Duncan sabotages security at general high schools as... Prelude to privatization?

During the first week of October 2007, the Chicago Board of Education closed teaching positions and fired teachers at the city’s general high schools, adding to the chaos that had been brought about by the implementation of the IMPACT program (for student attendance and grading) and the People Soft program (for staff payroll). Because most of the schools were able to work around the centrally organized chaos, the problems, once again, landed most strongly on the city’s general high schools.

More and more people view it as a deliberate act of sabotage by Arne Duncan on behalf of his corporate and political masters.

By November 16, security problems were increasing at Chicago’s general high schools, as street gang members who had been welcomed into the schools so that principals could keep up their “numbers” and avoid more cuts in teachers became familiar with their schools. But the results were dangerous, and coupled with cutbacks in both security and special education staff, the general high schools were becoming powder kegs waiting for an explosion.

On November 16, two blew simultaneously.

By late morning, police in two Chicago districts were ordered to arrange their lunch hours around the dismissal times of Clemente and Crane High Schools. By day’s end, there had been five arrests at Clemente and 49 arrests at Crane.

Every teacher in every general high school in Chicago knows that the problems that students bring into the school every day — from homes living in poverty, from streets run by drug gangs, and from the suffering of America’s invisible poor — far outweigh the solutions that even the hardest working teachers can offer.

When the obstacles are increased by administrations that sap teacher energy with cronyism, things get worse quickly. At several general high schools this year, departures of new teachers have reached a level not seen since the 1970s and early 1980s.

The solution to the problems is not coming from Chicago’s administrations — city or schools. Both are attacking the city’s public schools, seeking to privatize as much as possible as soon as possible. 


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