Will teachers picket UNO chief at City Club September 1?

On June 17, 2010, the City Club of Chicago announced that UNO chief Juan Rangal, who has been operating the non-union UNO charter schools in competition with both Chicago public schools and nearby Catholic schools on Chicago's southwest side for the past decade, will be speaking at the City Club of Chicago on September 1, 2010. The question is what greeting UNO will receive.

UNO's Juan Rangal (above, at a community meeting on the UNO takeover of the De La Cruz school building in August 2009) has long profited from UNO's clout with Chicago's corporate elite and Mayor Richard M. Daley. The ongoing expansion of the UNO charter schools in Chicago is coupled with the national expansion of UNO thanks to the Obama administration and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who promoted UNO's charter schools (and abetted UNO's lack of transparency) during the years Duncan served as Chief Executive Officer of Chicago's public schools (2001 - 2008). Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.According to the City Club, Rangal will be at Maggiano's Banquets, 111 W. Grand Ave., on Wednesday, September 1, 2010 (11:30 a.m. Reception 12:00 p.m. Luncheon). The event is called the Public Policy Luncheon.

Rangal's controversial career in Chicago's public schools centers mainly around his UNO charter schools, which have been established generally across the city's southwest side in primarily Mexican and Mexican American communities. Despite growing community opposition (including opposition from parochial schools against whom Rangal's UNO schools compete from an unfair advantage), Rangal's schools continue to expand because of patronage support from Democrats at both the city and state level.

One of the most controversial aspects of the UNO charters schools, especially in light of the Chicago Board of Education's current budget problems, is the fact that they have been given leave to borrow money from the nation's largest financial institutions through a "bond" mechanism that is far from transparent. In addition to issuing quasi-public bonds, UNO has also been the beneficiary of outright grants, including one totaling $100 million from the administration of Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn one year ago.

Whenever he has attended meetings of the Chicago Board of Education (as at the August 26, 2009 meeting above), Juan Rangal (at microphone) has been extended privileges by Board officials. During the meeting above, Rangal was not signed up to speak, but was allowed to speak by (then) Board President Michael Scott. Scott had just facilitated giving the recently closed De La Cruz school building to UNO during the weeks prior to the August 2009 Board meeting. The transfer came less than two months after Scott closed De La Cruz as a public school and told the public it would not be used as a charter school (as rumors in the community reported). Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.UNO, which began as a highly respected community organization more than a quarter century ago, has long been absorbed into Richard M. Daley's Democratic Party machine, especially in wards where Mexican American voters predominate. UNO founder Danny Solis has served on the Chicago City Council for more than two decades and is currently Deputy Mayor. Solis chairs City Council meetings when Mayor Daley is unavailable.

Although UNO's clout has been challenged, it is stronger than ever today, thanks mainly to the patronage is controls through the UNO charter schools. All of the UNO charter schools are non-union, and Rangal himself is fiercely anti-union.

One of Rangal's specialties in service to those who bankroll him and the UNO charter schools has been the promotion of divisions between Chicago's African American and Mexican American communities. UNO charter schools are almost exclusively Mexican American, constituting a segregated system within the broader network of charter schools in Chicago. But one of the code words used to exclude black children from the UNO system is "safe." UNO markets its charter schools in its community by assuring parents that their children will be "safe" from them. Them in this case is a traditional Chicago designator.

In June 2010, Rangal weighed in against the Chicago Teachers Union after Marilyn Stewart filed a lawsuit against the proposal to overcrowd the city's schools made by CEO Ron Huberman in the context of what Huberman claims is a huge budget "deficit." Rangal took to the airwaves and corporate media to denounce Stewart's lawsuit as "racist" because, Rangal claimed, Stewart had been ignoring overcrowded public schools in his "community" for years. 


June 18, 2010 at 9:24 PM

By: Vinicius

Rangel Unscrupulous Dem Machine Operative

My head still spins when I think that Rangel got in the period of two years over 120,000,000 dollars of our tax money. That is a big hunk of change to the poverty pimp Rangel. UNO deserves to be investigated on his hiring and firing practices. Apart, the curriculum in not inspiring.

June 19, 2010 at 6:38 PM

By: UNO takes all

Hope UNO Unionizes

CPS charges UNO $1.00 for annual rent, supplies them with free instructional furniture and materials and underwrites the their maintenance and utility bills. Besides UNOs selective enrollment practices, the couseling or expelling of unproductive students, and legal threats to parents, you would think UNO scores would be better. But hey, let's keep destroying the neighborhood schools...

June 20, 2010 at 9:23 PM

By: John Whitfield

ELL instructor

Isn't this the organization that has sold out Bilingual Bicultural Education, succumbing to the English only theme?

Could someone also explain how the HDO (Hispanic Democratic Organization) fits intol this equation. Why do some refer to it as the Hispanic Daley Organization, that has next to nothing to do with Hispanics?

August 22, 2010 at 11:19 PM

By: Education Watchdog

Juan Rangal Unfit to Manage Education

If the UNO Charter School System is so effective, why have they not met federal and state regulated Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)? As a result, UNO is on academic early warning status. The fact is, UNO dislikes its non-hispanic student enrollment, fires 25% of their teachers annually, and is an educational disaster and monument to the stupidity of education privatization and urban government education corruption. A word to all parents: avoid UNO and other charter schools like the plague, and research the background of UNO\'s under -qualified and questionable administrators.

August 23, 2010 at 3:38 PM

By: shame on Daley

User and cheater

New UNO school at 39th/California--permits for construction? 600 students in a school capacity of 300, parents getting $100 for enrolling students for a year? Cheaters!

September 24, 2010 at 12:53 PM

By: Education System Victim

How Much Does Juan Rangel Make?

How much does this corrupt clown make? Every Chicagoan is helping to make this bozo richer while students fall behind. What is wrong with a mayor that would plan for this to happen? Chicago politicians only like certain Latinos. The ones who keep their noses close to politician's seats.

September 24, 2010 at 12:58 PM

By: George N. Schmidt

Rangal's quarter million a year

It's a very busy day (get out to Whittier if you're in Chicago: 1900 W. 23rd St.) both here and elsewhere, but your questions deserves a prompt answer.

You'll be happy to know that Juan Rangal's annual wage, according to the latest UNO 990 form (two years ago), is just a tad under a quarter million dollars per year. He may have other sources of income as well, not reported to the IRS because UNO is a "not-for-profit" and all those other good, community loving, charity thingies you get with a 501(c)(3) if Bill Gates and the Wal-Mart crowd love you...

But I digress.

Sadly, it looks as if Juan will be subjected to the higher taxes if the Democrats retain the backbone to let the Bush tax cuts expire for the nation's wealthiest individuals. He is one of them by that reckoning.

November 11, 2010 at 3:06 PM

By: Lilly F

UNO ELL Failure

The UNO organization isn't about education. It's about power. If it serves the Democratic machine to crank out failing students with false grades and no ability to effectively learn or communicate in either language, it's OK with politico Juan Rangel. Juan has little room in his mind and heart for anyone else except Juan Rangel.

UNO does not give a letter grade of F. D is as low as the permanent scholastic record of each student will ever show, even though the numeric and standardized test scores paint an entirely different picture. This equates to UNO falsifying student records. Why? It makes Juan look good. Students lose. The community loses. Juan wins. Is that how Chicago wants it?

December 9, 2010 at 10:27 AM

By: Concerned Educator

Juan Rangel

The truth is that the negative comments made about Juan Rangel are absolutely true. Juan\'s philosophy is that power is about controlling people and money and that everyone wants power. The truth is that he and his associates at UNO are people who are basking in the power that they receive by delivering the vote to the mayor and other politicians.\rI would hope that with a new mayor that some significant changes will come regarding CPS\'s continued support of the current UNO administration and its charter schools.\rI shudder to think that our new mayor will continue to support Juan for the vote he delivers. It\'s a horrible injustice that people like Juan who care about power more than the children he is suppose to serve are allowed to continue their reign of terror over their faculty. He\'s style of leadership is malicious. For the sake of the Latino students of Chicago, Juan and his friends need to be dethroned.

December 9, 2010 at 10:37 AM

By: Has Rangel had a background check?

UNO Charters

Even with charters, don't heads of these charters need to have a background check?

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