Archives available on old site back to 'The Paul Vallas Hoax' of 2002... Substance passes tenth anniversary on line, 38 years in print

With the publication of the September 2012 print edition of Substance (to be printed and mailed September 11; printing has been postponed so we reflect the opening day of the 2012 strike) Substance enters our 38th year in print and is well into our tenth year on line. Readers who wish to wander through our back issues can no go from 2002 through 2007 at our old site ( and then join us today and every day on our new site (

Paul Vallas and Richard M. Daley a few months before Daley dumped Vallas as CEO of Chicago's public schools in 2001. Since Vallas left Chicago, the ruling class has sponsored him as a schools chief in Philadelphia and New Orleans, and currently in Bridgeport, despite his crazy ways and consistent failures. The Paul Vallas Hoax was first exposed in the pages of Substance and Substance stories about Vallas have long been available. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.At the dawn of the 21st Century, Substance did not have the resources or technical ability to go on the Internet with a Website. Thanks to help from Designs for Change Executive Director Don Moore and others, that problem was solved, and by February 2002, Substance went on line with an expose of the lies of Paul Vallas, who at the time was a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for Governor of Illinois. Vallas, who had left his post as "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago's public schools in July 2001 was continuing to claim his undying loyalty to the people of Illinois, when the reality was that his primary loyalty was to his own career. "The Paul Vallas Hoax" (the first edition of Substance to appear on line at debunked the strange versions of reality Vallas promulgated, including the myths he told about his own career and life.

Vallas of course was not the only CEO of CPS to fabricate a history. Most recently, Arne Duncan, whose family fortune and life of privilege exceeded anything Vallas could have thought possible, claimed in The Newark Star Ledger to have been a kind of South Side working class kid whose buddies who dropped out of high school could get a job "in the mills." Duncan was a child of the rich, and of the Hyde Park aristocracy, not a kid whose grandfather was coughing out his lungs from 30 years of work in the coke ovens. Like Vallas, he was and is a fraud.

In early 2007, Substance realized that our old Website ( was not sufficient for the kind of work we wanted to do on the Web. Because we could not transition the site from the old site, we reserved a new domain name ( and brought out a new site, designed by Whitney Young High School senior Dan Schmidt (my son) and modeled on some of the best news sites available at the time. has produced daily content every day (with rare exceptions) ever since. The basis for the organization of is what we call the "Monthly Chapter." Like a book, each month at is a chapter. At the top of the current Home Page are the latest stories and analyses for the current month. Once a new month begins, a new chapter begins, and the recent month's chapter goes into Back Issues.

Among other things, thanks to the Substance reporters and photographers, Substance now has the most complete history of the meetings of the Chicago Board of Education available on line. While it is relatively easy for fans to get Back Issues on the current site (, some of what we are calling "Substance's greatest hits" are more difficult to find on the "old" site (

Readers currently reveling in the lies of Paul Ryan would do well to consider how such a corrupt racist as Paul Vallas was able to survive so long in power. Grady Jordan's analysis "The Paul Vallas I know, Has Chicago seen this much official racism since the end of Jim Crow?" was published in Substance in March 2002. We learned then and since that the only thing you need to be a "Chief Executive Officer" in the era of corporate school reform is the willingness to follow the party line. Vallas's survival isn't yet as long as that of similar frauds, such as Bernie Madoff, but he's approaching that.

We are hoping to provide readers with something of an index after the Chicago schools strike of 2012 is won, but for now we will cite a couple of stories that made an impact. For example, our colleague and friend Grady C. Jordan, who for more than 40 years has been a leader in the struggle for equality and equity in Chicago's schools, provided our readers with an insight into Paul Vallas in "The Paul Vallas I Knew" nearly ten years ago. The URL for Dr. Jordan's piece is:,r:6,s:323,i:114

One of the most comprehensive reports on the massive Chicago May Day march of 2006 was reported first in Substance, and it included photographs showing the massiveness of the march which we called "The largest May Day march in the history of the city that invented May Day."

Since 2007, Substance articles have been available at in Back Issues. Google searches have also helped readers locate some of the histories that others are trying to wipe from the record.

Substance is in 2012, as usual, in need to funds. When we made the transition from print only to "Web and print" we took a gamble. Revenue from our print subscriptions have long supported us. Please subscribe or make a donation (the buttons are on the right on our Home Page) today.


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