The Great Giveaway... Brizard to propose confused list of 'co-locations,' 'phase outs' and closings as attacks on real Chicago public schools continue under Rahm Emanuel's regime

As the statutory deadline required under the new Illinois Chicago School Facilities law was reached on December 1, 2011, Chicago Schools Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard quietly released the list of additional public schools that will be closed down or partly stripped to make way for expanded charter schools and new charter schools in Chicago. According to that information, Brizard will order four closings (two new; two of schools that were supposedly being "phased out"), two new "phase outs," and two-"co-locations" between charter (or contract) schools and real CPS public schools. This brings on deadline the total number of schools (including the turnarounds announced November 29) to 18. Because the law requires that each proposal receive two community and one CPS headquarters hearings, there will be 54 hearings in January and February before the Board of Education's seven members vote on the proposals at their February 22 meeting.

One of the ironies of the Brizard proposals is that they come less than a day following the announcement, for the first time, by the Illinois State Board of Education showing that the majority of the current Chicago charter schools are failing, some dismally, more than a decade after the Chicago charter school experiment first began and nine years after the beginning of former Mayor Richard M. Daley's "Renaissance 2010" program.

According to reliable sources, the following closings, phase outs, co-locations will be proposed by Brizard.

Two outright closures – Price and Guggenheim Schools. (Price students go to National Teachers Academy, an AUSL school). Guggenheim students go to Bond Elementary.

Two already phased out schools (Lathrop and Reed) will be closed early, Lathrop and Reed began "phase out" in 2009 under Ron Huberman.

Two new phase outs :Dyett High School and Crane High School. Dyett HS students are slated to go to Phillips HS (currently an AUSL "turnaround" school). Crane HS students will go to Wells, Marshall, Manley and Farragut high schools (all of which are on the "probation" Hit List previously announced by the Brizard administration).

Two new "Co-locations". Nash Elementary will co-locate with ACT Charter School, one of the Chicago charter schools that has not provided its data to ISBE. Doolittle Elementary will share space with Chicago Arts Charter High School (which hasn't been around long enough to have any record).

Crane will share space with "Talent Development H.S." This is particularly ironic because "Talent Development" is a contract (i.e. union) high school that was developed during the last years of the administration of former Chicago Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart in conjunction with the Service Employees International Union Local 73 (SEIU). The deal was criticized at the time as being part of "Renaissance 2010" and against the unions, but Stewart got around the opposition within the Chicago Teachers Union by having the action co-sponsored by the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), which has never discussed with the CTU anything about that project.

Community opposition is already building to the proposals, even before Brizard has made the announcement publicly. Price, at 45th and Drexel across from King High School is currently a four to eight school. The plan is for the students to be bussed to National Teachers Academy, which is not a turnaround, but was given under contract to AUSL to operate after Mayor Daley announced it as a "model for the nation" but the place was never able to get off probation. Busing the Price students three miles to 23rd and State will take the Price students across several gang borders and replicate the kinds of disruption that has taken place in the lives of "Bronzeville" children since these activities began under Arne Duncan in 2001 and 2001.

A close look at the map would show almost a Mad Hatter approach to the African American children of the near South Side. For example, Attucks (39th and Dearborn) continues to be a neighborhood school, but their students have been bussed down to 51st and State to Farren because, supposedly, CPS (again, Arne Duncan) didn't have the money to repair the Attucks heating system. (Note: CPS recently passed a bond issue of $400 million for construction and rehab).

Another controversial part of the Brizard plan for Price is that Jackie Robinson is the "sister school" (K-3 of Price, which is 4 - 8). Brizard's plan requires families to be broken up again.

Although Jean-Claude Brizard has been saying (at those secret community meetings he's been holding) that phase out’s don’t make sense, he's now proposing to phase out Dyett High School, located in Washington Park.

"Chi Arts" has led an expansive nomadic life, with too many proposed, then dropped, locations to list. Again, it's a charter school that benefits from expensive renovations after the public schools was denied help for decades.

The Facilities Task Force will be meeting at 10:00 on December 1, 2011, at the Bilandic Illinois Building at Randolph and LaSalle St. These realities will be on the agenda. The only reason Brizard has made these announcements is that the Facilities law forces CPS to reveal its plans by December 1. Three hearings have to be held about the proposal for each school, 30 days after the announcement, so January and February will be busy. Board of Education members and some of Brizard's administration are already talking about the whole package (turnarounds and various closing scenarios) as a "Done Deal," but the public is just beginning to be mobilized.

All of the top CPS officials involved in these decisions are from outside Chicago with no Chicago classroom teaching experience. All are making the highest salaries in Chicago public schools history, led by Brizard, who is being paid $250,000 this school year, received a $35,000 "relocation allowance," and is in line to receive a bonus based on the fact that he has changed the rules of how to measure schools so that he can't possibly go down.


December 1, 2011 at 9:54 PM

By: Garth Liebhaber

Contract School = Charter School?

Chicago High School for the Arts describes itself as a "Renaissance 2010 Contract School." This is the CPS lingo for a charter school, then? Their job postings state that salary is "commensurate with experience", and therefore would be outside of out CTU collective bargaining agreement.

December 1, 2011 at 11:39 PM

By: George N. Schmidt

Contract = Charter = non-union (usually)

Yes. But like with "performance" and their "matrices" for telling people your school is a "failing" THREE instead of an "OK but not great" TWO, they are using their power to change the definitions so fit their present tactics. The overall strategic objective of their work from Daley and Vallas to Emanuel and Brizard has been the corporate version of "school reform." Privatization. Union Busting is a major part of their agendas — unless the union is a quasi-kleptocratic and supine company union like they have with CTU under the UPC leadership in the 1990s and under Marilyn Stewart.

Always watch what they do, rather than listening to what they say while they force those smiles all around.

December 2, 2011 at 8:34 AM

By: John Kugler

Rahm Buddy = Contract = Charter = non-union

Crony capitalism is believed to arise when political cronyism spills over into the business world; self-serving friendships and family ties between businessmen and the government influence the economy and society to the extent that it corrupts public-serving economic and political ideals.

December 2, 2011 at 3:03 PM

By: John S. Whitfield

Workers of the World Unite !

It is the super-rich U.S. capitalist/imperialist ruling class [and all capitalist and imperialist ruling classes internationally] and their outmoded capitalist system of exploitation, war, unemployment/poverty, economic depression, environmental devastation, racism, sexism, etc. that is the chief enemy of us U.S. workers and all workers world-wide! Workers of the world, unite!--overthrow capitalism & achieve a classless society globally!

December 5, 2011 at 1:22 AM

By: John Whitfield

Capitalism, Everyone is talking about it.

Capitalism, everybody is talking about it now.

When Stalinism collapsed and capitalism re-established itself in the former Stalinist countries and this was followed by the hi tech developments and the bubble based booms of the 1990's and early 2000's in the west a so-called theoretician of capitalism declared that the end of history had been reached. I would say he regrets this statement now.

But more relevant to what I want to comment on in this post is that these events even more decisively pushed any talk of capitalism and socialism off the agenda. Comrades like ourselves said that a new movement of the working class would change this and put the debate about capitalism and socialism back once again on the agenda of the mass consciousness of the masses. Well this is now happening.

The New York Times had this to say today: "Many Americans these days, from the huddled masses of Occupy Wall Street to the coiffed confines of the Presidential campaign, are talking about the future of capitalism." Yes indeed. We are in the beginning of a new era. It is overdue but very welcome.

Who can deny that we are now are in a new era. Capitalism what it is and what it means to the mass of the world's population is back again in the mass consciousness. This is a great step forward. When we are asked what the OWS can achieve we must answer them firmly. It is not what it can achieve it is what it has already achieved. It has already put the issue of capitalism and its failings back in the mass consciousness once again.

However I would like to add one caveat. People like myself thought that it would be the movement of the organized working class, organized in their mass organizations especially the trade unions that would through their mass struggles bring about this change in consciousness. And there has been some of that. Greece! But it seems to me that overwhelmingly the change has been brought about by the movement of the masses in the Middle east and North Africa and more recently and more consciously and more importantly the movement of the youth, mainly unorganized , mainly on the streets through direct action, throughout the world.

The union leaders have in the main been successful so far in holding the organized workers movement back. This will not last but so far these union leaders are managing in the main to hold the line for the system. The leaders of the mass social democratic organizations are collaborating with the capitalist offensive and to an even greater extent holding the line for the system. I think that the OWS movement will have its ups and downs but is a permanent feature, and I think that the organized working class movement, its industrial and political wings, will eventually no longer be choked into subservience by their leadership and they also will join the fray. New John L Lewis's will arise.

Just another detail of the changes taking place. In Boulder, Colorado, not known for any large left forces to put it mildly, is voting this Tuesday whether to take over a privately owned corporate utility and take it into municipal ownership which would leave it locally accountable and more environmentally friendly. One activist explained why she was working to do this: "They don't have our interests at heart." Maybe this is a great banner slogan under which to take on the corporations and their corrupt capitalist system. "They don't have our interests at heart."

A youth group called New-Era Colorado is working hard to pass the initiative as are many of the city's residents. The New York Times report explains it this way: "Left leaning politics have been aligned with hard science." Sounds good.

This was penned by companero Sean O'torrain, a worker.

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