A Chicago lexicon based on the verbal sludge from Chicago Public Schools... Huberman's Orwellian abuse of language central to purge of educators from public education in Chicago

During the 20 months since Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed the President of the Chicago Transit Authority, Daley minion Ron Huberman, to be the third white guy to be "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago's public schools since Daley was given dictatorial control over CPS in July 1995, a great deal of public attention has been given to burnishing various myths about Huberman himself and his ostensible abilities, powers, and talents. In August 2009, for example, in a story that will stand for decades as a monument to sophomoric hagiography, Chicago (the monthly magazine) devoted several pages to a profile of Huberman that would have better been submitted to a creative writing class in Huberman's undergraduate department at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) — English.

While writing about the talents Huberman doesn't have, most of the Hagiographers who have greased the paths during his career have studiously ignored the one talent Huberman does have: An Orwellian ability to plunge language into depths rarely seen by public officials in Chicago. Straight talk or mumbling are usually more common in Chicago politics than deliberate obfuscations and cruel manipulations of language. But while Ron Huberman may understand next to nothing about the ins and outs of the $6.5 billion budget he oversees and even less about what it takes to educate a four-year-old in a classroom whose temperature just went over 90 degrees, Huberman does know that in the second decade of the 21st Century, some of the oldest tricks of the 20th — especially the totalitarian manipulation of "message", "medium," and language itself can take a careful trickster a long way in the corridors of corporate power. Such was also the case during the last long bout with the mergence of corporate and governmental power back in the heyday or eugenics and brutality of the fascist regimes in Italy, Germany, Spain, and a handful of lesser nations (like Romania) between the 1920s and the 1940s.


September 25, 2010 at 12:41 PM

By: Carmela Rago

Huberman's Propaganda techniques and a humble solution

I absolutely agree with the last post. Huberman's propaganda techniques are called "Disinformation Management" in which: “intentionally false or inaccurate information is spread deliberately. It may include the distribution of forged documents, manuscripts, and photographs, or spreading malicious rumors and fabricated intelligence. In espionage or military intelligence, disinformation is the deliberate spreading of false information to mislead an enemy as to one's position or course of action.

Another technique of concealing facts, or censorship, is also used if the group can affect such control. When channels of information cannot be completely closed, they can be rendered useless by filling them with disinformation, effectively lowering their signal-to-noise ratio and discrediting the opposition by association with a lot of easily-disproved false claims. A common disinformation tactic is to mix some truth and observation with false conclusions and lies, or to reveal part of the truth while presenting it as the whole...The Cold War made disinformation a recognized military and political tactic." (Wikipedia)

The WW II purges and propaganda campaigns of Western Europe created fear, loathing and legendary propaganda campaigns that we would do well to examine again. The purges effectively hobbled already precarious morale, and simultaneously created jobs for those not purged or sent to camps. By comparison, the unwieldy and disorganized Chicago Public School system will not be corrected by arbitrarily firing what Huberman sees as redundant or subpar employees. Instead of 2,000 teachers and paraprofessionals being "disappeared" and creating widespread paranoia among staff and students, teachers and staff who need mentoring to effectively improve and strengthen their instruction could have the opportunity through the Academy of School Leadership to intern, practice and improve instruction with master teachers (this would include probationary teachers). Fine arts instructors would no longer be let go in order to balance a school budget – and their accountability could be based on fine arts performances and art exhibits (not test scores). Of course, it would go without saying that all fine arts instructors would have adequate supplies replenished every year.

As part of Huberman's disinformation campaign, when he is not talking to the press, or releasing “confabulated” statements about the perilous budget situation, teachers and staff are smeared - labeled "unsatisfactory" by capricious principals (who are never observed or really analyzed by an objective source. Teachers labeled "highly recommended, recommended, not recommended" by "experts" who have neither met nor observed these teachers is also part of the disinformation campaign that is destroying lives.

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