Teacher Bashing at the Chicago Tribune: Fenger story never ran, while puff piece on Sherman 'turnaround' filled page one for three days

During the days following the Fenger 'turnaround' hearing on February 10 at Chicago Board of Education headquarters, Substance received a number of phone calls because some people were given the false impression that the Chicago Tribune was taking an interest in the problems facing the poorest children attending Chicago's public schools. On February 12, a story about Las Casas. On February 13, a story about homeless children. Had the newspaper that he spend two decades teacher bashing and union busting turned around its own editorial policies and unleashed its reporters to tell the truth?


Two years ago, the Tribune had enough material to run a five-part series on the hear-breaking reality of Fenger High School. During the 2006-2007 school year, Tribune reporter Traci Dell'angela spent at least one day a week at Fenger. She was at Fenger the day a Fenger student cut class to try and burlarize a home and wound up being shot dead by a Chicago Police officer returning from work. She saw the violence, interviewed the teachers who tried to ameliorate the hardship, and gathered all of the data that proved how the Chicago Board of Education was 'dumping' its most troubled students into Fenger every day: gang members; the recently incarcerated; the homeless.

Did the story ever run?


Instead, over the Labor Day Weekend at the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year, the Tribune ran a front page series on the Sherman school 'turnaround' -- even thought Sherman had not turned around anything yet (and the heroic teacher who was the centerpiece of the series quit working at Sherman at the end of the 2006-2007 school year and went to work in Waukegan.

The Tribune has been publishing union busting propaganda in its news columns for generations, but during the past few years, as the Tribune's wealthiest executives have become patrons of Chicago's charter schools, the situation has gotten even worse than it was 20 years ago when the Tribune published the only "Tribune Book" to appear during the last quarter of the 20th Century.

The book?

"Chicago's Schools -- Worst in America." 


February 18, 2009 at 2:27 PM

By: Jim Vail

Chicago Trib.

The Tribune is so anti-human - good riddance if they're bankrupt. They fought against the living wage, and the minimum wage. They are so pro-corporate anti-public accountability, pro-Iraq war and charter school rah rah cheerleaders. They look like complete idiots. They are the perfect example why businesses are destroying everything they touch. It's unashamedly corporate propaganda masquerading as "news."

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 + 4 =