Editorial: Huberman's 'Jobs for Jerks' program is typical of 'data driven' insanities

The first week of September 2009 was heartbreaking for hundreds of Chicago teachers and school security workers. Between August 31 and September 4, those teachers and school security staff who didn't get the word during the summer returned to their schools and jobs to find out they didn't have schools or jobs to return to.

Instead, they were bunched in bunches of 50 at the Chicago Board of Education's personnel offices and read their rights to unemployment insurance. Fifty at a time. The total still not made public. Lives shattered, families threatened, careers ruined. Schools, again, sabotaged. Security decimated, classrooms without teachers.

What was the "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago's public schools doing that week?

Announcing a program funded by $30 million in federal money to "mentor" around 1,200 street gang members and provide them with jobs.

Only in Chicago is such a perverted, deranged and insane version of reality capable of happening, and of being promoted by the city's corporate media with a straight face as worthy of serious comment. Chicago's corporate media is ignoring the tragedy of widespread joblessness in the schools, while touting a crazy program to provide jobs for gangsters who have often been terrorizing those same schools!

What a back to school message for the majority of children, families, teachers, and security people who try to play by the rules and who often risk life and limb to stop the gangs.

Back when Paul G. Vallas was the Chief Executive Officer of Chicago's public schools, in the late 1990s, Substance ran an article on the problem of gang violence in Chicago's public schools.

It was called "It's the gangs, stupid," and was a reminder of the old Bill Clinton war room reminder, "It's the economy, stupid."

Youth violence in Chicago, despite the random death of some innocent bystander, is not usually random, but precise. Gang members are shooting at, maiming, and killing other gang members while they sell illegal drugs and engage in other illegal activities. So Chicago's public schools have decided to ignore the drug gangs and promote illusions, while insulting every child who studies hard, every family that works hard, and every person working for CPS who doesn't follow the "Hustle of the Week" agenda of CEO Ron Huberman.

Only in Chicago could the weekend news stories be filled with tales of how the city intends to spend millions of dollars — conveniently supplied by Arne Duncan from the federal treasury — on a mentoring and jobs program for a group of people who are, according to CPS computers, likely to be shot in the next year.

But that group didn't need a computer to identify it. All you really needed was to spend some human time in the communiities that have been terrorized by Chicago's drug gangs for years, decades, and, in some cases, generations.

During the same days when the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, and the City Club of Chicago were spending their time hearing Ron Huberman promote and expensive program to identify those young people likely to become the victims of violent deaths, a large group of people who might have helped head off those deaths was heading for the unemployment offices: the security people and teachers who were being laid off by Ron Huberman while Ron Huberman conjured up a media event over a program to provide federal jobs to a group the majority of which consists of hard-core gang members.

It is no wonder that the program, as it sinks in the public consciousness in Chicago, is being called "Jobs for Jerks." The kinds of young people who are out on corners at 1:00 in the morning, as Ron Huberman's computers could have shared, are likely to be street gang members. They are also plausibly involved in the multi-million dollar Chicago drug trades, which is a monopoly of the two major street gang nations ("People" and "Folks") in Chicago.

If Ron Huberman's computers are not telling him that information, then the computers should be unplugged and the money wasted on them returned to the taxpayers, where it can be spent on police, teachers, and security in the real world, rather than in the alternative reality that Ron Huberman is trying to conjure up with his computers.

Every teacher who has been laid off by Ron Huberman now has a major issue with Chicago's priorities. Huberman has been firing teachers and he has told the world he intends to hire gang members.

Every security aide who has been laid off by Ron Huberman now has a major issue. Huberman is crippling the ability of schools to head off gang violence while spending millions of dollars on jobs for the people who have been creating the violence.

Here at Substance we know a lot about computers, a lot about security, a lot about teaching, and a lot about gangs.

Common sense tells the world that a CEO who lays off hard working middle class people while making big plans to hire a group of lawbreakers has his priorities totally messed up. And there is no such excuse as "The computer made me do it." Huberman prides himself on two things in his background: police work and computer work.

His "Jobs for Jerks" program, announced on September 4, fails both as police work and as computer work. Most importantly, it fails the common sense test.

Imagine the sinking feeling in the souls of those teachers and security people that Huberman just dumped when they face their own children, who are likely to be the ones doing their homework every night and not hanging on a drug corner at 1:00 in the morning when the shooting starts. "Why aren't you going to work, Daddy?"

The answer from the people who rule Chicago and the people at the media who tell Chicago what to think and what publicity stunts are worth touting as "news" are as clueless as the CEOs who come up with crazy ideas like this.

By the time "Jobs for Jerks" was widely known, "Jobs for Jerks" was the most mild term for Huberman's pre-school plan. The things that are being said about the idea by law enforcement, security, and even some teachers are not printable here, but if Chicago doesn't reign in this craziness and direct that $30 million or $35 million to rehiring every teacher and every security person fired by Ron Huberman by the first day children return to Chicago's schools on September 8, we'll begin printing, here, every name people are using to describe this crazy program and the people in Chicago and Washington, D.C. who are praising it. 


September 4, 2009 at 2:40 PM

By: Been there, done that...

Call it 'Cash for Creeps'

it's not "Jobs for Jerks."

This is Chicago. These are political jobs. They're going to get paid for having a pulse and not doing any work. Call it "Cash for Creeps." Bigger than "Hired Truck."

Isn't it true that CPS is supposed to do a criminal background check before hiring people? Maybe the money is going to be funneled through the churches or the universities. Wouldn't that be like the government did the last time it blew millions of dollars on patronage programs like this for the gangs?

September 7, 2009 at 1:11 AM

By: zeta

Cowards and Criminals

The two go hand and hand. I have always known since Ren 2010 that the gang- bangers and CPS Administrators work hand and hand. Principals get these gang-bangers to do their dirty work. They encourage the most out of control students to lie on teachers, attack and verbally assault them. Of course it's the teachers fault. These Administrators are cowards and stand for nothing. (which only means they will fall for anything." Any person that would take the jobs from decent hardworking teachers and give jobs to gang-bangers who have done nothing but terrorize the community is nothing but slime. I guess the rationale is, if they can get the "bullies' on their side they will leave them alone. Good hardworking teachers are sandwiched between these two sets of monsters. I wouldn't be surprised if they brought them in to teach the children!

September 9, 2009 at 6:50 PM

By: Jericho

Sacrifices For Scavengers

Monica Eng of the Tribune wrote an article September 8 about physical education in the Chicago Public Schools entitled For Chicago Public Schools, gym class finishes last. It was a nice, wistful article, but it needed to be filled with fire and brimstone. The Chicago Public Schools are about the business of educating children so that they may lead successful lives and hopefully contribute to the common good as citizens of this country. The lesson in this latest example of poor behavior by the Board of Education and the city government is that it is absolutely OK to break the law. The article states:

"The district boasts one of the country's strictest wellness policies, recommending 155 minutes to 225 minutes of physical education per week for elementary school students. And it's located in Illinois, one of only two states to require daily gym for students.

The problem is the district doesn't follow those rules. Several elementary schools surveyed by the Tribune reported offering gym class once a week and a district spokeswoman said that was typical."

CPS should immediately scrap the Student Code of Conduct and the Employee Code of Conduct. An institution without a moral compass certainly has no business setting the standard for anyone's behavior, students or teachers. In the Student Code of Conduct, one can find this fairy tale, "The SCC is consistent with Illinois School Code, the Rules of the Board of Education of the City of Chicago, negotiated agreements with employee groups, and all other applicable state and federal laws."

CPS spokeswoman Monique Bond said "scheduling PE five days a week would cut into instructional time, a priority that we must also carefully balance." If the Board had followed the law all along, the positions would be in place and working. This wouldn't now be a matter to work out. Let the Board get rid of all the do-nothing bureaucrats that they are tripping over as they once again sacrifice students for scavengers.

Reporter Monica Eng also reports that Prescott PE teacher, Linda Wallace, had her position reduced to part time. This was not a result of some sad lack of funding. This was yet another of the principal's sneak attacks as he reenacts Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. Since August, 2008 he has now gotten rid of 8 of the 14 veteran teachers that he inherited. Because the Board yawns while not following Illinois law, Erin Roche's streak of wins continues. He could casually change a full-time PE position to halftime and knew that no one from downtown would pick up a phone and ask him what the hell he was doing. CAO James Cosme can't imagine a scenario that could get him out to Prescott to act like a supervisor and question Roche. Now there is a part time gym teacher teaching part time gym.

And life at CPS is good.

September 9, 2009 at 7:19 PM

By: zeta

Another plan

A lack of morality is at the heart of every problem hat exist at CPS. Basically since Chicago has a strong affiliation and tie with gangsters and gang bangers, why not do what they have a history of doing in Chicago, supporting and giving money to the worst of the worst. Remember the million dollar pay off that the first Mayor Daley gave to the Black P Stone Nation to "inspire them" We'll the African American community hasn't recovered yet! (They used the money to funnel drugs and guns into the neighborhood). Here's an idea for Huber-boy, What about gathering up the smartest 200 students in the neighborhood and taking them away from these "hood rats". Why not build an Oprah styled gifted center for them instead of wasting 30 million on this nonsense. OOps I forgot, CPS administrators are cowards and have to make deals with little terrorist!

September 10, 2009 at 3:28 PM

By: Linda Wallace

Highly qualified sub??

Thank you for your comments, Jericho. Please note that the part time gym teacher is not endorsed to teach elementary PE. He is classified as a substitute. One of his favorite activities is, apparently, dodgeball, a BIG no-no in any sequentially planned PE curriculum.

September 10, 2009 at 5:20 PM

By: George N. Schmidt

Editor, Substance

Jerry, if you want to comment to someone who us using a full name, you have to do so, too. Otherwise, it's delete. Thanks. First Name and Last Name -- the ones attached to your e-mail.

September 11, 2009 at 1:20 AM

By: kugler

value of militant action

Union representatives have long alleged that Republic violated labor law, including by removing machinery from the plant as it closed. Republic executives had denied wrongdoing.

time for action!

September 11, 2009 at 2:21 AM

By: rampant

Corruption and abuse of workers rights

Corruption and abuse of workers rights

United Electrical Workers Local 1110, which fought for months to help the Republic Windows workers recoup their wages and benefits, responded to the news today. From a release:

Corruption and abuse of workers rights is rampant in corporate America. Very often where you see violations of workers rights there are other corporate crimes and poor conditions as well. Republic Windows and Doors is just one example of something that happens routinely to working people. UE members at Republic Windows and Doors organized and fought back against abuse and won.

We hope to see justice served in this case, but we know that many other workers suffer and deserve justice as well. In part that can come about labor law reform that would ensure, for the first time, penalties for violations of labor law and by aggressively holding corporations accountable when they violate our rights.

"We feel like justice has finally come and we all hope that this is the beginning of more bosses being held accountable for their crimes against workers", said Melvin Maclin, Vice-President of UE Local 1110 and a former Republic Windows and Doors worker.

"moving assets or hijacking assets of the company that legally belonged to its creditors,"

john kugler

September 15, 2009 at 3:06 PM

By: gokrtmozart


They CPS is afraid to conront parents about gang-bangers, because the parents of the gang-bangers are gang-bangers themselves.

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