Labor Beat Chicago video exposes Duncan's record and lies from his eight years as Chicago public schools 'CEO'

The Chicago labor news organization Labor Beat is still circulating the hit video about Arne Duncan and his work in Chicago at

CORE leaders Jackson Potter (above, center) is told by Hyatt Hotel security staff that the Chicago Police will arrest Potter and any of his fellow CPS teachers who enter the hotel, which is "private property." Potter and the teachers, parents, and students who protested outside the hotel were trying to enter to question U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the time of Duncan's June 19, 2009, breakfast speech to "Advance Illinois," the newest iteration of Chicago's corporate school reform. With the appointment of Duncan as U.S. Secretary of Education, President Barack Obama has indicated that he will expand the corrupt Chicago model for "school reform" across the entire USA. Substance caption and photo by George N. Schmidt.As it becomes more and more clear to more and more Americans that Arne Duncan's Chicago Plan is worse than No Child Left Behind and more dangerous than anything done during the eight year presidency of George W. Bush, it's more and more important that every who has Internet access takes a half hour to watch the Labor Beat story about the Chicago record of Arne Duncan.

"We used to call it segregation," the story begins, quoting me. "Now we call it school reform..." It goes on from there to highlight the massive protests that greeted all of the Chicago lies of Arne Duncan. Those lies were only sustained because of Chicago's unique dictatorial corporate "school reform" structure. As Chicago's lies — from charter school and privatization to "turnaround" — become more the basis for national policy, people across the USA have the opportunity to learn about what actually happened in Chicago under Arne Duncan, who served as CEO of Chicago's public schools from July 2001 through December 2008 at the behest of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Daley's corporate backers.

Despite massive protests against every iteration of "school reform" and the growing evidence that every claim made by Duncan and corporate Chicago on behalf of the Duncan policies against public education, the lies grew year after year. With no independent media to stop his lies and the major Chicago newspapers and TV stations simply repeating those lies, the challenges for Chicago teachers, parents, and students grew each year. The protests grew as well, and they continue now that Duncan has gone national.

While police were threatening to arrest members of the Chicago Teachers Union outside the Hyatt Hotel during Arne Duncan's June 19, 2009, speech to Advance Illinois, inside the building leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union were cheering Duncan and savoring breakfast. Above, Mark Wigler (in glasses, second from left, with big smile), Marilyn Stewart (hand on head, glasses, and big smile), and Lynn Cherkasky Davis (glasses, black-and-white patterned outfit, right) smiled and cheered Arne Duncan's speech. While many teachers in Chicago and across the country were organizing to oppose Duncan and the privatization and union busting policies of the U.S. Department of Education and "Race to the Top," the leaders of the CTU and the American Federation of Teachers were cheering Duncan and hosting him in support of his programs. Substance caption and photo by George N. Schmidt.Duncan would not have been able to advance his proposals as far as he has without the support of some of the highest paid union leaders in the USA, the officers and staff of the Chicago Teachers Union and the American Federation of Teachers. Beginning at the union's July 2008 convention in Chicago, the Chicago Teachers Union and AFT lined up behind many of the proposals that came to characterize the Obama privatization approach to public education, including the massive expansion of charter schools, merit pay, and the erosion of tenure and teachers' job protections through union collaboration with management. The "Chicago plan" and union collaboration with Duncan and Obama are featured in the Labor Beat video.

Two months after he announced that he would be taking a national tour with Newt Gingrich and Al Sharpton, Duncan returned to Washington, D.C., to tell the world that he and his staff had discovered that teachers, students, and parents across the country wanted what Duncan and Barack Obama had proposed in "Race to the Top." The carefully scripted activities were designed to provide a "democratic" gloss to the dictatorial regimes.

Those attending the June 19 Chicago event saw a familiar pattern. Like many of the media events that he pioneered in Chicago, Arne Duncan used the rigged Chicago - style "question and answer" format at the June 19, 2009 Advance Illinois breakfast at the Hyatt Hotel.

Like many of the media events that he pioneered in Chicago, Arne Duncan used the rigged Chicago - style "question and answer" format at the June 19, 2009 Advance Illinois breakfasts. Above, millionaire heiress Robin Steans (right), director of Advance Illinois, asks Duncan one of a series of questions that supposedly came from the audience. The Chicago-style "questions" period is geared to provide Duncan with pre-selected questions under the guise of spontaneity and audience participation. Questions are collected from the audience at each event, but only those questions for which Duncan already has pre-scripted answers are actually asked. Substance caption and photo by George N. Schmidt.While police made certain that Duncan wouldn't face or have to answer questions from real teachers, Duncan stood before Chicago's corporate school reform leaders and engaged in a Chicago-style "Q and A.". Millionaire heiress Robin Steans, director of Advance Illinois, held "questions" in her hand and asked a couple of them to Duncan. Duncan answered each one of the series of questions that supposedly came from the audience. Duncan was prepared for each question with a pre-scripted response, each question and answer designed to highlight one major point in Duncan's corporate school reform agenda.

The Chicago-style "questions" period is geared to provide Duncan with pre-selected questions under the guise of spontaneity and audience participation. Questions are collected from the audience at each event, but only those questions for which Duncan already has pre-scripted answers are actually asked. Except at the monthly meetings of the Chicago Board of Education, Duncan during his years as CEO simply repeated his scripts, telling reporters who asked critical questions, "I'll get back to you on that" (and never getting back to anyone).

Back issues of Substance available both on line and in print also documented, month after month, the reign of Duncan and Daley. 


September 27, 2009 at 2:54 PM

By: kugler

Mayor Fails to Fix Schools NY

in a new york times article there is growing organized resistance to the corporate non-educator style of managing the nations school system as is promoted by arne duncan and exemplified by the neophyte huberman.

In chicago it is worse because as we see on a daily basis our school children are murdering each other as a direct result of the lack of resources and meaningful education that mayor daley and cps create as exclusionary educational policy.

Thompson Takes Aim at Mayor’s Schools Record and Vows to Give Parents More of a Voice


Published: September 22, 2009

Declaring that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s “corporate model” has failed students and parents alike, William C. Thompson Jr., the Democratic nominee for mayor, pledged on Tuesday night to hire educators to run the school system, shrink class sizes and get parents more involved in the education process.

Mr. Thompson, the city comptroller, also recommended that the school day and school year be extended, and that pre-kindergarten classes be mandatory. He said that, as mayor, he would insist that physical education requirements be met as a way to combat childhood obesity. And he said that he would pour more resources into programs for students struggling with the English language.

Mr. Thompson touched on those ideas, and many more, during a 40-minute address at Pace University, just steps from the City Hall office he hopes to occupy in January. And the overall goal was as much about criticizing Mr. Bloomberg’s record as it was about promoting his own ideas — some of which were brushed aside quickly by Christopher Cerf, a former deputy chancellor now working on the Bloomberg campaign, as “idealistic” and “hugely expensive.”

Still, in earnest and zesty tones that contrasted with his usual low-key demeanor, Mr. Thompson clearly relished the opportunity to play to a receptive audience of more than 150 people.

“The failure of the administration to tell the truth over the last eight years has undermined our faith in their claims of progress, while putting the school system at serious risk,” said Mr. Thompson, who, before being elected comptroller in 2001, was president of the city’s now-defunct and much-maligned Board of Education system.

The address capped a furious day of politicking in which both sides tried to gain the upper hand on education, an important election issue. Indeed, Mr. Bloomberg tried earlier in the day to pre-empt Mr. Thompson’s speech — or at least frame it in a manner that he found advantageous.

“The issue for voters really is clear,” Mr. Bloomberg said after a ceremony marking the opening of the new Museum of Chinese in America. “If you think the schools are better today than they were under my opponent’s leadership, then you should vote for me. And if you think that they were better when he ran the Board of Education, then you should vote for him.”

Mr. Thompson, of course, has an uphill task. Not only is he trailing in the polls, he is facing a two-term incumbent who is the richest person in the city and has a blank checkbook to pay for commercial after commercial drowning out Mr. Thompson’s message. At the same time, the city’s powerful teachers’ union, the United Federation of Teachers, is expected to do what it did in 2005: stay out of the mayor’s race.

Still, Mr. Thompson said he believed that there was a strong current of dissatisfaction, even anger, among parents and teachers who say that they have been kept out of decision-making and that the Bloomberg administration’s obsession with test scores has been at the expense of meaningful education.

To address their sense of disenfranchisement, Mr. Thompson vowed to create the city’s first Parent University — modeled after Philadelphia’s — as a parent education and resource center. He also said that he would hire a schools chancellor with a strong background in education, in an obvious slap at the current chancellor, Joel I. Klein, and create new positions: a deputy mayor for children and youth, and a chief administrative officer.

“My friends, it’s time for change,” he said. “The current administration has had eight years to get the job done on education.”

But speaking to reporters immediately afterward, Mr. Cerf, who had listened to the speech in person, suggested that Mr. Thompson’s ideas, while laudable in some respects, were tantamount to “motherhood and apple pie” and could cost “tens of billions of dollars.”

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