Duncan launches next round of Chicago Privatizations at 'RFP' presentation

Flanked by city officials including the City Treasurer and an alderman, Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan used the auditorium of what was once Englewood High School to announce the next two years of privatizations and attacks on public schools at an April 7, 2008, media event. Above: Flanked by politicians, corporate supporters, and "educational entrepreneurs", Chicago schools Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Arne Duncan continued to repeat Chicago's propaganda about the success of charter schools at the April 7, 2008, media event promoting the RFP process for "new schools" at the "Englewood High School Campus." The "Campus" is on the site of the 100-year old Englewood High School, which has been destroyed by the Daley and Duncan administrations through privatization. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.

The official reason for the event was that CPS was providing “educational entrepreneurs” with information about how to complete Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to open privatized public schools in Chicago. Most of those attending the event were charter school operators and prospective charter school operators.

Duncan told the gathering that the proof that the public was demanding charter schools came from the fact that, according to Duncan, charter schools in Chicago had a “waiting list” of more than 7,000 people.

But Duncan failed to note that regular public schools are prohibited from maintaining a “waiting list.” The magnet schools in the public school system accept the number of students they can take, and then tell the remainder that they have to return to their community schools.

The community schools are forced to take all of the children who attempt to go there who can prove that they live in the school’s attendance area.

Nevertheless, in answer to a skeptical question from this reporter (“If waiting lists are such an important measure of something, could you tell us what the waiting list is for Whitney Young Magnet High School?”) Duncan did his usual and replied “I’ll get back to you on that.” He assigned Board of Education communications specialist Malon Edwards to provide Substance with the answer to the question. Between April 7 and May 5, no answer was forthcoming.

The Chicago Board of Education’s multi million dollar Office of New and Charter Schools is providing prospective privatizers with all of the tools need to complete the applications to take over a Chicago public school building and crate another outpost of “choice” — the marketization of public education in Chicago. Duncan’s staff distributed two large books for anyone who is trying to apply to open a school at the meeting.

No mention was made during the meeting that Duncan had three years earlier slandered Englewood High School in the same auditorium as a prelude to privatizing the building. Englewood is now occupied by “Urban Prep”, an all-boys’ school headed by Tim King and “Team Englewood,” an experimental entity. 


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