The April 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.

A LIST competition expands and grows more intense as Substance broadens criteria for the award... 'Not all Network Chiefs are A_______ -- just the majority'

Within two days after Substance published the first of our monthly recognitions of self-important semi-competents at the top levels of administrative power in CPS, the A LIST, we began hearing that we had been unfair . . .


TURNAROUND WORLD: In CPS turnaround world, 2 + 2 equals 6, or 66, or WTF as Babara Byrd Bennett and Rahm's minions vote to do whatever they want, and 'independent hearing officers' can remain on the gravy train for two decades -- as long as they rubber stamp what CPS wants

As students of CPS history know, the first hearings on "reconstitution" (now called "turnaround" but legally still "reconstitution") were held back in 1997 -- nearly two decades ago -- and the first hearing officer to . . .


BOARDWATCH: 'All advance registration speaker slots are filled...' nine days before the Board of Education meeting even begins, Rahm's Board members continue attack on democracy and decency

It was a full nine days until the April 23, 2014 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education, but when I went to the sign in screens at cps.edu on April 14, 2014, the registration . . .


'Chief' Saegert tops 'A LIST' for April 2014... Micro managing classroom instruction while still learning her way around her new home city, Rhonda Saegert brings crazed bureaucratization of teaching the little ones to a new gritty peak of inanity

The competition was still for the first monthly "A LIST" award to CPS bureaucrats, but after reviewing the entries for April 2014, the judges found that Rhonda Saegert, the "Chief" for "Network 10," had won . . .


Labor Notes conference was a big success... On privatization of public services -- 'Before you can destroy it, and move in for the kill, you have to undermine it and degrade it.'

Speech excerpts from the Friday evening and Saturday morning plenaries of the April 4-6, 2014 Labor Notes Conference in Chicago are now available in a Labor Notes video. And before the speeches begin, a . . .


Data-- The Devil is in the Overview AND the Details

Elsewhere [and see below], I've deconstructed Arne Duncan's presentation of the 2015 Education Budget to the House Subcommittee on Appropriations. Here, I bring notice to the phraseology Duncan uses to present the numbers. . . . .


MEDIA WATCH: 'Chicagoland makes a kind of neoliberal action hero out of Rahm Emanuel...' Black Agenda Report takes on the crude propaganda of 'Chicagoland'... CNN's Chicagoland: An 8 Part Miniseries Campaign Commercial For Rahm Emanuel and Urban Neoliberalism

[Editor's Note: I know that it was a British Prime Minister at the height of the racism of the British Raj and the Empire who proclaimed "There are lies, damned lies, and statistics..." But for . . .


CPS launches massive privatization of custodial work during Spring Break... 'Rest assured that any new employees will be trained on Aramark’s world-class cleaning standards. The program is rigorous, and you should have every expectation it will deliver immediate results...'

The massive continuation of privatization of CPS custodial services under contract with Aramark corporate is being pushed with fiercesome speed by CPS officials. On April 8, 2014, CPS principals received the following email from Aramark . . .


MEDIA WATCH: Opt Out news begins to hit 'mainstream' of corporate media as New York opt outs reach at least 33,000 as testing season begins

Diane Ravitch notes: "Preliminary figures indicate that at least 33,000 students opted out of state tests in New York. This is a huge increase from last year, when only a few hundred students refused to . . .


Sam Anderson at National Opt Out conference... Arne Duncan's claim that this is the

Sam Anderson spoke to the National Opt Out Conference in Denver on March 28, 2014. Dr. Anderson spoke about the difference between the struggle for education as a human right or as and opposed to . . .


A very bad day for public education in Connecticut... Connecticut expands charters and recommits to Common Core

Yesterday was a dark day for public education in Connecticut. Before voting to give away $80 to $100 million in taxpayer funds over the next five years to private companies that want to open four . . .


Colorado teacher refuses to give abusive test

"Dateline: Greeley, Colorado. Teacher Refuses to Give Abusive Test... " The story that follows may be considered as a reminder of the time we have spent building this movement and with the Opt Out growing, . . .


Dvorak LSC plans 'Hands Around Dvorak' for April 2, 2014 in protest against 'hostile takeover' by AUSL proposed by CPS CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett

A week after they heard that their school has been proposed to be a "Turnaround" under the aegis of AUSL (the Academy for Urban School Leadership), members of the Dvorak Elementary School Local School Council . . .


MEDIA WATCH: April Fool's joke was on Alexander Russo as most readers just yawned

The report by Brooklyn-based pundit Alexander Russo that he was going to take advantage of his Harvard education to become a Teach for America teacher was greeted as the April Fool's joke that it was . . .


Testimony against 'Turnaround' of Dvorak

[Editor's Note: The following is the complete testimony prepared and presented to the hearing on the proposed "Turnaround" of Chicago's Dvorak elementary school. Additional material pertaining to the failures of AUSL's so-called "turnaround" work is . . .


Huge outpouring of opposition to 'turnaround' at Dvorak Elementary School

Angry parents, staff, community members and students greeted Chicago Public Schools officials at the hearing on the proposed reconstitution of Dvorak School of Technology, on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. at 125 North Clark. The hearing . . .


Gresham challenges 'turnaround' verdict

More than 100 (three bus loads and others) determined, angry, community members, staff and students of Gresham Elementary School attended the hearing on the turnaround of Gresham Elementary School. The Gresham school community is telling . . .


Arne Duncan comes out publicly against Common Core... Duncan tells Congress 'I'm just a big proponent of high standards. Whether they're common or not is sort of secondary...'

Has the U.S. Secretary of Education whose two signature policies have been "Race To The Top" and "Common Core" changed his mind? In two days in April 2014, it began to sound like Arne Duncan . . .


Caught in the CPS 'Matrix', schools facing threat of turnaround can't figure out what the rules are

For more than a decade, Chicago mayors and school officials have proudly proclaimed that their strategy of "turnaround" for so-called "failing" schools was just what was needed to promote true education reform for the nation's . . .


Drones and teacher unions... How far willthe AFT and NEA go in supporting Common Core?

[Editor's Note: Susan Ohanian's recent report -- “On 21st Century Drones, Destroyers and Teachers” compares the collaboration of the leaders of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers with the national expansion . . .


Philadelphia school chiefs proudly describe corporate 'Portfolio' model at AERA... 'The great example of portfolio is in New Orleans... New Orleans after Katrina went almost completely to a portfolio system. Almost all of the schools in New Orleans are charters now...'

The leaders of Philadelphia's public schools, which have been under a corporate dictatorship for more than a decade, proudly described the "portfolio model" for managing the city's public school buildings at the annual meeting of . . .


Philadelphia tries 'portfolio model' treating schools as if they were stock holdings... Just as Chicago dumps the notion and fires its 'Chief Portfolio Officer'!

It's been more than a year since the disappearance of Chicago's "Chief Portfolio Officer" and an end to that bit of corporate terminology, it was something of a surprise that Philadelphia has been adopting the . . .


'After 12 years of No Child Left Behind, we know that ratcheting up high stakes testing does little to close achievement gaps...' Arguments for Common Core don't stand up to scrutiny

The implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) represents the most grand curriculum experiment in educational history with the least amount of evidence to back it up. Even so, Common Core enthusiasts often ridicule detractors . . .


OPT OUT FREAK OUTS: Michelle Rhee gets free space in The Washington Post to preach against the Opt Out movement... Anyone for reducing Amazon's business now that Bezos owns the Washington Post?

Without having offered any of the major spokesmen and women of the growing national Opt Out movement an inch, the Washington Post newspapers, now owned by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, have given a major space . . .


CORPORATE OPT OUT FREAK OUTS go national?... United Opt Out website hacked -- and destroyed -- as conference helps add to plans for massive nationwide opt out for this Spring

Although the Opt Out movement and the Resistance to high-stakes testing has been around fro nearly 20 years, the explosion of Opt Out during the 2013 - 2014 school year obviously has some very powerful . . .


Common Core content decried as more and more examples become available from various places in the USA

Now that the Common Core is being implemented, even in a test phase, across the United States, teachers, principals and school administrators are finally getting a close look at the actual content of the tests. . . .


Lois Weiner keynotes United Opt Out in Denver with historical perspective on corporate attack on public schools... 'Merrill Lynch, April 2009, described schools as retail outlets with the school board being the customer service department...'

Lois Weiner, Professor of New Jersey City University and author of The Future of Our Schools: Teachers Unions and Social Justice, spoke on day one of the National Opt Out Conference in Denver. She opened . . .


OPT OUT NEWS: More than 6,000 Long Island students Opt Out of New York State tests

More than 6,000 students in the public schools of Long Island have opted out of the New York State testing program that began on April 1, 2014. The exams, called the ELA tests, are part . . .


Byrd Bennett presentation at Board meeting was full of duplicitous dodges

After a year during which no meeting of the Chicago Board of Education was without a couple of Power Point presentations, usually presented by a recently hired executive whose main qualification for the job was . . .


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)