TURNAROUND HEARINGS BEGIN JANUARY 30: CPS FNGs read from scripts, and could not stand up under cross examination during the latest round of Rahm's Show Trials

The biggest week of the school year for Rahm Emanuel's hand-picked and tightly scripted Board of Education begins on the evening of January 30, 2012 (tonight) as Rahm's minions roll out their slanders against the ten public schools they want to slate this year for the "Turnaround" chopping block. Tonight's hearings on the proposed "turnaround" of Piccolo Elementary School (at 8:00 p.m.) and Casals Elementary School (at 5:30 p.m.) are at 125 S. Clark St. They promise to be tumultuous.

When CPS officials line up during the Show Trial hearings on school closings and "turnarounds" (which will be shown legally to be reconstitutions), they don't advertise their names (which are mumbled quickly when they come forward to read their scripts). Above, at the January 23 hearing at CPS against Crane High School, the public saw seated in front (left to right) "Portfolio Office," "Law Department", "Research, Strategy and Accountability," and "Security and Safety" — which were not their names like out of some Disney film. Substance was able to identify three of the four witnesses above as (left to right) Adam Anderson (who was hired at a six-figure salary at CPS in November 2011), "Law Department", Ryan Crosby (from "Accountability", which also has been changing its names each year, always with something more pretentious in the title), and Jadine Chou (hired in November 2011 to head the Board's security department; her main qualification being an MBA from the University of Chicago). Substance photo by Jean Schwab. One public question is whether CPS will deploy the Rent A Protesters again, and how many photographs of them we will get. After last week's corporate media exposé of Rahm's Rentals (two months after Substance featured them in an editorial cartoon and five months after I first reported on them from Sox Park and City Hall), most of them seemed to evaporate — at least for now. Tonight we'll see, because if Rahm's Rentals don't show up, it's likely that there will be nobody to take the Board's "side" against reality and fact during the hearings. Although that doesn't present an insurmountable problems for the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education (they'll vote for anything, no matter how ridiculous, that Rahm orders up), it might prove challenging for the judges who are acting this year as hearing officers. After all, they are used to the rules of evidence and the right of both sides to cross examination. Little do they know what awaits.

A second question is whether any other reporters will show up for these hearings other than Substance (which will be there, even though I won't). In the past, corporate Chicago media has avoided all of the Hit List hearings -- ALL of them, not just a few -- so that the nasty deeds have been done in the dark (except for Substance and CORE and, of course, the victims who were defending themselves nobly while being assassinated by Arne Duncan, then Ron Huberman, and now Jean-Claude Brizard. Bullies don't like people who fight back, and CPS has been led by a string of bullies since "Turnaround" began under Duncan and the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club back at Herzl Elementary School in April 2002.

A third, and last, question is which members of the seven member Chicago Board of Education, if any, will show up for the hearings this week. Last week, despite all their public prattle about attending the hearings, the Board members were AWOL (or is that "truant") from the hearings. Big blustery talk, poor or puerile performance... Doesn't that sound like Rahmland? Should the Board members once again punk out on the hearings, hopefully someone will take the floor (signing up to speak) to call the roll, as I did for Guggenheim last week.

In order:

Henry Bienen.

Mahalia Hines.

Jesse Ruiz.

Penny Pritzker.

Rodrigo Sierra.

Andrea Zopp.

David Vitale.

The reason why it's important for all of the seven members of the Board to be there is manyfold, but a major one is that it's the only way they are going to hear from the people who turn out to defend their schools and their honor against the lies prepared by the Board against them. By the time the Board members meet to vote on the Hit List on February 22, each of the records (the books of documents about each Hit List school) will total hundreds of pages (in many cases, thousands). Every year of the Hit List, the Board members have not read those documents, no matter how painstakingly the people from the schools prepared the materials, from petitions to student art and poetry. Instead, they simply smiled and voted on the basis of the mendacious "data" that were fed to them. The materials presented in the past ranged from hundreds of pages (just about everyone, too many to single out) to more than 2,000 pages (and two dozens You Tube videos) from Edison Gifted.

So the Board members are really the ones to be held "accountable" on this one, if only for their brazen hypocrisy.

But there are others we need to memorialize for the record and the future, too. Most notable among them will be the script readers, all of whom is being paid six figures for his or her work, even if none of them has earned a penny of it actually teaching the children of Chicago in the real schools of Chicago.

Sadly, I can't get to cover the next three nights, the first time in six or seven years I've missed this many hearings, but hopefully Substance reporters will be there.

As everyone covering the hearings knows, the structure is a Show Trial.

The hearing officer this year is a retired judge. No more the hacks and cronies of past years (going all the way back to the 1997 hearing on the "Reconstitution" of Englewood High School in the case of Frederick Bates, who had the longest run for a hack).

The judges this year are supposed to lend credibility to a performance which is actually mostly scripted theater. That's right. In the unblinking tradition of "Hollywood Rahm," the CPS "witnesses" (who will take up at least an hour of each of the two-hour hearings; that's no accident, you know) are actually reading verbatim from a script prepared in the dank recesses of the CPS offices (this year, mostly the Law Department).

Each of the CPS "witnesses" reads from a script. They will also be presenting, in some cases, a Power Point attacking the victim (the school on trial).

The Power Point, like every Power Point since Jean-Claude Brizard became "Chief Executive Officer" in June 2011, is pretentious but filled with lies. Some of the lies are laughable (a few years ago, one CORE teacher told the hearing that the mathematics on the screen would get an "F" in her statistics class), but all are deadly serious. They are designed to destroy a school, slander its teachers and staff, and further a program that is undermining public education and making it impossible to address the real problems facing Chicago's poorest children — not "poor schools" and "poor teachers" but a vicious economic system.

But the victim — the school, the parents, the teachers, the students — does not have the right to cross examine the "witnesses" against him. And the judges presiding know that matters — in this case, a lot. The American system of justice, as these judges knows, requires the right of cross examination of witnesses because even the most honest people might slant some truth, and paid liars will lie with impunity if they think they can escape accountability. As these six-figure mercenaries do believe.

Last week, the CPS cases on the closings were delivered by a guy named Adam Anderson (from the "Portfolio Department"). Anderson testified at each hearing that he was speaking for CEO Jean-Claude Brizard (who arrived in Chicago eight months ago after being run out of Rochester). Anderson is even more the FNG that Jean-Claude; he was hired to work at CPS last November...

And the woman now working in the nation's third largest school system as "Chief Officer Security and Safety", Jadine Chou, has no law enforcement experience (but an MBA from my alma mater, the University of Chicago). Chou made the Chicago Housing Authority safer by deploying hundreds of security cameras, at a cost of millions of dollars, rather than having people protect people. She will testify that the children of the schools will be safe, safer, and safest if called upon (in "turnaround" it's not clear whether this piece of the CPS script will be considered necessary by the scriptwriters).

The guy who reads the "data driven" script about the latest (and most bizarre) system of "Performance Management" so-called "matrices" is likely to be Ryan Crosby, from the department of accountability and research and performance and gosh knows what. Last week, one of the judges asked Crosby a simple statistic questions about the "value added" component in the "Matrix." Crosby didn't know what he was talking about, said that there were people in his department who could answer the question, and the judge quickly let him off the hook.

If the hearing officers would allow the victims to cross examine each of the people reading from the CPS scripts, the cases against the Hit List targets would collapse, possible in huge gales of laughter.

Adam Anderson, who is likely to read the words on behalf of Jean Claude Brizard, is the FNG from the "Portfolio" office, while Jadine Chou has just arrived at CPS to head security from the Chicago Housing Authority, where she was in, you'll never believe this, their "Portfolio" office.

And as noted, another CPS witness, Ryan Crosby, couldn't explain the statistical basis for the "Value Added" "metric" he presented in his Power Point against Guggenheim last week, when asked about it by the Judge (hearing officer).

If this stuff weren't so serious, it would be funny as satire.

But Rahm's Board is deadly serious, and the orgy of teacher bashing that begins tonight with the "turnaround" hearings is as real as the fact that two AUSL people (David Vitale and Tim Cawley) are now in control of the nation's third largest school system, despite their corporate arrogance and complete disdain for teachers and the real world of educating children in a city beset by tragic segregation and poverty -- all created by the one percent class, of whom Cawley and Vitale are both members...


January 30, 2012 at 5:40 PM

By: Rod Estvan

CPS could also not answer a question at the Crane hearing

Hearing officer Coar, a former federal judge also asked a very good question relating to high school network performance data at the Crane hearing. The CPS staff seemed dumbfounded by the question.

Rod Estvan

February 1, 2012 at 12:22 AM

By: Maria Guerrero

Pablo Casals' hearing

The Hearing Officer for Casals was Fred Bates, a lawyer. We thought it would be a retired judge too. There were no disturbances at Casals' hearing, and if there were paid protesters, they didn't make a peep. After CPS did their 50 minute presentation , EVERY speaker that followed was AGAINST the turnaround. The speakers were parents, students, staff of Casals and a few other parties. For people who did not get to speak or attend, Mr. Bates gave a fax number where letters or documents could be sent to him up to 5pm on Tuesday. This was done by over 80 parents of Casals. Although our biggest disappointment was that CPS was given almost 1/2 the allotted time to speak, we felt we presented a strong case for our school. But almost 10 minutes were wasted by the CPS lawyer just reading the titles of the tabs of a document she was presenting as evidence. Since CPS had no time limit ( as opposed to speakers who had 2 minute limits), they were milking their time for all it was worth! Obviously the longer they talked, the less time there would be for audience speakers, so they talked slow and long. Still, the fact that NO ONE after CPS spoke against the school is important, and we are still hopeful that Mr. Bates will be a fair person, as he stated he was impartial and not an employee of CPS.

February 1, 2012 at 12:46 AM

By: Maria Guerrero

Fred Bates

In addition to what I stated above, I do want to say that it is VERY disappointing that CPS did not follow thru with their plan of having retired judges as the hearing officers. Given Mr. Bates' history with CPS , it is very doubtful that he can be impartial as he stated. He made a big show of telling us ( 2x) that he was not an employee of CPS, but if they pay his hourly wage, he can say whatever he likes, we don't buy it . Once again, CPS and their tactics show their true colors !

Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

1 + 2 =