How many 'waiting lists' can one sophist dance on the head of a fictional pen?... Charter's Big Lies debunked at Catalyst debate

It's been really a pleasure to re-read and watch, thanks to Catalyst, the "debate" over charter schools held last week. The participants -- Jackson Potter from the CTU, Charles Payne, from the University of Chicago, and Andrew Broy from the Illinois Network of Charter Schools -- were all articulate.

Andrew Broy, President of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, continues to escalate the fraudulent claim that the proof for the expansion of Chicago charter schools is the fact that there is a supposed "waiting list" for admission into the charters. During the years that Arne Duncan (2001 - 2009) was pushing charter school expansion under former Mayor Richard M. Daley, the magic number for the charter schools "waiting list" was 9,000 children. During the past year, Broy and charter school apologists and propagandists have doubled down, increasing the claim of a "waiting list" to "18,000." During the Catalyst debate, CTU's Jackson Potter noted that despite the supposed "waiting list" (which would have meant that Chicago charter schools were filled to the walls and beyond and had no space for more kids) during the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012 charter propagandists, including Broy, made public statements that there were seats available for children who had been locked out because of the official union strike at the charter schools. Chicago charter schools lies also became the talking points reported in the national media -- from the network TV statioins to the editorial pages of the Washington Post, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal, attacking the unionized teachers of Chicago. For seven years Substance has demanded a copy of the waiting list from CPS, and has not received this information, which supposedly should be public. Substance photo above taken during the June 2012 Chicago Board meeting by George N. Schmidt. But my favorite time always comes when we are subjected to the fictional numerological machinations of the charter school people. When Arne Duncan made up the fiction that a charter school "waiting list" was some kind of measure of why we needed to eternally expand Chicago charters, I challenged him to publish the list. As usual, his Fuck You answer was "I'll get back to you on that..." I'm still waiting, and every time I see Arne, I want to ask him for that list again.

The "waiting list" is one of the many lies that Chicago invented to push the charters.

Not a misunderstanding, a lie. They made it up with the help of Arne Duncan, who began the lie when he was head of Chicago's public schools and has been spreading it since he became U.S. Secretary of Education in January 2009. Pure fiction, but what's integrity when a talking point is being field tested?

Chicago — and the "Chicago Boys" — have always been a source of what critics have long called "Magic Numbers."

Once upon a time, that number in Chicago was lower than it is today. When Arne Duncan was doing the job at the Chicago level, the magic number he made up was "9,000." He repeated it, a talking point, for years and years, then when Barack Obama made him (and the Chicago Boys) U.S. Secretary of Education (actually, a reiteration of the infamous plan the same guys and ideology did in Chile), the famous "9,000 ..." waiting list lie continued. Only then it was, at various times, various other cities.

By the time this week's debate took place, the Magic Number had doubled.

Andre Broy is now going around claiming that Chicago charters have a "waiting list" of 18,000. BY GOSH! OMG! IT'S DOUBLED! And so, based on the Big Lie out of Chicago, the latest Chicago Board of Education is planning to double the already overbloated CPS number of charters.

Next time they get the chance, the charter liars will be figuring out how to double-down on that one. After all, Arne Duncan got along with his "9,000 waiting list..." lie for years. So now Andrew Broy spouts that "18,000..." number. My bet is that if they keep getting away with this stuff, next time we're going to have an IMP math lesson.

What comes next in the fictional charter "waiting list"?

Some people would suggestion the number is 27,000.

But my bet is that they will really celebrate their progression and tell the world, next, that the "waiting list" is 36,000. Instead of ploying an increase of 9,000 every couple of years, they are going to go into a geometric progression: double the number each time you get away with it.

So the formula at Charter Central for creating the waiting list is X + X + X equals "Waiting List." (We need some additional data on the number of years they keep with the previous lie; it sounds like about five or six, but we need to check that).

But the formula may be:



Then 4X

Giving us 36,000 next time the lie is updated.


November 17, 2012 at 10:16 AM

By: Paulette Lane

Charter School Debate Hosted by Catalyst & Better Government Association

I attended the Charter School Debate and heard Charles Payne make the following comment "Neighborhoods should have a say in what kind of Charter comes to their neighborhood and whether they should." Well I live in Gapco Community within Douglas and Prologue Alternative Charter bought the land before engaging the community. This doesn't feel like we have a "Choice." Buying the facility before asking the community if they are interested is more like forcing your way into the community. After they made their sales pitch to our community organization on how they would bring at risk students up to age 24 with previous gang affiliations that were kicked out of other alternative schools and move them directly across the street from our elementary magnet school, in a closed funeral home they purchased, our community voted "no" to their plans. The community voted "no" because according to the Census Bureau we only have about 700 high school age students, many of which attend schools outside the community. However we have over 6,000 high school students already traveling to our area coupled with the fact that 5 charter schools are already in our community and one is an alternative high school. So again, we voted "no" but I am sad to report that they have an attorney who has cancelled the zoning hearing twice, obviously to drain our energy from galvanizing against their efforts to bring predators across the street from our elementary school children. Now the zoning hearing is in December. I suspect they chose this time because families are very busy this time of year and they are hoping they can slide in anyway. Again, does this sound like we have "Choice?"

November 17, 2012 at 10:37 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Dr. Payne's stunning ignorance of history of CPS 'reforms'

Thanks for raising this one example of the problems we face when anyone from my Alma Mater automatically becomes an expert because the "University of Chicago" is pressed into service (along with the word "Doctor") for purposes of establishing a magical expertise.

Anyone who reads or watched the lengthy discussion sees quickly that Dr. Payne has little (I would argue NO) understanding of the history of the machinations of charter schools in CPS, or their various corporate "reform" predecessors. While each iteration of the expansion of the Chicago charter schools since the 1990s is distinct, as you point out about Prologue, a careful and precise examination of the history shows that CPS made the decision to place charters in these communities, with absolutely no regard for the expressed wishes of anyone in the community.


Each year, since CPS began pushing charters, the Big Lie is that somehow there is a "demand" for charters, but that is simply fiction. As Jackson Potter pointed out (too politely in my opinion) CPS forces a shortage (like the "Shock Doctrine") on a community and then claims that the "demand" represents parental choice.

But when massive parental opposition is expressed, as has been the case in virtually every iteration of Chicago charter expansion, the opposition is ignored. Every manipulation goes into creating the charter despite the community's desires.

This goes back more than a decade, but became more and more serious after the Civic Committee issued its complete attack on public education ("Still Left Behind") in 2003. That document became the blueprint for "Renaissance 2010." Since then, Chicago has had a trail of tears as community after community has been invaded by charters. But without CPS (and ruling class) support, not one of those charters would survive.

Every year is the same story, and we have reported (virtually exclusively) that fact.

Dr. Payne could easily demand some history, and do some studies. Instead, he repeats slanders -- "a failing system" -- and caters to the conventional wisdom or corporate Chicago. Should he ever prove interested in the actual facts of the history, we can begin to discuss those facts going back to the origins of the Arne Duncan charter push (the attack by Duncan on Terrell, Dodge and Williams) and coming up to this day. Each of those attacks has its own unique history, and nobody who is serious about scholarship and research should settle for less than an accurate narrative.

But that is not the case in Chicago today, and the University of Chicago is often the place that provides the professors who fit the fig leaf to Chicago's charter school Big Lie, just as Chicago provided the "Chicago Boys" for the charter school assault on democracy in Chile 40 years ago or the national assault under the generalship of Arne Duncan in 2012.

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