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MEDIA WATCH: One picture, or a thousand words... As 'Northwest Side News' scoops the FOR (Friends of Rahm) downtown corporate media hacks with an editorial cartoon that tells the truth about the 2013 Hit List plans

Anyone who believes that teachers, parents and children in the "O'Hare Network" (where the Schmidt family lives and where our two youngest sons attend CPS school) will just buy the lie ooozing out of the City Hall scriptoriums should check out the latest issue of our community's weekly (independent, family owned) newspaper -- the "Northwest Side News." The Nadig family has been publishing the Northwest Side News since the Great Depression and remains independent of the downtown lies and hype. This week, their editorial cartoon hits a big nail on the head noting that the closing of real public schools will lead to the opening of hyped charter schools.

There is some independent journalism still in Chicago. Above, the editorial cartoon from the Nadig Newspapers ("Chicago Northwest Side News") of February 20, 2013, as the "O'Hare Network" hearing looms. Saturday, the "O'Hare Network" hearing on the 2013 Hit List will get the same earful in opposition to the Hit List that comes from the "networks" where schools are being closed. Up here, the problem is overcrowding, but nobody -- NOBODY -- wants charter schools to be replacing community public schools. Despite the fact that Rahm Emanuel, CPS, and Rahm's City Hall flacks and hacks (led by Alderman Danny Solis) forced one local ward to take in one charter school (the Christopher House liars) last year, the way it reads up here is: UNWELCOME MAT is out for charters and charter hype. The charters that snuck in below the radar (and there are a few) will be the last in this part of town.

Nobody in this part of town believes Barbara Byrd Bennett (or anyone from the City Hall propaganda machine) when they proclaim that this latest scam is not about flipping real public schools to open charters that get public buildings for a dollar a year and then claim how poor they are. Well, not quite nobody: There is one alderman who still hasn't made up his mind about charter schools in the northwest side. But, then, he was confused about Harold Washington and the disgrace at St. Pascal's way back when, too. And then there is that State Senator who gave away the newest public school building in Albany Park before she betrayed and sold out her constituents by going along with the Hit List "extension" request in Springfield. Well, election days will come again, and memories won't face.

The Chicago Teachers Union has also criticized the charter school expansions, with a February 21 press release noting that CPS is going to renew dozens of charters.

With 129 Schools on Board of Education ‘Hit List,’ Chicago Teachers Union

Calls for End to All Charter School Expansion and a Delay of UNO’s Charter Renewal

CHICAGO—In advance of a Chicago Board of Education Charter Renewal Public Hearing today at Chicago Public School (CPS) headquarters, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) continues to call for an end to charter expansion and to delay deliberation of UNO’s charter renewal while corruption investigations are pending and 129 traditional public schools remain in danger of being closed. The Board cannot in good faith close schools for budget reasons and simultaneously fund the creation of additional privately operated charter schools, for every seat created in a charter school potentially increases what CPS has called “chronic underutilization” of the public schools—its justification for mass school closings.

Charter purging—schools pushing out underperforming students at the beginning of each calendar year and boosting their academic numbers after receiving funding for all students the previous fall—is one of a number of issues surrounding charter schools. Other concerns include excessive fines for children from low-income families, who must pay the fines before receiving final grades (and often after being counseled out); labor management concerns and unfair charter teacher salaries; lesser-performing charter schools and the quality of education compared to Chicago Public Schools; and questionable financial practices and patronage among charter networks.

A formal complaint was filed by parents and fair education reformers with the state of Illinois in January against one of the operators up for renewal, the UNO Charter Schools Network, asking for an independent investigation of the network’s finances. UNO, which has close ties to the Mayor’s office, received $98 million from the state in 2009—the largest taxpayer subsidy to a single charter network—and was slated for an additional $35 million in state appropriations this year, which is the same amount earmarked for every CPS school combined.

Last week, an UNO executive resigned after press reports revealed the network had provided contracts to companies owned by two of his brothers.

“There are thousands of families starving for resources in their schools and CPS is diverting the funds to expand privately run charter schools,” said CTU President Karen GJ Lewis. “In addition, charters like UNO are improperly using taxpayer dollars to build their political empire. UNO parents deserve better, and the Board must provide oversight and reduce the UNO charter approval to one year and allow for an independent review of their finances, ethical infractions and diversion of resources away from instruction.”

The following schools are up for contract renewal, according to CPS:

• ACE Tech Charter School

• Amandla Charter School

• Aspira Charter School (Early College, Haugan and Ramirez campuses)

• Betty Shabazz International Charter School (DuSable, Shabazz and Sizemore campuses)

• Community Services West Career Academy

• KIPP Ascend Charter School

• North Lawndale College Prep (Christiana and Collins campuses)

• Passages Charter School

• Plato Learning Academy

• University of Chicago Charter School (Donoghue, North Kenwood/Oakland, Woodlawn and Woodson campuses)

• UNO (Casas, Fuentes, Homan Charter Elementary, Cisneros, Garcia, Paz, Marquez, Torres, Tamayo, Zizumbo, St. Marks, UNO Near West Elementary and UNO North Side Elementary campuses)

• Young Women’s Leadership Charter School of Chicago

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The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools and, by extension, the students and families they serve. CTU, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, is the third largest teachers local in the country and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information visit CTU’s website at www.ctunet.com

SG:oteg-743-tr



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