: Alderman Fioretti questions why the Board is starving Monetfiore of students

[The following is the statement read today by Second Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti at the July 23, 2014 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. The statement and the letter from the Progressive Caucus of . . .


BOARDWATCH: Community -- through W.A.N.T. -- again asks CPS to stop expanding Passages charter school and subsidizing 'American Quality Schools'

[The following is the statement read on July 23, 2013 by Diane Daleiden at the monthly meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. The statement provided to Substance by the Ms. Deleiden and is reprinted . . .


ANALYSIS: What's behind the tough talk from the American Federation of Teachers and Randi Weingarten?

THE AMERICAN Federation of Teachers (AFT) leadership is straining to balance growing unrest among union members and their strategy of making concessions in the name of "partnership." That effort was on display at the union's . . .


BUDGET LIES AND LIARS -- That three quarters of a billion dollars that Rahm's people 'cut' from the CPS 'administrative' budget? David Vitale could tell you that it never existed -- if he checked his notes from 2006. Reminder -- If you're going to tell a lie, tell a whopper and repeat endlessly...

Eight years ago, as the first graphic with this article shows, the Chief Executive Officer of Chicago's public schools (Arne Duncan), the Chief Administrative Officer (at that time, David Vitale), and the Chief Financial Officer . . .


Kennedy King budget hearing July 16, 2014 show growing public resistance to CPS budget tales... Chicago in 2014 -- when one of the speakers asked kids at one elementary school what they wanted to be when they grew up, half of them answered 'Alive'

From approximately 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 31 speakers in an audience of approximately 100 signed up to mostly comment toward but also question Chicago Board of Education (BOE) Fiscal . . .


Malcolm X budget hearing on July 16, 2014 shows the arrogance of CPS executives in the face of real problems articulated despite the two-minute time limit by taxpayers and the community

It was obvious that people were angry at the same old same old reports given by the Board of Education and Tim Cwaley, who anchored the administrators' table in the front of the room during . . .


Wright College, July 16, 2014... Chicago Public Schools budget hearings continue on the path of mendacity first paved by Rahm Emanuel in 2011... use of security staff to stifle debate and enhance Rahm's police state atmosphere expands on schedule

On July 16, 2014, the nation's third largest public school system held its annual budget hearings, and once again, the public was insulted. A new group of (mostly young) bureaucrats smiled, thanked every critical speaker . . .


AFT convention approves special order of business in support of British Columbia teachers

Among the more than half dozen special orders of business passed by the American Federation of Teachers convention in Los Angeles was one supporting the British Columbia Teachers, who are facing a reactionary attack from . . .


New York votes dominate Common Core debate at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) convention as a majority of AFT delegates votes to continue critical support for Common Core ... AFT leadership has to deploy union officials to speak, while classroom teachers oppose Common Core

A mad dash for the microphones started when a United Federation of Teachers (UFT, New York City, Local 2 of the AFT), delegate began sprinting as the doors were opened for delegates to enter the . . .


American Federation of Teachers prepares to vote to continue support for Common Core

The 1.6-million-member American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which is meeting at its convention in Los Angeles this weekend, set the stage for a vote in favor of the Common Core during committee meetings on July . . .


Are the national teachers unions really ready to make a comeback against the neoliberal attacks on public education and unions?

[Editor's Note. The article below comes out as "Can the teachers' unions come back?" on July 10, 2014 at Socialist Worker -- http://socialistworker.org/2014/07/10/can-teachers-unions-rebound -- as Chicago's delegates head to Los Angeles for the convention of . . .


New York Times spins the 'news' on NEA's call for Duncan to resign... Headline doesn't even mention that Arne Duncan is the U.S. Secretary of Education picked by the President of the United States

[Editor's Note: As some readers have heard, the National Education Association voted at its Represenative Assembly (RA) to call for the resignation of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. A fuller report is at the . . .


The mayor's numbers game... After a deadly Fourth of July weekend, let's reflect on crime in Chicago using some public information that apparently the Attorney General missed

Reflecting back on a relaxing July 4th weekend listening to the bloodshed in the streets of Chicago, it was time for a little fact checking. At the time of writing (late night, Sunday July 6, . . .


MEDIA WATCH: Has the Sun-Times decided that Chicago's public schools are teaching their students raping?... July 6 headline and 'news' story -- '3 CPS students accused of robbing, raping girl' -- are a libel against everyone in the city's non-privatized remaining real public schools!

As the print circulation of the Chicago Sun-Times continues to drop, the newspaper's remaining readers are constantly challenged to deal with the incredible biases of those who own and run the city's second major daily . . .


NEA demands Arne Duncan's resignation

[Editor's Note: Teachers know that teacher unions are not junkets, but even with that reality the National Education Association's Representative Assemblies are hard working almost to a surprising amount. And so while most of us . . .


Independence Day: The full text of the Illinois Supreme Court decision in Kanerva v. Weems, the case that upholds the right under the Illinois Constitution to 'undiminished' public worker pensions and reaffirms that a contract in Illinois is a contract -- not subject to plutocratic plunder...

[Editor's Notes: How to celebrate Independence Day in Chicago in 2014? When the week began, it didn't look good in the courts. The reactionaries on the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled against the unions in . . .


'We may not rewrite the pension protection clause to include restrictions and limitations that the drafters did not express and the citizens of Illinois did not approve...' Illinois Supreme Court rules that public worker pensions -- and health benefits -- are protected by the Illinois Constitution

In a dramatic decision announced one day after the Chicago Public Schools resumed its campaign to renege on its obligation to fully fund worker pensions, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld a provision in the state's . . .


Have you heard the one about the 'one-time fix' that's been fixin' things for seven or ten years?... Chicago education officials again claim what they call a 'structural deficit'. What they mean is they are again refusing to raise taxes on the 'One percent' to pay for Chicago's schools

Every news organization in Chicago began trying, by the morning of July 3, 2014, to explain the latest Chicago Public Schools "budget" in which a "deficit" has once again disappeared, in which the mayor claims . . .


June 17 shooting near Taylor school challenges (among other things) concept of “Safe Passage” for school workers... Bullet whizzes through teacher's car on 'Safe Passage' route to mark the end of the school year... CPS stays it doesn't have to pay for repairs

Though not intentionally aimed at any Chicago Public Schools employees, the particular bullet that went through the teacher’s opened, back, driver’s side window, over her head, and out the front windshield did not make any . . .


'Harris v. Quinn' stings unions on agency fee, but is not as bad as some feared... Agency fee from freeloaders is not eliminated, but is carefully restricted... CTU quotes Martin Luther King Jr.

The Chicago Teachers Union immediately issued a statement following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Harris v. Quinn, and that statement is worth reading. Almost immediately after the ruling was announced, the Chicago Teachers Union . . .


BOARDWATCH: Chicago Board of Education June 25, 2014 meeting report

[Editor's Note: The following article is re-published here at substancenews.net so that our readers have the opportunity to get the full flavor of what took place during the June 25, 2014 meeting of the Chicago . . .


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)