'Turnarounds' the deadliest reform of all... Safety at Fenger High School was undermined by 'Turnaround,' 'School Reform'

[Editor's Note: The following commentary appears in the Chicago Sun-Times of October 2, 2009 and was provided to by Deborah Lynch, who wrote it.]

Chicago's Christian Fenger High School at 11220 S. Wallace St. during the week after the murder of Fenger junior Derrion Albert. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.There hasn't been much mention in the coverage of the tragedy near Fenger High School of the fact that Fenger is a "turnaround" school. That means it was subjected to the Chicago Public School system's latest attack on struggling schools by dumping all the staff, even the engineers, and keeping the same students. This "reform" was after probation, restructuring, reconstitution and a host of other unsuccessful Daley-team draconian, top-down efforts.

School turnarounds have turned out to be the deadliest reform of all. How could anyone expect that completely eliminating all the professionals and staff of a tough high-poverty high school could be a good thing?

Contrary to popular belief, teachers and staff in schools such as Fenger and Gage Park and other neglected neighborhood high schools love their students and (usually) love their jobs. We have relationships with kids who may not even have another adult in their homes, or their lives. It's called human capital. We know brothers and sisters and, in some cases, have taught their parents. We ask them how their sick mother is or how their job search is going or whether they have met the school's community service requirement yet. We give them bus money when they have forgotten theirs. We share our lunches with those who missed breakfast. We kid them, we laugh with them, we exhort them to do better, to get to school on time, to work hard. A colleague buys suit jackets for the guys to wear to graduation. Another takes kids to get prom dresses. The list of connections and affection and love and sharing goes on and on. Oh yes, and we teach them. Yet you have to have a relationship with these kids in order to teach them. No, they are not all perfect, but most teachers would say that 90 percent of our students are great kids who want to learn.

No one at Fenger this year has known their kids for more than three weeks. This is a tragedy for all the students, not to mention the effects of the staff elimination on the staff. (Many Fenger teachers devoted decades of their lives to these students, only to have their employer kick them to the curb for a newfangled reform to make the mayor look good.)

I am not saying that knowing the kids better could have averted the melee and tragic death of last week, obviously. But trouble had been brewing at the school even before last week . Staff reported a riot the previous week inside the building, involving teachers being hit, and that two different police stations had to be called in to quell the disturbance. Those are the times when the staff members draw on their relationships with kids to urge restraint, to urge calm and peace, to try to talk things out rather than fight things out. Those are the times when a seasoned staff can identify strategies and resources to address and prevent further problems.

These neighborhood high schools have been underfunded, under-resourced and poorly managed. For example, CPS provides only one security guard for every 400 students! If schools need more (and they do) they have to cut into classroom funds, further disadvantaging students with larger class sizes. Our schools don't have enough social workers or psychologists to provide critically needed support for these students. Research shows that high-poverty students respond best to low class sizes, but CPS would rather invest in high-priced fancy consulting firms. One program for high school curriculum redesign, for example, costs CPS more than $31 million each year. This money goes to for-profit firms that provide books and personnel to "coach" teachers. CPS could use that money for smaller class sizes and enough qualified personnel to really make a difference, but "turnaround" has more media spin.

So another poorly thought out "reform" has been implemented, this time associated with fatal consequences for one poor student and his family. It's a tragedy and a travesty. It will be in the media for a while. CPS will add security staff to Fenger for a while. Then it will be on to the next tragedy. In the meantime, if this policy continues, more schools will be turned around and more staff and students will suffer needlessly. CPS needs to look to its staff for solutions to addressing the increasingly violent world our students are living in, not continue to view us as the problem.

Deborah Lynch, a teacher at Gage Park High School, is past president of the Chicago Teachers Union. 

Final edited version of this article posted at October 3, 2009, 7:00 a.m. CDT. If you choose to reproduce this article in whole or in part, or any of the graphical material included with it, please give full credit to SubstanceNews as follows: Copyright © 2009 Substance, Inc., Please provide Substance with a copy of any reproductions of this material and we will let you know our terms — or you can take out a subscription to Substance (see red button to the right) and make a donation. We are asking all of our readers to either subscribe to the print edition of Substance (a bargain at $16 per year) or make a donation. Both options are available on the right side of our Home Page. For further information, feel free to call us at our office at 773-725-7502



October 2, 2009 at 10:20 PM

By: An Enlightened Teacher

Now i Understand

Recently a friend explained to me that Principals have too much power which started when Daley took control of the schools and let Principals hire their own staff. There has not been any checks on Principals and now they have too much power. Another person said to me that "It is not a crime in Chicago or CPS for a Principal to run a school poorly." That is probably why nothing seems to shock anyone. I now believe that with this turnabout, fade-out, TAP and so on, that it is not a crime in Chicago to run a whole system poorly.

October 2, 2009 at 10:58 PM

By: Jay Rehak

Lynch has it right on this.

Deborah Lynch has it exactly right on this. The children in CPS need stability, not a rotating set of adults. By firing all of the veteran teachers at Fenger, under the pretext of "Turning Around the school", and replacing the veterans with new teachers, CPS cut a signifanct safety net from under children who often don't have much of a safety net to begin with.

I hope at some point, society recognizes that effective schools involve both veteran and new teachers. To simply destroy a school community by firing every adult in a building and starting over, is nonsensical on its face.

October 3, 2009 at 7:43 PM

By: zeta

Where are the Stats on Turnaround Murders ?

How many children have been killed since the turnaround madness begin? Does anyone have the stats? I think the first one was at Williams. It ten year old soccer player Rita Haskins in 2002 when the turnaround madness began. Although Rita was shot in the lobby, it was a foreshadowing of things to come. How many more children will have to die before these greedy selfish mean spirited adults get the message?

October 4, 2009 at 2:33 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Turnaround, 'renaissance' born in blood

You are correct. The first 'renaissance' closing of schools was foisted on Chicago in 2002, when Arne Duncan and Michael Scott announced they were closing Dodge, Terrell, and Williams elementary schools in order to "save" the children and give the schools a 'renaissance.' That attack on the schools was the first market testing of the term 'renaissance' for this purpose (teacher bashing, union busting, ghetto blasting).

Williams school had seen a drop in test scores caused by Chicago's destruction of public housing. Williams, which is in the middle of the Dearborn Homes housing project, had been in the middle of a shooting war the year before (2001) because Chicago had destroyed the "Hole". The "Hole" was four high-rise public housing projects at 54th and State St. Because they were adjacent to the Dan Ryan Expressway's 55th St. exist, the buildings at The Hole had been a lucrative center for drug traffic for more than 20 years. The gang that controlled the buildings in The Hole is called the "Mickey Cobras." The MCs were forced to move and located in several locations, one of which was north four miles to Dearborn Homes.

But when they got to Dearborn Homes and tried to set up their business, the MCs ran into the Gangster Disciples, who were already set up in Dearborn. It's a very capitalist thing, sort of like someone setting up a McDonald's across the street from your McDonald's. Ruthless competition, "choice", and all that.

Only when the MCs and the GDs are the franchizees, they use nines and heavier -- even Uzis I'm told -- to resolve the market share issues (so to speak).

So during the annual testing season in 2001, the children of Williams Elementary School had bullets on their minds. A shooting war was taking place in their homes (they all lived in the housing project).

To no one's surprise, the test scores went down.

So Arne Duncan and Michael Scott (never leave out that "entrepreneurial spirit" when discussing these years) discovered that Williams had "low" test scores.

And "low" test scores meant that Williams had to be closed.

And the Tribune and Sun-Times praised Michael Scott and Arne Duncan for promoting a "renaissance" to "save" those children from the "bad teachers" who had caused the test scores to be "low."

Williams was closed for a year (the first 'renaissance' was market tested by kicking out all the kids for a year; that's the main reason why Dodge got a pop in its test scores, by the way, and all the Obamian nonsense rhetoric about Dodge Renaissance Academy can't hide from history forever -- but that, too- is another story for another time).

Williams re-opened with some different kids.

Oh, they also paid one of the most outspoken "parents" for about a year to support that 'renaissance' for Williams. Then as soon as the coast was clear, they dumped her. She had obliterated her credibility with the community by selling out to Duncan and Scott, and so didn't have a future when they dumped her. That, too, has been repeated over and over with poor people since the "Renaissance" began.

Williams Renaissance Multiplex (I think that's what it's called now) was born in the blood of the projects and the blood that was spilled right outside the school's doors when the MCs and the GDs fought it out for their market share.

That was really the "choice" that was going on then.

So, you're right.

Born in blood. Now if someone had made a video of a couple of the kids who died during those years, maybe it would have been remembered. But probably not. We needed an audacious President full of Olympian Hope and still cow-towing to his mentor Richard M. Daley to make Derrion Albert's murder a little more than a blip on the data driven screen.

October 5, 2009 at 11:38 AM

By: Jim Vail

Great Article

Thank you Debbie Lynch for stating the obvious about the horrors of turnaround.

Where is the current CTU leadership on this?

Teachers pay the leadership how much, and Stewart can't even get articles published in the corporate media defending the teachers?

It's called a partnership - the CTU leadership and Mayor Daley - destroying public education together.

The only hope for the teachers and kids is to get these people out of running the union.

October 5, 2009 at 4:58 PM

By: Bob

Teacher Librarian Bogan High school

25 years "The staff here keeps things under control” the late Ben Wilson said in March 1984 .Seven months later in November he was shot dead on a sunny afternoon next to the Simeon parking lot gate on Vincennes Ave. Last week another kid was beaten to death on a sunny afternoon a couple of blocks from Fenger on 111th street. Have we learned anything in those 25 years?

I was one of those staff members who Ben talked about back then. The horrible video I saw of the “Beat Down” last week brought back memories the day He died. And I began to wonder if we have made any progress at all in educating the youth of Chicago. Now, as then, a public outrage will occur. This Mayor will probably appoint a commission to attack the gangs, just like the Mayor did back then, and in six months forget the whole thing.” When will it end?” Ned McCray principal Simeon November 1984.

October 5, 2009 at 9:36 PM

By: Zeta

Thank You George for Remembering!

I was a teacher during those horrible years of gang wars and shootings at Williams. I remember the stress of dismissing students while bullets were flying over our heads. I remember shielding as many children as I could who had been dismissed only to find they were walking straight into a shoot- out. The hysterical students would return to school and we would stay in the buildings until 6:00 or until we all were not afraid to leave. Many days teachers had to work until 7:00 or until parents could come to pick up there children. We put our lives on the line everyday because we felt if, we can do it. The only comfort many of these children felt was in the confines of the Williams school. Williams was impeccably kept and a state of the art building . It was ran by one of the most intelligent compassionate principals I have ever known. Mr Roy White. Love permeated the halls of Williams and joy was alive in spite of the horrific murders that took place on a daily and weekly basis. It's a testimony to the great staff we had that more children were not shot. Where was Arne Duncan when the shooting was taking place? Hiding in his CPS hole (Where he belonged) planning to attack these heroic teachers and take their jobs. He was successful and REN 2010 began. About 70 CPS men and women in suits stormed Williams a few weeks before the IOWA. I was When I looked out of the window I saw at least 4 prison buses waiting in front of the building. ( I guess they were going to take someone to jail ) We went back to our classrooms and made protest signs. My students were in the Sun Times the next morning protesting the school closings. When they opened NTA, (National Teachers Academy) they were supposed to train new suburban teachers how to TEACH THESE KIND OF CHILDREN!, they told the students that we were bad teachers and they were closing the school so they could have better teachers who could teach. The following year and years after NTA had the lowest scores in the city. I think they were about 14%. They joke was NTA never succeeded with the Williams children. They were just there to hold the school until they could tear down the IKES at 22nd street. It you ride down to 22nd now you will witness that their goal has been achieved. The Williams children do not attend NTA anymore because their homes have been torn down. Whenever I would visit the children at NTA they would ask me MRs..., are you back. I would respond, "no" Then they would ask about each teacher by name and where they were. I would tell them as much as I knew. I would say these are your new teachers now. They would respond, "NO, WHERE ARE OUR REAL TEACHERS"!

October 5, 2009 at 9:53 PM

By: Zeta

"Rosewood Again in 2010 ".

Please forgive the typos! I hope you get the message that turnarounds have destroyed the lives of teachers, students and parents in these communities. Instead of calling it REN 2010, they should called it, "Rosewood Again in 2010 ".

October 5, 2009 at 10:12 PM

By: kugler

Get him. Kill him. Jump him.

We need help fast(2006) I predicted this violence 3 years ago and got fired by my for my advocacy.

"They were saying, 'Get him. Kill him. Jump him.'" This was inside the school in a classroom. Except I helped to stop the mob from killing the student they were after.

Now 3 three years later and how many lies have been told that have the cause of the deaths of young students at the hands of CPS policy.

Here is an article about the violence three years in CPS that predicts what happened last week.

Schools close, violence spikes

(Chicago Sun Times)

Monday March 13th, 2006

In November, Wells High School junior Eddie Cruz was jumped and beaten bloody in a school hallway by a group of freshmen. The emergency-room bill was $4,000.

Last semester, a Hyde Park Career Academy teacher was punched in the face after he asked a student for identification.

Last month, Clemente High School parent Beatrice Rodriguez was pummeled by a group of students who were taunting her for being a "big woman."

This is the kind of violence that is troubling Chicago's public high schools -- especially those accepting students from areas where failing schools are being systematically shut down under Mayor Daley's Renaissance 2010 initiative.

Wells, Hyde Park and Clemente are among eight high schools that each received more than 150 students from the attendance areas of troubled schools now tapped for closure and eventual rebirth -- Austin, Calumet and Englewood high schools.

Since they began admitting those students in the fall of 2004, all eight schools have posted an increase in reported violence that is at least twice as high as the average for similar high schools systemwide, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis indicates.

The most dramatic example was Hyde Park, where the average number of reported violent incidents per month jumped 226 percent during that period, the analysis of CPS data showed.

In fact, Hyde Park was hit by a double-whammy, being forced to accept more than 300 students -- more students than any other receiving school -- in the past two years because two schools closed to freshmen: Englewood this school year and Calumet the year before.

Some folks say the increase in violence at receiver schools has contributed to higher teacher turnover and has worn down principals who retired unexpectedly. Students say the fighting makes school a tougher place to learn. And West Side community group leaders say they worry school closings could unintentionally lead to a higher dropout rate.

"They have opened a Pandora's box," said Khalid Johnson, lead organizer with Westside Health Authority. "[CPS officials] did not properly plan for the transition of these students.

"They are taking kids from low-performing schools outside of their neighborhood [to] areas where there are cultural differences, gang differences, and there are no supports for the students. Out of that comes increased violence, increased dropouts."

However, some of the spike may be due to better training on reporting incidents, CPS officials said.

They also see some signs of progress. The violence level is lower so far this school year than last school year in most receiving schools -- though it's still higher generally than when those schools began accepting students diverted from troubled schools.

And, they say, they've learned some lessons. Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan said some schools, like Hyde Park, received too many new kids, "overburdening" them. Next school year, receiving schools will probably get no more than 30 such freshmen each, he said.

"We absolutely want to reduce the number of children going to any school [in the future]. It's the right thing to do," Duncan said.

But that's little comfort to students and teachers now forced to live with what they say is a new culture of violence and its impact on education. They note that two high schools -- Englewood and Collins -- that absorbed students from failing schools in the past few years wound up closed later themselves for lousy test scores.

"I believe the violence is going to get more severe, and frankly, it's going to lead to the school being closed," said Hyde Park teacher John Kugler, the school's teachers union delegate. "We need help fast."

Disrupting learning

Nearly every story in the November issue of the Clemente Voice -- the high school's student newspaper -- was dedicated to quashing violence.

One story started this way: "The Chicago Board of Education's decision to change Clemente's boundaries has resulted in an increase in school violence at Clemente."

Students and teachers at other receiving schools also say violence has invaded their hallways and surrounded their campuses. Some weeks at Clemente, Wells and Hyde Park, fights are an everyday event, they said.

"Students talk about it, how their school has changed and they can't have activities they normally would have. [They] even have concerns about having a dance because of violence," said a Wells teacher, who asked not to be identified because the principal there instructed the faculty not to talk to the Sun-Times about this story.

"The travesty is that we have students that would not have been injured if not for the transfer of students from Austin. It's upsetting. It disrupts the learning environment, and we're expected to raise test scores."

Wells mom Millie Rodriguez said a group of freshmen from the Austin enrollment area stomped her son, Eddie Cruz, so hard that imprints of their sneakers were left on his face.

Violence "is getting worse," so "I'm begging them to help me transfer my son to a school I think is safe," Rodriguez said.

At Clemente, more violent incidents marred the first five months of this school year than in the entire previous school year.

Experts say spikes in violence can make students depressed, worried, anxious and, for the unlucky ones, victims.

"Students can have a high level of anxiety and distraction. That affects the ability to focus," said Northwestern University clinical psychology professor Douglas Breunlin, who has spent five years developing violence-prevention programs for high schools.

One 18-year-old senior at Hyde Park said school just isn't the same for him anymore.

"Every day you have to focus on not just your education, but your safety," he said.

Classes start late because teachers are in the hallway trying to calm rowdy kids who are "yelling, cursing, horse-playing [and] anything you can imagine," said the senior.

In class, it's not unusual to hear new underclassmen swear at teachers, triggering arguments that interrupt instruction.

Most of the bathrooms have been shut down due to a rash of arson fires in them last year. And the cafeteria has become the scene of so many food fights, the senior said, he doesn't go there for lunch.

"I don't want to eat with people who [might] start hitting me with an orange," the senior said.

'A bulge through the school'

Teachers and administrators are quick to say not all students from closing schools have caused problems at their new schools.

"It's important to note that not all [Austin] kids are bad. A lot are good," Wells English teacher Joshua Strend said. "But the problem ones that are bad are especially bad."

When sizable numbers of students come from different neighborhoods and cross gang boundaries, it can be a catalyst for more violence, education experts said.

At Hyde Park, Hirsch, Clemente, Orr, Manley, Marshall, Robeson and Wells high schools, the new number of students from closing schools accounted for at least 10 percent of the each school's enrollment.

"Ten percent is huge. It's like a bulge [of students] going through the school, and that will have a noticeable impact," Northwestern's Breunlin said.

Duncan says he now realizes too many outsiders flooded some schools.

"My goal this year is to reduce those numbers dramatically," he said. When troubled Collins High begins its phaseout this fall, the 200 to 250 freshmen in its attendance area will be split among 14 receiving schools, he said.

"You do the math. Twenty, 25, 30 kids [per school] would be tops," Duncan said.

Some contend the system was asking for trouble by sending kids from failing schools across gang boundaries to other schools.

"What you have is groups vying for dominance. And because they're crossing gang lines, there is more conflict," Strend said.

But CPS officials noted that gang turf lines change all the time. Rather than exclude schools from receiving kids because of gang turf, the system chose to address any problems by adding extra security, said Phillip Hampton, CPS director of community relations.

Security was assessed and adjusted where necessary, both before and after schools began receiving large blocks of students, CPS officials said. In many receiving schools, surveillance cameras have been upgraded, off-duty police officers have been added, and special "school climate" teams have swept in to handle flareups.

"Maybe we haven't moved to the degree that some groups would like. I would be the first to admit there's room for improvement, but I think we have learned and we are taking very seriously the implications. We don't want to see any of these kids get hurt," Hampton said.

By the numbers

According to CPS data, the number of reported violent incidents per month jumped by more than 30 percent at Wells since the introduction of students from the former Austin enrollment area.

But teachers and students dispute that, questioning whether leadership -- Wells has had three principals in the past two school years -- is reporting all the violence there.

"There are more frequent fights. Maybe not huge incidents. A lot more daily conflicts. It's two groups, gangs, neighborhoods, whatever you want to call it," Wells' Strend said.

At Hyde Park, teachers have a similar gripe.

The number of reported violent incidents per month climbed steeply, from nearly three in the 2003-2004 school year to almost 10 last school year -- and then dropped a bit during the first five months of this school year, the Sun-Times analysis indicates. But some teachers don't buy it.

"That can't be right. Someone isn't reporting the facts," said English teacher Maria Chavez.

Hyde Park also is on its third principal in the last 2-1/2 years.

And just this month, longtime Clemente principal Irene DaMota suddenly retired by sending an e-mail while vacationing in "sunny, balmy" Brazil. CPS officials have said DaMota was slow to report violent incidents, refused suggestions from CPS and left security positions unfilled.

A revolving door of principals doesn't help the system's efforts to stem violence and create a smooth transition for new students, Hampton said.

"When you lose your leadership, it has an impact on the school and the school climate," he said.

Creating 'sense of hope'

CPS security chief Andres Durbak said if teachers, students or parents believe violence isn't getting enough attention from school administrators, they should contact his office directly.

"The better we know what's going on, the better we are able to respond appropriately," he said.

If principals need help, Duncan said, they should call him. That includes the principal of Hyde Park, Duncan's own neighborhood school.

"If she wants more security, we'll give it to her," Duncan said.

Across the nation, urban school districts have grappled with how to fix ailing high schools. Solutions haven't come easily.

"Change is very, very hard. It's difficult," Duncan said. "We learned a lot. We learned we shouldn't have such a large number of students going to one school. . . .

"Is this change tough? Absolutely. But we are trying to change decades of neglect and create a sense of hope."

Teachers quitting 'out of fear'

After more than 30 years as a Chicago public school teacher, Betti Ziemba decided to chuck it all and bolt Hyde Park Career Academy in midyear. Why?

"I left out of fear,'' Ziemba said last week. "I've had it. I quit. There's no way I'm going back there.''

Ziemba bailed out of one of eight CPS high schools assigned to take more than 150 kids each over the last 1-1/2 years as the system closed failing schools. It is an influx that even CPS officials say has contributed to increased violence at most major receiving schools.

Teachers say the spike in violence is taking a toll on them. At Hyde Park, which saw the biggest rise in reported violence since 2004, at least three teachers and a programmer left in the middle of this school year. Two -- Ziemba and one other -- openly conceded that safety concerns pushed them out.

Another teacher, Marie Chavez, says she won't return next school year because of lack of support in addressing rising violence and discipline problems. More paperwork than ever is required of teachers, who must document at least four "disruptive'' incidents per student before administrators step in, she said.

"I try to stay in my classroom, but I hear fights all the time,'' Chavez said. "I close my door because I feel if I step out I might get attacked."

At Wells, 936 N. Ashland, English teacher Joshua Strend says a new culture of violence is driving away new teachers.

"After last year we lost a lot of good young teachers who decided if this is how it's going to be, they will look elsewhere," said Strend, the Wells teachers union representative.

In the past two years, Ziemba said, she's had fights break out in her classroom, been sworn at by students, and watched one angry student shove all the books off her desk because she flunked him. She says she's faced increasing aggression and abusive language among the school's underclassmen.

'They are coming to get me'

But the last straw was an incident last October. A sophomore lingered in class after second-period English and told her: "Miss Ziemba, they are coming to get me.''

As Ziemba moved to close the door, a swarm of angry students mobbed the entry.

"Kids started to push -- I'd say 30 to 50 people, guys and girls. And I knew none of them,'' Ziemba said. "I was almost trampled.''

Seeing the stampede, union rep John Kugler grabbed a pipe and jumped in to help.

"They were actually trying to kill somebody in there,'' said Kugler, the architectural drafting teacher. "There was no stopping them. I had to have a pipe in my hand to drag people out of the room. They were crawling over the chairs to get him. . . .

"They were saying, 'Get him. Kill him. Jump him.'"

The mob was finally dispersed without injury, but even Kugler was shaken.

"I locked my door for two periods,'' he said.

Though she wrote up the incident, Ziemba said, administrators never talked to her about punishing the orchestrator, who lived in the Calumet High attendance area that's been sending freshmen to Hyde Park.

Eventually Ziemba told officials at the end of the first semester she wouldn't be returning.

But as a result, Ziemba said, "I'm unemployed. I have no money coming in. I have two car payments coming due. I was hoping to retire this year, but I can't because [by leaving in midyear] I won't have 34 years in. . . . I'm in limbo.''


October 5, 2009 at 10:14 PM

By: George N. Schmidt

You're welcome

You're welcome, Zeta. We'll be in touch.

Reading Kugler's reminder of the days when the Sun-Times reported the news from the schools (and not simply propaganda from the Board) was an interesting take. But it also reminded me that two years before that Sun-Times article we were hosting a conference on gangs at CTU headquarters, during the days I chaired the CTU "violence" committee and served as director of school security and safety. Marilyn Stewart destroyed that initiative when she fired me and threw out all the materials we had on gang violence in Chicago schools. Then she adds insult to injury by hiring the political hack Rick Perrote (a year later). And now she's rattling on about putting out "disruptive" kids without mentioning Latin Kings, Vice Lords, Disciples (all brands), Dragons, Counts, Saints, Stones, etc., etc., etc.

How do you spell clueless? What's a company union?

Well, we've heard from Williams...

Next, let's hear from someone who was a Dodge before they began to throw everything down the Memory Hole.

Then Bunche, etc., etc.

Sunday I went out to Caver Middle just to remind myself. Arne Duncan will be in town Wednesday. He's owed a warm greeting from those he destroyed while he had power here.

There were cops going around the remaining buildings, looking for clues to the shooting Saturday night of that girl. No gangs, though, in Chicago. Just "disruptive" students. Just ask the President of the Chicago Teachers Union.

October 6, 2009 at 1:28 PM

By: Dodge Teacher

Teacher from Dogde

On the Day that Dodge closed, a group of CPS personnel from Central Office came into the building. They called us into a meeting and told us the school was closing. Since Dodge didn’t have scores low enough to close, they retested the students saying that we cheated. They brought their own staff in to proctor. The children’s scores improved. Since the scores did not drop low enough to close , Dodge was closed due to low enrollment or under population.

A group of security and personnel from CPS were there. I remember when some of the parents were protesting to keep the school open. Leah Hope came to cover the story.

The closing was a surprise to everyone. The children were very upset and the parents were. At night the windows to the school were busted and the building was being vandalized. We attributed this to the anger the community felt because of the closings. This had never happened prior to REN 2010.

The children were the ones mostly effected by the closing. The children really liked their school and their teachers. The school was like one big family. But of course CPS doesn't care about families.

The teachers just resigned themselves to the fact that they had to go. Many of them moved on to other schools that have now closed under REN 2010.Others retired early and many have left the profession.

October 12, 2009 at 5:03 PM

By: kugler

Bloody days Redux

Bloody days increase in Chicago\'s general high schools. The spike in violence at Harlan, Fenger, Kennedy, Hyde Park and other South Side high schools resulted from the closing of Calumet.\r\rNo this not the headlines from today but December 2006, three years ago the Chicago Public School were put on notice of the increasing violence in and around schools. They were and are negligent in their duty to protect children form harm. The worst part of this whole situation is that the school district is not only negligent in protecting the children who attend its schools but the reason children are subjected to violence on a daily basis in and around schools.\r\rBloody days increase in Chicago\'s general high schools (Dec 2006)\

October 15, 2009 at 7:39 PM

By: kugler

Carver will open to Fenger students

story from channel 7 news

October 15, 2009 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Chicago Public Schools will open enrollment at a South Side school for students who no longer want to attend Fenger High School following the fatal beating of Derrion Albert.

Carver Military Academy was once an open enrollment school serving kids from Altgeld Gardens, but the district changed the enrollment criteria several years ago to make it a selective military school.

The decision comes as parents have been airing concerns for student safety at Fenger, where a conflict between students from the neighborhood around the school and those from the altgeld gardens erupted in violence last month.

October 15, 2009 at 9:21 PM

By: zeta

Students Undercover!

This is what can happen with organized protest. We all need to stay on this story because there are many Fenger High Schools in Chicago waiting to erupt into violence. I suggest every student and teacher at every school carry a camera or camera phone and record the violence that takes place on a daily basis. Then air it on YOUTUBE. Then when you embarrass the powers-that-be they will finally do something to protect students and teachers.

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