From Houston's 'four more years' to Houston's 'three more years' to hours and .... CPS and Rahm's lies about 'Longer School Day' have evolved since they were first spouted last Spring

For those who follow cheap Hollywood scripts and the talking points of the newest CPS officials, there has been an amazing evolution in the version of reality being coordinated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his hand-picked CPS administrators, led by former Rochester New York Schools Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard, who is currently serving as "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago's public schools. Looking back over the detritus of the sound bites and scripts of the past several months, we might want to call the Rahm Emanuel version of educational reality "No Talking Point Left Behind."

According the the CPS "Pioneers" website (of September 27, 2011) there are now 13 schools in the "Pioneers" club. Despite the vigorous attempts by the mayor's army of press flacks and CPS officials, apparently it's getting harder and harder for CPS to drag the TV cameras to one of their posing places. But equally impressive is how much the version of reality being dragged around town by the mayor has evolved. Fans will remember that less than nine months ago, Emanuel was claiming, citing some non-existent "studies" from, of all places, Houston Texas, that Chicago kids got "four years less" (!!!!!!!) school during their time in school than their counterparts in Rick Perry's Texas largest city.

That talking point evolved to "three years less" (!!!!!) in the classroom than Houston by the time the mayor was beginning his war against Chicago's teachers in August 2011, when the Track E schools began.

By September, it was "considerably less" even as closer scrutiny (even from the Chicago Tribune) revealed that some of the most successful schools and districts in Illinois had roughly the same amount of time in the classroom as Chicago's.

During the entire broohaahaa, Emanuel always carefully left out the fact that Chicago's high schools were about average in the number of hours (!!!!!!), days (!!!!!), months (!!!!), or years (!!!) in the classroom.

By September 27, 2011, the mayor had further evolved the claims. Here is what we found on the CPS website then: "It's difficult for Chicago teachers to impart the knowledge and skills their students require when our children spend less time in the classroom than just about anywhere else in the nation." – Mayor Rahm Emanuel, campaign Education Address, Dec. 10, 2010

The Longer School Day Pioneer Program is built on a simple fact — Chicago Public School students spend 15% less time in the classroom than the average American public school student. We have the shortest school day of all major American urban school districts. While the ultimate goal is to have a longer day in every school in CPS, we're supporting all schools that voluntarily participate in lengthening the school day by January of 2012..."

Although the CPS website continues to talk about getting the "facts straight," it's CPS that's been getting its "facts" wrong since the first day its propagandists began taking dictation from Hollywood Rahm. During the ten months since Chicago's candidate first began attacking Chicago teachers (and the Chicago Teachers Union) in December 2010 before the primary to the end of the first month of school in September 2011, Rahm Emanuel has tried (and failed) to make about a half dozen claims regarding how terribly short Chicago's elementary school days is, or was, for all, or some, or maybe most, of Chicago's elementary school children.

Of course, given a school system that has outsourced its official calendar to the gas company and hired a boatload of new propagandists this school year to push the City Hall line attacking the schools (and lying about the CPS budget; who knew CPS had the money for "pioneers" and a "Chief Communications Officer" at $165,000 per year while all those "bureaucrats" were being cut by Jean-Claude Brizard and his "team"?), it's not surprising that CPS officials can't even say, precisely and as a matter of "fact," how many public elementary schools are in Chicago in September 2011.

And then, of course, there are all those high schools that Rahm keeps ignoring while he searches manfully and with triathletic vigor for the perfect talking point to hit the CTU with next time the cameras are turned on.


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