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CTU President cites conflict of interest in giving more turnaround schools and dollars to AUSL

Among the many criticisms of the naming of ten Chicago public schools for so-called "turnaround" on November 29, 2011, one that needs to be investigated in a major way is the conflict of interest between the Chicago Board of Education and the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL), which is slated to receive six of the ten "turnaround" contracts if CPS is not stopped from again scapegoating inner city schools and teachers. As CTU President Karen Lewis has noted, AUSL include David Vitale, now President of the Chicago Board of Education, and Tim Cawley, now Chief Administrative Officer of Chicago's public schools.

On November 29, 2011, CTU issued the following press release:

NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Stephanie Gadlin. November 29, 2011

Chicago Teachers Union President says CPS' turnaround targets further destabilize, poor and minority communities

CHICAGO -Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Karen GJ Lewis charged Monday that the Board of Education's plans to "turnaround" 10 neighborhood schools will have a negative impact on students. She also questioned whether the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) has a conflict of interest due to its direct ties to the Board.

"Today we learned through the press the names of 10 schools reportedly targeted for "turnaround" by the District-a decision that will impact thousands of students and hundreds of school employees," she said. "We are concerned that CPS continues to make serious decisions in isolation and without consulting and collaborating with the school communities that will be hurt by its actions," she said. "Instead of welcoming honest dialogue, CPS only gave an illusion of

transparency by telling the public to go online or attend hastily called meetings where they were limited to 120 second comments . That was nothing more than a carefully managed public relations campaign.

"Our greatest concern is about how this process disruptive to students who are treated as data points and 'seats' to be shuffled from building to building," she said. "The desire to see change for change's sake always concerns me. Turnarounds are expensive and destabilizing to students who live in neighborhoods already rocked by foreclosures, unemployment, high incarceration

rates, violence, malnutrition and a lack of other resources. Now, the Board comes along and fires all of their teachers, lunchroom workers, building engineers and other faces they know and trust. Instead of giving students in under-resourced schools the attention they deserve, they are starved of resources, put on a hit list, labeled as failing, and then shut down or given

over to private interests."

Lewis also added, "I am also concerned that six of 10 schools are reportedly going to AUSL because both the Board president and chief administrative officer have strong ties to this privately run organization. This doesn't sit right with us and it gives an appearance of a "conflict of interest." The appearance of such a conflict should be investigated." 



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