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).


January 24, 2013 at 11:55 PM

By: John Kugler

CPS Promoting Porn!?

Chicago Public Schools Chief Accidentally Sends Racy Website In Email To Parents

An anonymous tipster sent us an email parents received from Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett that contained an embarrassing URL mistake sending parents to a somewhat racy website.

Surely she meant to send parents to "The New Illinois Learning Standards Incorporating the Common Core" at But somehow an "l" snuck in there, sending parents to, an error page on a "private invite-only community" for women to "enrich the modern woman's sex life." The final sentence of the email titled, "Important Message From CEO Byrd-Bennett On Changes To ISAT" reads:

For more information on the Common Core, please visit or

No judgment here, Ms. Byrd-Bennett. We've all been there. The URL is very similar, meaning readers shouldn't jump to the conclusion she was previously cruising the site she sent out. But if she was cruising the site, still no judgment here, Ms. Byrd-Bennett. Kudos.

As if the website itself weren't embarrassing enough, the error page reads, "Oops, someone has been naughty. But we'll take care of her, we promise. Click here to go back."

January 25, 2013 at 11:04 AM

By: John Kugler

AUP Policy 604.1 Sec. VC4 & Sec. X

C. Unacceptable Use. Unacceptable use of the CPS Network and Computer Resources is

prohibited. Users shall not use the CPS Network or Computer Resources including access to the Internet, Intranet, Collaboration Systems or E-mail to use, upload, post, mail, display, store, or otherwise transmit in any manner any content, communication or information that, among other unacceptable uses:

4. constitutes use for, or in support of, any obscene or pornographic purpose including, but not limited to, the transmitting, retrieving or viewing of any profane, obscene, or sexually explicit material;


Employees who fail to abide by this policy are subject to discipline in accordance with the Board’s Employee Discipline and Due Process Policy with corrective action ranging from suspension or permanent revocation of CPS Network access privileges to termination of employment. Violations of certain provisions in this policy may also subject a User to civil and criminal liability according to applicable federal and state laws. Any Board contractor, consultant, volunteer or other business partner who violates this policy may have their system access privileges suspended and may further be subject to contract termination or any other remedy or action deemed appropriate by the Board.

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