Vitale gag successful on speakers for the July Board of Education meeting! Speakers 'closed' by 8:05 a.m. on July 13, as Board and mayor continue to refuse to allow public participation at public meetings of the public schools' Board...

It's 8:05 a.m. on July 13, 2015, and I was just told by the Board of Education's website ( that "all speaker slots are filled" when I tried to sign up to speak at the July 22 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. This is an even more telling example of how the Board gags the public under the rule of Jesse Ruiz and David Vitale, who have been President and Vice President of the Board of Education since appointed by Rahm Emanuel in May 2011.

On May 27, 2015, Tim King of Urban Prep charter school in Chicago was one of the charter school leaders who packed the Board of Education meeting (see above) and blocked out others from speaking, with the help of Board President David Vitale and Board "Interim CEO" Jesse Ruiz. Above, King lined up with dozens of Urban Prep people at the railing during public participation at the Board meeting. Substance photo by David Vance.The way they do it is by a math trick, so cynical that they should be ashamed, but never are when they are caught lying, cheating and stealing from working people.

Since January 2013, Vitale has edicted that only 60 speakers can sign up for the Board meetings, based on the mindless math formula that goes like this:

The Board allocates "two minutes" per speaker at each meeting.

The Board allocates two hours for ALL public speakers, no matter how many people want to speak. this is unprecedented, one of the many attacks on democracy foisted on Chicago by Rahm Emanuel. The reasons? Vitale, Ruiz, and Emanual do not want citizens on TV talking the facts about their mismanagement of the nation's third largest school system.

So, at 8:05 this morning, July 13, 2015, I went to to sign up to speak. When I began typing in my information, the Board told me there were seven slots still available.

By the time I got done with all the "required" information (they even want your address), I received a message that all the slots to speak had been filled. If I wanted, I could sign up to "attend" the meeting (they are limiting the attendance at these public meetings to 100 people; another cynical attack on democracy).

Substance has been covering the Board of Education meetings for decades, and never in history has this much been done to attack democracy and gag those who wish to speak out. What's more, Vitale's allies (mostly, charter school people) sign up in packs to speak, often as many as 20 people signing up for one charter school.

Then the number is reduced to four or five. The result is that since January 2015, there have never been more than 25 people who actually spoke at a Board meeting. The number 60 is not only a cynical cap - but a lie. Once the Board gets done stalling and culling its speakers, the number of people left are few.

Which is precisely what the members of the Board of Education and the mayor who appointed them want.


July 16, 2015 at 12:22 AM

By: Neal Resnikoff

Pack the Board meeting July 22. Make the Rich Pay

The CTU web site states: We need to pack this Board meeting and have our members and supporters speak. Let Rahm and his handpicked Board know that we will not stand for this attack. CPS is broke on purpose and Rahms corporate friends should pay back their fair share to ensure our schools get full funding.

July 20, 2015 at 10:10 PM

By: Neal Resnikoff

9 a.m.Picket the Wed Board meeting

from the CTU--

Revenue, Not Cuts

Ill Walk the Line

The CPS leadership crisis is on full display and it is up to educators, parents and community members to demand an end to the failed policies that have brought us here: a corrupt culture of outsourcing services and borrowing against our futures. CPS is making unconscionable cuts to special educationtargeting our most vulnerable studentseven as they let the deadline go by to recoup excessive charges from their toxic swap loans.

We need real revenue options that make corporations, banks and the wealthiest Chicagoans pay their fair share.

We can hardly assume that the mayors new handpicked hacks are up to the task, we must raise our voices and force them to make the right choices. CPS is broke on purpose!

Join us to picket the Board Meeting. The picket will begin at 9:00 a.m. outside CPS headquarters.

If you signed up with CPS to attend the meeting, click here to let us know. Please also let us know if you signed up to speak at the meeting.

Wednesday, July 22

9:00 AM

CPS Headquarters

Madison & Dearborn

Ill Walk the Line

Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

4 + 2 =