Last Stand for Children First hits Brizard's nail on the head with riff on 'consumers' just as corporate Chicago revs up the Power Point with 'consumer' versions of reality

June 2011 was a signal month for those who want to update the "Devil's Dictionary" with the locutions, circumlocutions, and mendacities of the corporate schools reform crowd. At both the June 15 and June 22 meetings of the Chicago Board of Education, the Orwellian nonsense was on parade. Even before the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education voted to raise the pay of Chicago's education "Chief Executive Officer", Jean-Claude Brizard (and his top cronies), to an unprecedented $250,000 (with possible "bonuses" of $37,000 per year for tweaking certain data sets and a "moving allowance" of $30,000), the Through the Looking Glass quality of things at CPS had reached greater heights.

One of those Rahm Emanuel chose from outside Chicago for one of the highest paid jobs in the Chicago Public Schools was the newly installed "Chief Education Officer," Noemi Donoso, whose most recent work was in Denver, where she pushed an "innovation" agenda at the expense of traditional public schools. Although the record in Chicago is still incomplete, it appears that most of the teaching and administrative experience of Dr. Donoso has been in either working at charter schools or promoting them. Above, Donoso presented a report on the ISAT test results for Chicago, which showed improvement, but in a shock to some observers, she immediately denigrated the ISAT results, insisting that the ACT would be a better way to measure the real improvements in Chicago's elementary schools (via the EXPLORE and PLAN tests, two expensive ACT corporate "products" that CPS pays millions of dollars to administer to children every year. The Board members, whose scripts are provided by the same corporate people who provided the new executive staffs, nodded in agreement. No one defended the record of the Daley administration's versions of corporate "school reform" as Donoso trashed Daley and Brizard's predecessors. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Part of the fun was a Power Point by the Brizard administration, narrated by Brizard himself, outlining the results of his first Charm Tour of CPS schools. One of the most stunning parts of the Power Point was the slide in which he showed, as predicted by critics of the Broad Leadership Academy, a bullet point which depicted children and parents as "consumers" in the education marketplace. But don't believe us. It's not available at the CPS website (they're still keeping the biographies of the old Board of Education members, perhaps out of sentimentality), you can read it here.

The eighth bullet point on Brizard's Power Point, which he told the Board he developed after visits to 13 schools in Chicago, refers to someone as "consumers" in need of "improved consumer service." No member of the school board asked him what he meant by that, since as corporate reformers they are already committed to the mindless business model that has been imposed on the jargon of public education for the past decade. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.We thought Substance would have to take it all one, and then we remembered that one of our Chicago colleagues was producing "Last Stand for Children First" right here in the Second City that gave the world Second City (long before the Daily Show) and there it was. For those who can't access the hotlink above, the Last Stand for Children First website is at:

Before that, however, a correction of sorts to our readers.

They're not all billionaires and millionaires -- yet.

The Chicago Board of Education is not -- repeat NOT -- a millionaires' Board of Education (as it once was during the Daley Dictatorship).

The amazing script writers for Rahm Emanuel knew that diversity would pay off better than complete plutocracy on the Board, so our researchers have discovered that at the present time, the Chicago Board of Education consists of:

One Billionaire (Penny Pritzker)...

Two Millionaires (Henry Bienen and David Vitale)....

One possible Millionaire (we're not finished checking him out), Rodrigo Sierra...

And three Millionaire Wannabes (who've been promised various things for being nice to the kleptocrats when they vote) — Mahalia Hines, Henry Ruiz, and Andrea Zopp.

But we promised to share the insights and delights of Last Stand for Children First as well, so here it is:


Above all, parents are consumers. As consumers, they want to trust the education of their children to names they can trust. Names like Wal-Mart, Microsoft, and KB Homes have long stood for exceptional quality. It is no wonder that parents are asking the people behind these brands to take over their children's schooling. After all, what teacher has the track record of quality of Wal-Mart.

Both Microsoft and Wal-Mart have been guided by some of the same principles in building their brands. First, they don't believe in unions. Unions bring costs up and productivity down when you are forced to give your employees things like meal and bathroom breaks by some outdated union rules. Secondly, they have always been looking for new ways to do things better. Whether it's been Wal-Mart importing millions of Chinese goods or Microsoft having their call center jobs outsourced to India, these are truly global companies.

We want to give parents more choice but not necessarily the choice to enroll their children in better public schools, with small classes and/or experienced teachers. We are working to eliminate that choice because it costs more money, and we would prefer if public schools used young inexperienced teachers, deprofessionalized the work force, and replaced teachers w/ computers whenever possible.

We also want to rely on the private sector and build up charter schools at the expense of public schools, so why offer parents a choice of a really good public school, with small classes? That might diminish the demand for alternatives.

Also, why should the wealthy have to pay taxes to support public schools, which only the children of less successful people attend? After all, our kids go to private schools. If we are giving out our hard-earned dollars to support better schools, we want them to go to the schools we control like charters. Lets call it competition, or a Race to the Top. Winner takes all. Isnt that the American way?

So what can you do to help us? The answer is pretty simple. Get involved. Don't get involved at your local school because the teachers there will probably try and poison your minds against us. Instead, get involved with our organization. Go to a meeting near you or attend a hearing and explain how the local public school has harmed your family. Become a voice for education reform.

In many states, there are parent triggers that will allow you to turn your dysfunctional old public school into a shiny new charter school, where your children can get the education to succeed.

Lastly, we ask you to please support an end to the death tax and making the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% permanent. The Walton family saved over 70 billion dollars with the two year extension. Think how much more good they can do for public education with that .


While we're at it, Substance knows that not everyone reading will go to the links. However, we hope that some will go to the link above, then note the riff on billionaires that Last Stand has also contributed.

Here it is for those who don't want to utilize the link:

Billionaires have a special place in our philosophy. As Myron Miner himself is a billionaire he is sensitive to their needs and concerns. Billionaires have the clout to influence public policy in a way that few other people can. There is no better way to democratize education in this country than by bringing the voices of CEOs and hedge fund managers into the equation.

Education is a 700 Billion Dollar a year industry. We will work with you to assure you get a piece of that money. We will gladly publicize your contributions if you wish to develop a philanthropic image or we will keep your contributions anonymous with the help of the Supreme Court's recent Citizens United decision.

Contact us if you are interested of making a donation and help us make a last stand for putting children first together.


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