Rahm abandoning UNO? How far will accountability go against the most racist charter schools in Chicago -- and UNO's attack on the unions, from New Orleans to Chicago and beyond?
As the day dawned without a blizzard in Chicago on February 8, 2013, the Sun-Times was reporting that Mayor Rahm Emanuel was talking about hold UNO "accountable." If that be so, the first place would be in Chicago's public schools, where UNO should be denied further charter "campuses" and where UNO should be subjected to a full investigation (not simply an audit). And one of the things that the investigation will show is that UNO's charter schools have preyed double, snatching children from the Catholic schools, on the one hand, and in a major racist thrust making sure that their student bodies were the smallest possible in terms of African American children.
This week, on Channel 11, Carol Marin hosted a show about UNO, but UNO didn't show. What was shown, as Marin talked about the UNO investigation with Sun-Times reporter, was that the UNO schools in the background during the conversation had no black children. That has been the UNO recruitment pitch for years: The schools were marketed as Catholic schools without the cost. And the cost was paid by two groups in Chicago even more than the local public schools. The Catholic schools lost students to UNO's recruiters, since the UNO schools did not charge tuition. And the schools of Chicago became more segregated, as the UNO schools exclude almost all black students and teachers from their ranks.
The last piece of UNO's corruption came during the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012, when UNO sent its recruiters around the Southwest Side to tell parents that UNO schools were open even as the city's real public schools were closed because of the teachers' strike.
The long list of UNO's crimes against public education and democracy will also, eventually, include the fact that UNO (and UNO's Juan Rangal) helped Paul Vallas to establish the nation's most corrupt and segregated school system in New Orleans. There, UNO bragged about helping establish the charter schools that replaced most of the city's public schools following Hurricane Katrina. What was left out of the narrative was that by helping Vallas, UNO also helped destroy the largest and most powerful mostly African American union in Louisiana. The United Teachers of New Orleans, once a mainstay of the American Federation of Teachers, was virtually wiped out by the work of Vallas, assisted by UNO.
As the racist nature of UNO's part in the attack on public schools and unions becomes more clear, it isn't clear how far Rahm Emanuel will go in making sure that some kind of accountability falls on UNO.