Subscript: If Oscar Mayer needs changing why doesn't the Board use the Mulligan or Near North buildings?
…In December, Arne Duncan was going to save Chicago by ridding the city of what he called “underutilized” schools. He did that by destroying schools like Andersen, Gladstone, and De La Cruz.
No sooner had the Chicago Board of Education voted on February 27 to close all those (not really) “underutilized” schools than Arne shot out in a new direction — saving the “underserved.” By March 2008, Duncan and his master, Mayor Richard M. Daley, were all about “serving underserved communities” by establishing new magnet schools in some of Chicago’s wealthiest north side communities.
In Lincoln Park, “underutilization” crashed into “underserved” but of course, none of Chicago’s mainstream media noticed. On March 12, Mayor Daley and Arne Duncan announced that Oscar Mayer Elementary School (2250 N. Clifton, ZIP 60614) was going to be terminated as a neighborhood elementary school. Oscar Mayer Elementary School is being morphed into "Oscar Mayer Montessori" (for the younger grades) and Oscar Mayer International Baccalaureate (IB), for the upper grades.
During the dog and pony show, there was some claim in the air that this was because the DePaul area was “underserved” and the Oscar Mayer building "underutilized." If our colleagues in the media were more than Mayor Daley’s cheerleaders, the claims about Oscar Mayer were the easiest to see the lie from.
Down the street from Oscar Mayer there are really two very very very “underutilized” schools — Mulligan and Near North. Mulligan Elementary School currently sits vacant (but still owned by CPS) at 1855 N. Sheffield (ZIP 60614). A few blocks farther south, Near North Career Magnet High School sits also vacant at 1450 N. Larrabee (ZIP 60610).
Both of those buildings are empty — not simply “underutilized.” Both belong to CPS. Both could have been used for some of Arne Duncan’s north side antics, but were not so used. Mulligan is .7 miles from Mayer, a distance that can be traversed by car in two minutes, according to Map Quest. Near North is 1.6 miles from Mayer, a distance that can be traversed by car in five minutes, according to Map Quest.
We report this with ZIP codes so that even the dumbest TV reporter (or the most tanked print tout) could do the math. Not surprisingly, between March 12 (when the latest round of Big Lie “news” came out, including this little piece of unreality) and April 2 (when this issue of Substance went to press) nobody in the Chicago press corps bothered to notice the facts that proved the lies of Mayor Daley and Arne Duncan on March 12…
This Subscript originally appeared in print in the April 2008 edition of Substance.