MEDIA WATCH: No news is typical Chicago as Huberman stalls public announcement of the 2010 'Hit List' until the last minute.... Monday, January 25, the list has to be published on the Board agenda

By the morning of January 15, 2010, it had become clear that Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman was not simply stalling the release of the 2010 "Hit List" (the list of public schools to be closed, phased out, consolidated, or turnarounded this year) from CORE and community groups, but from the entire City of Chicago. So, naturally, Chicago's corporate media was more interested in chasing stories fed by the CPS Office of Communications than by asking Huberman the key question regarding what will soon be the second biggest public education story in the city (the biggest is Huberman's claim that the schools face a $900 million "deficit") and provoke huge torrents of protest, as the list has done for the past five years.

For the past 15 years, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley has had dictatorial control over Chicago's public schools. While Daley and his propagandists claim that his overseership has been a great success, under the most recent criteria for closing schools for "failure," more than 200 schools could be closed — 15 years after Daley began the miracle that supposedly save Chicago's schools. The above photo was taken on September 15, 2008, when Daley announced that once again standardized test scores in Chicago elementary schools had gone "up." At that time, Daley ignored high school scores, which were flat. Within eight months after the above event, Daley's newly appointed schools CEO, Ron Huberman, had fired the school system's chief testing office (Ginger Reynolds, Chief Officer of Research, Evaluation and Accountability at the time) and replaced her with a crony who knew nothing about testing, measurement, or public education. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. Where is the list? Huberman and his aides aren't telling. Since December, Huberman and his top media aide, Monique Bond, has ignored a Substance request for a list of all the schools that could be on this year's Hit List. Despite requests both in writing and by phone, both Huberman and Bond are ignoring the request. But once Huberman reported to the Board of Education (on December 16, 2009) on the criteria for schools closings, his multi-million dollar staff was also able to compile a complete list of all schools that could be closed in Chicago this year.

Of course, such a list would be final proof, as I told Monique Bond during a recent heated conversation that tried at times to be polite, that 15 years of mayoral control have been a failure. If, as most critics assume, the potential Hit List includes more than 200 of Chicago's elementary schools and almost all of Chicago's remaining general high schools, then it's time to stop lying about how this is a failure of the players (parents and teachers) in this game of corporate "school reform", but a complete failure of the "coach" (Mayor Daley). After all, 15 years (the time between the passage of the Amendatory Act of 1995 which gave Daley dictatorial control over CPS) and today is the time it takes more than one generation of public schools children to go from pre-school (or kindergarten) through 12th grade.

While CEO Ron Huberman has shown a growing pbobia about speaking with reporters except in the most controlled environments (such as the January 12 Crain's Chicago Business interview at which he revealed a $900 million "deficit" or in editorial briefings with the editorial boards of the city's two daily newspapers), there is no word about the Hit List.

The last time Huberman can hold back the list is on the morning of January 25. At 10:30 that morning, the agenda for the January 2010 Board of Education meeting must be made public under the Illinois Open Meetings Act (which says that agendas have to be available to the public 48 hours before a meeting). Although Huberman has begun violating the law by changing the reports from the Board of Education meetings after the meetings were held and votes were taken, most observers do not believe he will ignore the provisions of the Open Meetings Act as completely as he has tried to ignore the Freedom of Information Act in the face of requests for information about the schools that could be on the 2010 Hit List.

For the past six years, the Chicago Board of Education has voted at its January meeting to close, turnaround, phase out, consolidate or otherwise privatize and decimate Chicago schools. If the proposed closings were not on the January 2010 agenda for the January 27 Board of Education meeting, it would be illegal for the Board to take action against any school. 


January 16, 2010 at 1:07 PM

By: Karen Lewis

No Suprises

What we do know is that Teach Chicago Turnaround, has ads on Career Builder clearing stating it's look for staff for 6 turnaround schools. It says the schools will be closed in June and reopened in August. It seems to an outfit working out of the 2nd floor with ties to AUSL. So we ought to assume there will be more schools listed and whittled down after the "hearings". AUSL knows what schools they're getting. Will they share?

January 18, 2010 at 5:32 PM

By: Retired Principal

School Closings

There will be 2 high schools turnarounded and 18 elementary schools turnarounded, closed, phased out or consolidated.

January 18, 2010 at 5:42 PM

By: Margaret Wilson

retired teacher/parent

To Retired Principal:

Do you know the names of the two high schools and 18 elementary?

January 19, 2010 at 8:09 AM

By: Retired Principal

School Closings

According to today's Chicago Sun-Times here are the schools: Closing- Curtis, Guggenheim, Prescott, Las Casas. Turnaround- Ruggles, Gillespie, Deneen, Phillips, Marshall. Consoldation- McCorkle, Paderewski, Marconi, Mollison. Phase out- Schneider. P.S.- SCHOOLS NOW YOU MUST FIGHT!

January 22, 2010 at 8:36 AM

By: sadie amega

retired teacher since June, 2009

When schools are turned around, why are the

lunch room and custodial staff fired? They

have nothing to do with educating students.

The schools should go back under the state

and find other ways to raise scores. What's going on in the schools is not all about teachers.

January 22, 2010 at 10:10 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Fight the brainwash, Sadie (and others)...

Colleagues and friends. "Raising test scores" has nothing to do with good schools. The "best" schools in Chicago are those that cream off the top students, and as a result their teachers never have to worry about being slandered, then fired, after a career of dedication to the children who've been left behind by the USA and the vicious Darwinianism explicit in the entire test score hoax.

As Fair Test reports every year, test scores on all standardized tests correlate directly to family income. The wealthier the family, the higher the test scores. While there are a few minor (and not really relevant) statistical exceptions, they are "outliers" and have no relevance to the major fact. Test scores in general -- on average, in the real world -- measure wealth or poverty.

It's a cruel hoax to lead teachers, families and students to believe that the students and teachers at Marshall High School, which serves the harshest poverty on the West Side, can "raise" test scores to compete with Whitney Young (where my eldest son graduated in 2007) or New Trier. The entire "achievement gap" is part of this hoax. There is a wealth gap, a health gap, a nutrition gap, and about a dozen other gaps in capitalist America, but as long as the majority of teachers can be conned into believing that their problem is the "achievement gap" we are never going to be organized to fight back.

Thanks for asking.

Focus on educating the children where they are and based on the needs they face, both educationally and otherwise. That's what we did back in the day when everyone knew that teaching at a segregated all-poverty school like Marshall High School was a vocation that was not for everyone. Before all the definitions were changed, and the segregationists like Arne Duncan, Richard M. Daley, and Ron Huberman given the green light to take us back to the 1890s, the last "Gilded Age."

But if you want to continue talking about "raising test scores" as if that had anything to do with the realities around Adams and Kedzie (Marshall) or 39th and King (Phillips), we can't have much of a conversation.

Next you'll be telling me how you know how to "win" at the slot machines, or by playing the lottery.

When the odds are overwhelmingly against you, the only way to win is to change the game, starting by not playing along with the lies.

It's time for people to get together, throw out these lies from their minds, and join in some outrage. Since Arne Duncan was put in power at CPS, these lies have gotten worse and worse. This is the year to stop them all. This is about hearts and minds. And as the man once said, "Free your mind and your [rest of you] will follow."

January 22, 2010 at 12:21 PM

By: zeta

Raise Test Scores = Position Closing

Dear Sadie,

As you know, there are teachers that are experts at raising scores and working with at- risk students. CPS has no value for these teachers and no reward for them. That is because no matter how we raise the scores in "at risk" neighborhoods, they will come back, sabotage the school, remove anyone who is helping students and helping the school to stay open.

When my school was closed, I made sure that from that point on I would be on a mission to work with administration to save as many schools from this turnaround policy. I worked

before school, after school and even on the weekends to work with principals to get scores up for students.

I was very successful for a period of over 8 years. However, after helping each school, my position was closed. It was as if they were angry because the school didn't collapse.

If we got the scores up in each of these schools, they would close it for low enrollment or under utilization.

They truth is that in order for CPS to accomplish their goal, these schools in targeted African American communities must

be eliminated.

We must stop believing in what CPS is saying because they are liars.

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