BOARDWATCH JANUARY 2013: From the paid protesters to the plutocratically prompted 'parents'... The City Hall scripts provide the chorus cheering on the latest incubated innovations in corporate reform during the Reign of Rahm

From August 2011 until all the media whistles were blown on it in January 2012, one of the most persistent choruses in favor of Rahm Emanuel's "Longer School Day" push came from protesters who were regularly carrying signs -- at City Hall, at community meetings, and at the school board -- praising and demanding the "Longer School Day" and reading scripts that sometimes they couldn't quite pronounce praising Rahm's proposal. That version of reality collapsed one year ago, in January 2012, when the rest of Chicago's reporters caught up with the story that Substance had first reported in August and September 2011: the protesters were paid, and most had no idea what they were talking about. In a poor town, plutocrats can buy a lot for a few bucks.

By January 2013, that year's paid protesters were nowhere to be seen, and the idiocies of the "Longer School Day" that the Illinois General Assembly had given Chicago's mayor were still unfolding across the nation's third largest school system.

But if the paid protesters had disappeared, a new chorus had arrived on stage to praise the latest script from City Hall: they might be called "Parents for Plutocratic Reform." Trained by the millionaires' front group Stand for Children, a group of parents stood up at various times during the January 23, 2013 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education to praise charter schools and turnarounds and trash the teachers and other staff who had been fired, some less than a year ago, from schools that had been ruthlessly declared failures and purged through "turnaround."

As usual, the members of the Chicago Board of Education, led by Board President David Vitale, praised and smiled at the parents who provided those affirmations, while almost snarling at those who continued to take issue with the policies of the Board (significantly revamped, but not fundamentally changed, for 2013).