CLOSING FAILING CHARTERS MIGHT BE A BEGINNING: How to help the CPS 'budget crisis'... By all means, Chicago should close 'failing' schools — starting with half the charters. And get full 'market' rent (finally) for all of them!

This part is going to be fun. Every ruling class lie we've protested from Substance the past decade and through CORE the past five years (and some of us have dealt with the past dozen or more) now unravels in the face of facts. And it's clear now that the ruling class BIG LIES going forward will be:

1. There is no money.

2. The only way to get more money is to get rid of schools we don't need.

And from my point of view, I agree with that.

"The most obvious way will be to close unneeded schools. With little or no new revenue on the way, the district instead will have to cut spending..." (Greg Hinz in Crain's today on line). Anyone reading the major corporate media outlets will know that since the Chicago Teachers Union won the strike, reporters from The New York Times and Wall Street Journal to locals at the Tribune and Sun-Times have been obsessed with pouring the "news" into the news columns that (A) CPS IS BROKE AND FACING A BILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT and (B) THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS ENDING THE BROKE-NESS IS TO CLOSE LOTS OF REAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS!


And while in most cases, a few sensible public policy adjustments will show that closing schools in Chicago is a bad idea, there is one place where many pseudo-schools can be closed and where "market forces" can be applied to raise CPS revenues now: Chicago's nearly 100 charter schools.

Here are a few facts.

1. The dollar-a-year rental scams. Most of the charter schools that are in CPS buildings are paying $1 per year "rent." Most of the others have "purchased" their buildings on money fronted to them by the public. In both cases, a secret crony capitalism has underwritten all that choiciness the charters love to prattle about. So an immediate fix is for CPS to get fair rentals from its charter school tenants. All CPS needs to do to get up some money is to raise the rent to "market" rates for the square footage of space they have, carefully measured in a Bain Capital kind of way. Now some of the charters will then pay less than others. For example, I doubt that "market" for Austin High School (on Pine St.) will be the same as for CICS on Clybourn, but fair's fair. After all, the people preaching this bit of conventional wisdom are the same ones who actually believe all that John Galt bullshit they memorized when masturbating to the dirty parts of "Atlas Shrugged" when they were high school sophomores.

Market rates. How could a capitalist disagree?

That would raise some revenue.

Or CPS could close every charter that is "underutilizing" its space. Contrary to all the nonsense, most charters are vamping around in almost empty buildings. My favorite has been "Polaris" for years, inside what used to me Morse Elementary. But virtually all of them are wasting public resources by "underutilization."

And then there is the accountability piece.

Most of the miracle charter schools are "failing" by comparison with their real school peers. That means the real public schools in the same geographical — and demographic (this is important) — cohort.

After all, since 2002 Chicago has been closing "failing" schools.

It's time to close down the biggest failures of all: the city's charter schools.

After that we can talk about what's "under..." whatever in each community in the real public schools.

George Schmidt


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