Subscripts: Patronage and corruption at Passages Charter School in Chicago

….Two teachers from Passages (Jane Kimondo and Priya Goel) went before the April 23 Board of Education meeting accompanied by a large number of parents and asked the Board of Education to empower a parent council. Readers know that CPS doesn’t allow charter schools to have local school councils. They were actually asking for something like an LSC, but didn’t quite say so. They said that the directors of Passages (all from Asian Human Services) have been mismanaging Passages. The parents and teachers who were there was very shaken. Arne Duncan said that he was asking them to meet with Greg Richmond (who is now in the privatization sector and not working for CPS, as many people know) as what sounded like a kind of mediator. As people who have followed this little melodrama of privatization know, there are a few years of controversy back down the road. Because Passages — like all “choice” schools — basically tells people, “If you don’t like it, get out, your choice...” nothing is every sustained. Also, the people who leave (like those who wind up disappointed with other charter schools) are often so busy recovering their lives (and the lives of their children, who have often lost a year or two of school, like those who’ve left Mirta Ramirez). They don’t want to take any time to revisit their “mistake.” The big event at Passages within the past year was the firing (by the Board) of the principal. It’s unclear why Arne Duncan sent someone from the private sector (Richmond) to mediate the Passages controversy, when it’s supposed to be the job of “New and Charter Schools”, but nobody asked…


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