SUBSCRIPT: WTF is this 'Jennifer Davis' that Catalyst dragged in to hype Rahm's Longer School Day union busting teacher bashing nonsense? (And why Subscripts won't insult happy puppies and working ladies by making inappropriate comparisons to Chicago school reform media touts)...

Just in case you missed it, Catalyst thinks “Jennifer Davis” is a better expert on the length of the Chicago school day than any of the 40 teachers and former teachers reporting here at Substance — or the hundreds of teachers the Chicago Teachers Union could get to write about the complexities of the “Longer School Day” crusade currently continuing in Chicago’s media world. But why does that make some of us at Substance think of puppies and side streets in Tijuana or Hamburg?

Brown Bear, an adjunct member of the Substance staff, takes a break from being a puppy with the editor's slipper. Substance heard that puppies were insulted when compared with corporate school reform lapdogs like Catalyst magazine, so the metaphor was edited out of final copy. "Puppies have dignity and don't just wag our tails for money and treats," The Bear told reporters. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Every now and then we have a flash, an image of someone active in the struggle for equal, democratic public schools in Chicago. And almost whenever that person is a “journalist” or educational pundit, the image is either funny or something we'd be careful to share in a family paper. Catalyst is a puppy wagging its little tale for a treat? Of those ladies of Tijuana on the street? You decide, dear and gentle reader. Here's what provided this latest inspiration.

In late November, that image was of a puppy wagging its little tale after it did a good little job for its master and was hoping for the “Good dog, Bowser…” that always came before the treat. In the case of our image, the puppy was Catalyst, the master was, as usual, the money people behind the propaganda machines of corporate “school reform”, and the “Good job” was for publishing another piece of mindless slavish propaganda on behalf of another ruling class attack on public schools and the Chicago Teachers Union. Recently, Catalyst published an “essay” touting the “Longer School Day” (Rahm Emanuel version, of course) by another one of those experts who’ve lined the walls along that side street in Tijuana waiting to be called on for another round of a certain kind of work. This particular expert was not one of the Chicago version usually quoted (Barbara Radner from DePaul, Timothy Knowles from the University of Chicago always come to mind as the always-s quoted, never questioned experts on everything about schools), but a new face, a not-so-young lady named “Jennifer Davis” who, at least in Catalyst, has become an expert on the Longer School Day. The essay sounds like straight out of Rahm’s chattering points — “No time to waste on longer day…”

And to think Ms. Davis wasn’t even paid that $40 the Rent-A-Protesters were getting for getting on those protests buses we blew the whistle on and carrying the signs (at the Board of Education; at City Hall; and at the Merchandise Mart) that said “Longer School Day Now!” and “90 More Minutes. Two More Weeks.” The amazing thing (to us, after all, we’re from Chicago) is that Ms. Davis didn’t even get paid for her labors (at least not from Rahm and Rahm’s multiple minions). Instead, she pundited for Catalyst as the “co-founder and president, National Center on Time & Learning.” So there.

Proposed logo for Catalyst's new corporate "school reform" team jacket has reportedly been rejected as "Too Tijuana..."And just in case you didn’t read the whole thing (which Catalyst brought breathlessly to the world on its Website on November 15), the summary is: “More time in school means more time for core subjects, expanded curriculum so that students get expanded opportunities for learning, plus more time for teachers to plan together. Adding 90 minutes to the day is a strong start, though ideally children would get more time to learn…”

Now, let’s clarify a few things. Davis (whoever she is) said it; we didn’t. Catalyst touts it (not City Hall or “J.C.”); we don’t. Oh, and about that puppy with the waggy tale metaphor or the reference to the girls of Tijuana. We’re taking them back. The former is an insult to puppies to compare them to the mercenaries and whores who inhabit Chicago’s corporate media world as we move briskly into the second decade of the 21st Century. And having done some research on the ladies of Tijuana, we've concluded that they are more honest than the ladies at Catalyst and the Time etc. thingy, so we'll just have to report this one straight, without the poetry….

For those who lack imagination, puppies are ubiquitous through Google.

The girls of Tijuana won't be insulted by Substance with comparisons between their honest labors and the work of the corporate "school reform" pundits assembled to speak out against unions and public schools — and on behalf of Rahm Emanuel's potency — in Catalyst.If you can't get the hotlink above, you can find more about the ladies of Tijuana at

and related links.


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