The October 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.

Standardized Schools article from The Nation (1999) appeared at the end of the last century and is still on target today

[Editor's Note: Today our history lesson is the article "Wielding high-stakes tests, a noisy alliance of politicians, corporate CEOs and media pundits seems intent on standardizing education, proclaiming that every kid in America should . . .


'...the radicals were removed from the bargaining table and an agreement was reached...' Hinsdale High School teachers union wins contract with a reminder that low voter turnout can put fanatics on your elected school board

Waukegan teachers are still on strike as I write this, but high school teachers in Hinsdale were able to win a contract without a strike after they organized community support and pushed three school board . . .


More Than A Score organizing 'Park the PARCC' meetings across Chicago

"More than a Score," a Chicago group critical of high-stakes so-called "standardized" testing programs, has been organizing a campaign called "Park The PARCC" with community meetings around Chicago. The next meeting is scheduled for October . . .


World's Richest Man Tries to Defend Wealth Inequality... Bill Gates' critique of Thomas Piketty is revealing for what it overlooks...

[Editor's Note: The keynote speaker from the 2010 convention of the American Federation of Teachers has continued his rampage through logic in a recent discussion of income inequality and Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the 21st . . .


Philadelphia students block showing of the reactionary movie 'Won't Back Down' at a meeting of the 'School Reform Commission,' while one SRC member screams that the students should be arrested and are from 'FAILING SCHOOLS'!...

Proving the even the worst ideas have eternal life once they are produced by Hollywood, the corporate "school reform" propaganda movie "Won't Back Down" was on the agenda for the meeting of the Philadelphia School . . .


Segregation policies led to 'Ferguson'... The Making of Ferguson.... Long before the shooting of Michael Brown, official racial-isolation policies primed Ferguson for this summer’s events.

[Editor's Note: The following article by Richard Rothstein appeared at the website of The American Prospect on October 15, 2014. We are reprinting it here because so much of what is narrated in the history . . .


City Club to breathe new life into 'Advance Illinois' with November 20 featuring... Astroturf group and Robin Steans had almost disappeared from public debate because they are such shills for corporate reform and the 'one percent'

It looks like every bad idea to pass through Chicago and Illinois will be revitalized by some outpost of the ruling class between now and the next time the Illinois General Assembly meets. The City . . .


More segregation anyone? Should Chicago continue to cater to families who don't want to go to school with THEM? Hancock High conversion to a 'college prep magnet school' hearing scheduled for Tuesday

The public is being quietly invited to a significant hearing on whether Chicago Public Schools will continue to bow to pressure to increase racisl segregation during these years since the Board of Education of the . . .


RAHMSWORLD: NAFTA's anniversary... Chicago's guys were a central part of the Clinton administration's NAFTA scheme -- and the other reactionary 'reforms' of the 1990s and since -- so we need to mark NAFTA's 20th anniversary accurately

One of the earliest attacks on working people and unions came during the Clinton administration, when amidst the reactionary attacks of "welfare reform" (which impoverished millions of poor children, leading the way to the worst . . .


SUBSCRIPT: Should 'Emerging Leaders' include the principals' spies who report about union meetings to the boss?

As the leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union becomes more complex over the next several months, Substance will continue reporting what some people refer to as "contradictions" over how the union and its leadership are . . .


LABOR BEAT: First Amendment protects the right to say f__k the draft, etc... Steven Salaita at the University of Chicago challenges University of Illinois censorship of pro-Palestinian views

Steven Salaita and Ali Abunimah at University of Chicago is a new Labor Beat video that covers in detail the increasing censorship and violations of free speech that are taking place in colleges and . . .


'...trying to micromanage 100,000 schools from Washington is precisely what Duncan has been doing...' Arne Duncan's six years of meddling criticized from 'right' to 'left'

When the Chicago Plan for corporate "school reform" was first launched in Chicago following the passage of the 1995 Amendatory Act [to the 1988 School Reform Act] by the all-Republican Illinois state government (the Senate, . . .


Karen Lewis get-well cards should be sent to CTU office, CTU asks... Lewis supporters continue circulating nominating petitions

The Chicago Teachers Union on behalf of Karen Lewis has asked its members and others to send Get Well cards to the CTU offices. "We will make sure that Karen gets them," CTU Vice President . . .


MEDIA WATCH: Tribune's editorial on Karen Lewis showed class

One of the more interesting things about recent political events in Chicago has been an editorial comment published in the October 10, 2014 Chicago Tribune regarding Karen's health -- and then breaking with the Tribune's . . .


What's wrong with Lindblom, King, or Brooks -- except all those black kids?... Hancock High 'conversion' another example of Chicago's racism

There has been quite a bit of hyperventilating recently abut the Board of Education's announcement that it is going to "convert" the supposedly successful Hancock High School into an academic magnet high school (like Whitney . . .


Padilla and Wohl re-elected trustees of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund

Incumbent teacher trustees Ray Wohl and Tina Padilla have been re-elected to the three-year terms. According to a press release issued on October 7, 2014 by the CTPF: Padilla and Wohl Elected Teacher Trustees. October . . .


RAHMSWORLD: Will a bromance with the White House win votes on February 24 (or even get signatures without paying petitioners?)... Mayor's Press Office sends out buddy photos of Rahm and Barack

In case you missed, it, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his bro Barack Obama got together for a walk around the White House grounds on Monday October 6, 2014. Rahm's "Mayor's Press Officer" photographer was . . .


MEDIA WATCH: John Kass, the Tribune's scab pundit, is in high Tea Party dudgeon against pensions of cops, firefighters and teachers

It should have been no surprise to anyone reading the Sunday October 5, 2014 Chicago Tribune that the Trib was again attacking the pensions of public workers. After all, that's what the voice of the . . .


New Orleans interview... How the destruction of the real public schools of New Orleans and Teach for America helped fill the school to prison pipeline

Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on August 28, 2005, and life was never the same for the citizens of New Orleans who depended on the New Orleans Public Schools to educate their children. Many of . . .


Raise Your Hand talks about time spent on NWEA and impact of PARCC in Chicago -- as other states and even some Illinois schools leave PARCC in large numbers

On October 2, 2014, Chicago's "Raise Your Hand" published the first of what will be many clarifications regarding the hours wasted on high-stakes testing in Chicago this year. As plans already begin for an Opt . . .


With $5 millon from Gates and other corporate lucre, Urban League maintains cash flow from the 'one percent' by loudly backing corporate school reform and Common Core

It's not only in Chicago that the Urban League has joined with the local ruling class to undermine the schools in the black community and add to the unprecedented purging of African-American teachers from the . . .


'...I feel strongly that full-scale administration of PARCC in both March and May is unwarranted at this time...' CEO tells Board. 'Park the PARCC' campaign a success as Board reduces 2014 - 2015 PARCC testing in Chicago to a 'sample'

With a citywide "Park the PARCC" campaign and an on line petition gaining momentum across Chicago, the Chicago Board of Education met on October 22, 2014 to hear the surprising announcement from "Chief Executive Officer" . . .


Board to meet at Westinghouse High School in November... Board to approve $13 million in privatization of 'snow removal services' and return to 'tax anticipation warrants'... Chicago Board of Education will add to massive and expensive privatization at October 22, 2014 meeting

Once again, the Chicago Board of Education will add to its expensive and controversial programs of privatization at its monthly meeting on October 22, 2014. Among the privatization deals on the agenda for the meeting . . .


'...Thousands Join Street Protest Before Raucous SRC Meeting...' Philadelphia activists escalate protests, as more than 3,000 march against 'School Reform Commission'

[Editor's Note: The following arrticle came to us on the Internet from Philly.com and is followed by other sources about the same topic. In addition to highlighting the ongoing fight against corporte "school reform," the . . .


'Wear Red For Karen' on Fridays, CTU says... 'I’ll continue to stand for the city we love and deserve; and look forward to joining you again on the battlefield...' Lewis tells union's members

Following the announcement that Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is out of the hospital and resting at home, the Chicago Teachers Union on Thursday, October 16, issued a bulletin headlined "Wear Red For Karen" . . .


'Our work is not about one leader, one race, or one election. Our work is about building progressive power to restore participatory democracy to Chicago...' Campaign office announces that Karen Lewis will not run for mayor of Chicago

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis will not continue in her bid to unseat Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the coordinator of Lewis's "exploratory committee" announced on Monday, October 13, 2014. Lewis had been under treatment . . .


'Cheerleaders' forgot to bring their weapons?... Carver 'Military Academy' cheerleaders dress (and cheer?) for war -- but Carver's football team can't win against tiny Bowen High School in Columbus Day weekend game!

[Editor's Note: Clarification. Since the publication of this story, a number of individuals have brought to our attention a minor inaccuracy in the original. The group of young ladies in the photograph are not the . . .


MEDIA WATCH: 'Ailing Chicago Union head...' DID NOT 'Step Down'... Ed Week gets the story wrong (after reporting it right) with a silly (and inaccurate) headline, seconded by Chicago pundit ('District299.com') who reports on Chicago from Brooklyn

[Editor's Note: Alexander Russo corrected the error on his blog less than two hours after we published the report below]... When the facts matter most, reporters usually try to get their facts straight. But few . . .


CTU: 'Karen Lewis underwent successful surgery.'... Sharkey will head union during Karen's recovery

The Chicago Teachers Union issued a press release prior to its October 9, 2014 press conference that state as below. No additional information was provided at the press conference. The news has been covered on . . .


From enemy to lesser evil? Why did the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates vote overwhelmingly to endorse a labor-bashing Democratic governor for re-election?

[Editor's Note: Within the past 60 days, we have received at least two emails per day from Pat Quinn's campaign offices, usually with a return address from some person we've never met. Yesterday, the emails . . .


Fair Test again shows: Latest SAT results show that so-called 'standardized tests' do NOT measure 'college and career readiness'

While the leaders of major city school systems like the members of the Chicago Board of Education and Chicago's enormous and highly paid bureaucracy under "Chief Executive Officer" Barbara Byrd Bennett repeat the phrase "college . . .


'Strike?' Unlikely... 'We are not indentured servants,' says union president Jerry Jordan... Philadelphia 'Reform Commission' abrogates union contract, imposes health care benefit cuts on teachers and other union members

In a dramatic move that demonstrates that corporate "school reform" is still on the attack against unions in the nation's largest cities, the Philadelphia "School Reform Commission" late on October 6, 2014 announced that it . . .


Teacher strikes: Waukegan still out, Hinsdale soon

As the school year moves towards Halloween, teacher strikes in the Chicago area are ongoing or looming. Waukegan teachers are out. Hinsdale High School teachers are about to go out. In both cases, school boards . . .


VALLAS WATCH, PART TWO: How the racist attack on African American teachers and principals was orchestrated and field tested in Chicago by Paul Vallas, Richard M.Daley, and a cast of hundreds -- launched behind a smokescreen of screaming about 'standards and accountability'

By the late 1990s, it was no longer a question of whether Paul G. Vallas was purging large numbers of African American teachers and principals from the ranks of Chicago's public schools, but how many . . .


VALLAS WATCH, PART ONE, RACISM: Series begins with the racist record of the Vallas version of 'reform' in Chicago... Pat Quinn's hypocrisy exposed as voters get to take a closer look at the racist, union busting, and privatizing career of Quinn's running mate, Paul G. Vallas

Twelve years ago, in a special edition in print and on the Web, Substance reported on the crimes of Paul Vallas against public education. At the time, in early 2002, Vallas was a candidate . . .


Christine Boardman and Local 73 have contributed to Rahm's campaign fund and had the union's members to cross the teachers' 2012 picket lines, but the SEIU leader threatened to sue Klonsky so he corrected two statements

While there may be some nuance over the question of how to define a scab, generally a scab is considered to be someone who crosses a union picket line during the strike. And in September . . .


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)