All articles by Jim Vail

RIP George Schmidt, co-founder of Substance

[This piece originally appeared on Second City Teachers on Sept. 18 at http://secondcityteachers.blogspot.com/2018/09/substance-founder-dead.html]

George Schmidt, a co-founder of Substance, died on Sept. 17 at age 71. He was a giant. Giants are not . . .

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Jim Vail's Biden article

Vice President Joe Biden defended the 1% at the American Federation of Teachers conference in Detroit on July 29, and did not mention one word about Race to the Top, the Obama education reform policy . . .

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Bullying principal ruining one of Chicago's top elementary schools

In a leafy, suburban looking northwest corner of the city stands Norwood Park Elementary School. The school mirrors its surroundings — neatly manicured lawns and well swept porches of middle class dwellings where urban professionals . . .

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Rep. Soto Showing her True Colors

To truly understand how politics works, one needs to take a closer look at our so-called “friendly” legislators. I wrote an article two years ago in which I outed the former state rep and current . . .

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Penn Elementary versus KIPP... Public School Fights Back Against Charter Invasion

The invasion of charter schools began more than a dozen years ago in Chicago. Today there are over 100 Chicago charter schools and "campuses" (a technicality that has allowed Chicago charter schools to evade a . . .

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AFT praises Rahm Emanuel during Chicago strike authorization vote

American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten was in Chicago on May 23rd to speak out forcefully for the teachers during the 8,000-plus CTU rallies. "It is pretty interesting how the rich are getting richer, . . .

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Lost job after reporting simple abuse of a student... Former Assistant Principal Wins Million Dollar Case against Board of Education

Kenneth Taylor, a former assistant principal at Goodlow Elementary School in Englewood, thought he was doing his job when he reported an alleged abuse of a student by another teacher. It was reported that a . . .

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Father Pfleger continues hypocrisies from the podium... Postal Workers Getting Hit Hard

The postal workers — who are facing massive cuts and privatization just like public school teachers — had a spirited rally at the Federal Plaza on Thursday, June 28, 2012. The gathering of about 75 . . .

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Charter funding bill fails in Illinois House

A charter school bill that would have increased funding to the charter schools was voted down this past week after intense lobbying by the Chicago Teachers Union and others concerned about dwindling state funding for . . .

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Controversial Principal Calls it Quits

The George Washington High School principal who inspired student protests and numerous faculty lawsuits over wrongful terminations and discrimination, has decided to call it quits and retire at the end of this school year.
. . .

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Education forum on May 20 on Chicago's north side to take a 'critical look' at CPS reforms

An education forum entitled ‘Critically Thinking about Chicago Public Schools’ will be held at Luther Memorial Church at 2500 W. Wilson this Sunday, May 20, 2012 from 5pm to 7pm. The question and answer format . . .

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Charter funding bill loses one co-sponsor, legislation's sponsors place serious questions before Chicago Teachers Union leaders

Illinois State Representative Deb Mell decided to remove her name as a co-sponsor of a bill that seeks full funding for charter schools. She explained to the Chicago Teachers Union, which is lobbying hard to . . .

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Aspira directors oust Jose Rodriguez while controversies over the expansion of the charter school grow

The Aspira Board of Directors ousted its long-term director Jose Rodriguez, a political powerhouse and controversial charter school operator. According to Larry Ligas, a concerned community activist opposed to Aspira building a new $20 million . . .

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Fight back against Longest School Day a major feature of the Board of Education meeting

The push back against the Chicago Public Schools attempt to implement a 7.5 hour school day and a school year that is two weeks longer next year kicked into higher gear at the Board of . . .

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Parents organizing citywide against the 'Too Long School Day'

A growing number of parents are speaking out against the Chicago Public Schools proposed extra 90 minute school day, which the mayor and the Chicago Board of Education are acting as though it is a . . .

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'Sabotage'... Brizard Board sets up Guggenheim Elementary for second closing fight, two years after the school beat back the Ron Huberman Hit List... Which clout heavy charter school is supposed to take the building?

Two years ago Guggenheim Elementary School put on the most impressive fight to keep it from closing. The school's supporters included an alumnus film maker who flew in from Los Angeles to testify and record . . .

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EDITORIAL: Heartless School Closings Affect Us All... A closer look at Casals Elementary School

It is virtually impossible these days to avoid the tragedy of school closings and ruptured communities. As a teacher in the public schools, I speak every week with substitute teachers who were full-time teachers that . . .

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Washington HS principal trying to fire CTU delegate who stood up for teachers' rights, against racism

Last week long-time teacher delegate and activist John Whitfield was escorted out of George Washington High School after he was suspended by principal Forence Gonzales. Gonzales is attempting to fire Whitfield, he and the Chicago . . .

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CPS Trying to Force Charter School Despite Community’s Opposition... Battle Lines Drawn over Northwest Side Christopher House Charter School

The battle line is set in the Belmont-Cragin northwest "Network" between the mayor’s goal to force more charter schools into communities that do not want them and the communities and teachers who oppose the expansion . . .

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HOD Meeting Rallying the Troops

For those who haven’t heard the news — there is currently a war between the Board of Education and the Chicago Teachers Union. And at the latest House of Delegates meeting on Wednesday, November 9, . . .

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Which side is Iris Martinez on? Facilities Bill Star Votes to Gut Teacher Pensions and Pushes Some Charter Schools

At last month’s Chicago Teachers Union LEAD dinner (October 28, 2011), where teachers and union officials rub elbows with the politicians, one of those honored by the CTU was Illinois State Senator Iris Martinez. Sen. . . .

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Nash teachers 'thrown under the bus' in CTU contract waiver vote as principal calls in school bus driver to vote illegally

Were the teachers at Nash Elementary School who voted to waive their current contract with the Board of Education to extend their school day by 90 minutes, and an extra two weeks, thrown under the . . .

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Community groups sponsor law to fight corporate welfare... Unions, community groups join for ordinance on TIF money going back to schools, other agencies

A coalition of community groups including the Chicago Teachers Union, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Action Now. the Grassroots Collaborative, and a number of aldermen introduced the "Responsible Budget Ordinance" on Tuesday, October 4, . . .

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'Divide and Conquer' against parents and teachers rejected... Top North Side School Parents Lash out at Board's Longer Day Proposal at heated Hawthorne LSC meeting

Angry Hawthorne Elementary School parents lashed out at Board of Education officials at a local school council meeting on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 charging that the Board did not have a plan for a longer . . .

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Giving is not always good, so thank you Steve Jobs... At least Steve Jobs was not one of the philanthropic bullies who push corporate 'school reform'

The adulations for Apple’s visionary founder and CEO extraordinaire Steve Jobs poured out from every corporate media corner after his recent bout with cancer ended in his premature death at age 56. But the media . . .

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MEDIA WATCH: The New York Times's 'Chicago News Coop' Covers CTU Issues Real Good

One of my favorite moments reading Matt Taibbi was before he started writing for The Rolling Stone. He published an annual NCAA tournament style report to determine who was the year’s worst journalist covering Russia. . . .

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Leaders criticize Rahm Emanuel for 'demonizing' teachers, 'negotiating in the media'... Chicago Public School Unions Show Support for Embattled Teachers Union

The leaders of workers from unions that represent thousands of service and support staff such as lunchroom workers, aides, custodians, security guards and engineers in the Chicago Public Schools came out to show support for . . .

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CTU House of Delegates decides to endorse all candidates for Chicago Teachers Pension Fund trustees

The House of Delegates on Wednesday, October 19 decided to endorse all candidates running for the pension election November 4, rejecting the executive board’s recommendation to endorse Tina Padilla and Raymond Wohl. Five candidates are . . .

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The strange saga of the CTPF investment in 'DV Urban'... UPC Pension Trustee candidate is the liar in discussion of the controversial investment with Substance

During last week’s House of Delegates meeting when members of the United Progressive Caucus were able to convince the delegates to endorse all five teacher candidates for the two vacancies to be elected in the . . .

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Heard the one about who has the 'shortest school day'? Corporate propaganda across the USA challenges teacher unions... Chicago teachers show unity at House of Delegates meeting

The monthly meeting of the Chicago Teachers Union's House of Delegates on September 14, 2011 showcased a unified teaching force which came out in a record number to express their solidarity with the union leadership . . .

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CTU mobilizing and energized following mayor's demagogic attacks on public school teachers....Rahm Emanuel his own worst enemy?

Is Chicago’s ambitious new mayor his own worst enemy? Fresh off his election win this year, Rahm Emanuel immediately attacked the Chicago Teachers Union by demanding teachers circumvent their collectively bargained contract for a longer . . .

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CPS Cameras Do Not Protect Students or Teachers... Teachers ask why parking lots and vehicles are not patrolled and protected

In the spirit of high tech video surveillance, Chicago Public Schools recently announced an “enhanced” electronic security system that would place scores of security cameras at 14 high schools for the new school year. This . . .

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LANE TECH AUGUST 10: Budget Hearing at Lane Tech Question Murky Finances

Chicago Public School politics were on display at the first budget hearing at Lane Tech High School last Wednesday, August 10, 2011. According to CPS, the massive "deficit" is due to increased teacher pension costs . . .

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Board of Education Policy is to 'Do Not Hire' Good Teachers

Once upon a time the rare occasion would happen when a teacher who committed a criminal act would be placed on the Chicago Public School’s Do Not Hire List. Nobody wants someone considered a serious . . .

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STRIKE! Verizon Workers Showing CTU the Light?

The first thing that came to my mind when I heard about 45,000 Verizon workers going on strike was — who is running their union? In an era when concessions are the unions first — . . .

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IFT praises SB7 even after tumult over union busting bill breaks out in Chicago

Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery agrees with the business community and politicians that the union busting Senate Bill 7 which was signed into law by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn in June 2011 . . .

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Central office clout, Law Department in cover up?... Dewey Principal Hired After Breaking Child’s Arm while he was an Assistant Principal at Holmes School

When the Dewey Elementary School Local School Council was deciding who to hire to be their next principal last school year, their first choice was determined to be not eligible. So they went with the . . .

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Madigan bowed to huge campaign from unions and backed off from legislation again attacking public pensions... Chicago Pension Trustees Meet after Pension bill 'Retreat' by House Speaker and his corporate backers

The Chicago Teachers Pension Fund’s investment committee met in the aftermath of a temporary retreat by the state legislature to take another whack at Illinois worker pensions. The meeting took place after a massive campaign . . .

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CTU House Meeting Report

The Chicago Teachers Union presented a detailed budget that included a beefed-up organizing department for the delegates to vote on at the last House of Delegates meeting of the school year on Wednesday, June . . .

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Mayor Daley Grants Interview to the Russians... 'I’m the only mayor in the country that took responsibility [for education].'

Substancenews.net (June 25, 2011). I must say my eyes jumped up when I turned to the TV channel Russia Today this weekend and saw our former mayor being interviewed on the Russian news program. . . .

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Many in Logan Square Community Against New Aspira Charter Proposal

In what appears to have been a done deal, the Chicago City Council zoning commission approved changes to allow Aspira to open another charter high school at the corner of Milwaukee and Central Park despite . . .

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Chicago City Council Proposal to Unionize Charter Schools

The Chicago City Council heard a resolution during the first week of May 2011 that would support the right of charter school employees to join and form a union. However, because a majority of members . . .

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Delegates Reject CTU’s Support of Illinois Senate Bill 7, Demand Major Changes

Teacher delegates unanimously rejected the Chicago Teacher’s Union support for Senate Bill 7, an anti-union bill that currently sits in the state house, at the House of Delegates meeting at the Operating Engineers Hall on . . .

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Senate Bill 7 Hits CTU Hard

Once the ugly details came out regarding Illinois Senate Bill 7 — which the Chicago Teachers Union endorsed and which is awaiting the governor’s signature after nearly unanimously passing the House (there was one "No" . . .

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Illinois moves to end defined benefit pensions for Chicago teachers... SB 512 is latest attack on teacher pensions as Big Business continues push to put teachers into risky 401k plans under guise of 'choice'

Despite furious calls to legislators from public sector workers and pensioners around the state the past two weeks, the Illinois House of Representatives Personnel and Pensions committee took one big step forward to seriously gutting . . .

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Raise Your Hand rally spirited... Coalition holds rally in support of education funding and Facilities Planning law while Rahm Emanuel tries to kill the bill

A small, but spirited group of about 75 parents, children and community activists gathered outside the Thompson Center on May 24, 2011, to protest the state budget cuts to education. Speakers also noted that a . . .

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Emanuel Finally Meets with Chicago Teachers Union

If there is one group the newly elected mayor of Chicago has been trying to avoid for as long as possible — that would have to be the Chicago Teachers Union. That ended a few . . .

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CTU Scores More Victories after Alderman Runoff... Moratorium on charter school expansion should have widespread support in new City Council

Now that the first venture into Chicago aldermanic politics has ended, the Chicago Teachers Union will have the time to assess the fruits of its labors and to follow up with the candidates as the . . .

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CTU House of Delegates meeting faces news good and other

There was good news and bad news the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates meeting held on Wednesday April 13, 2011, at the Operating Engineers Hall. And as the two main factions in the 30,000-member . . .

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CPS Inspector General's Office often investigates school board's 'enemies' — not CPS corruption

Like its counterpart at Chicago's City Hall, the Chicago Board of Education’s Inspector General office is supposed to investigate corruption and help prosecute those found guilty. Throughout the course of the school year, the IG . . .

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Teacher Pension Fund Looking More International as international and 'emerging markets' get riskier

The Chicago Teachers Pension Fund is looking to increase its stake in international markets from 22% to 31%, or $857 million. This raised the eyebrows of Alberto Carrero, a pension trustee who is also a . . .

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Major questions raised as Illinois Senate Bill 7 moves to Illinois House...CTU Leadership Admits Big Mistake

In an about face, the leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union admitted at the CORE caucus meeting on Monday, April 25, 2011, that the bill (SB7) they endorsed and negotiated behind closed doors in the . . .

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Principal a 'nightmare'... Washington High School's patronage war between principal and teachers

A war has been raging between a principal and the teachers at George Washington High School in the far southeast region of the city. The trouble began, according to a number of teachers and Chicago . . .

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Show Me the Money!... Is Rahm Emanuel buying runoff aldermen's support for dozens of more 'turnarounds'?

The Chicago Teachers Union endorsed 24 candidates for alderman, where 12 won, 6 lost and 6 are in run-offs in April. The CTU backed winners were Bob Fioretti (2nd), Pat Dowell (3rd), Will Burns (4th), . . .

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Illinois Democrats Joining Wisconsin Republicans to Attack Teacher Unions?

Remember when those Wisconsin democratic legislators skipped across the border to hide out in the union-friendly state of Illinois so that the Republican Governor Scott Walker couldn't enact his union bashing legislation that would take . . .

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Washington High School Principal Nightmare

Nowhere is the battle between the Board of Education and the Chicago Teachers Union more clearly drawn out than at Washington High School on the far southeast side of the city. The school, located at . . .

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Teacher Union Aims to Cut Perks

When it comes to doling out outrageous salaries and benefits, the Chicago Teachers Union once took a back seat to few. Some of that is now changing, since a new leadership took office at the . . .

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Vigorous Delegate Debate Cut Short at February 14 CTU House of Delegates Meeting

It was a tug of war, except with a twist. Instead of one rope, there were two ropes twisted together in which four groups of people were pulling each other in different directions. That's what . . .

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Chicago's 12th Ward Violent Politics

A change of power in the aldermanic election in the 12th ward where Little Village and Back of the Yards meet could be a deadly affair. Apparently incumbent George Cardenas, who was once affiliated with . . .

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Call to action at Chicago Teachers Union January 2011 meeting

The Chicago Teachers Union leadership went into overdrive Wednesday night, January 5, 2011, at the House of Delegates meeting to fire up an army of teachers to fight back against legislation proposed in Springfield that . . .

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MEDIA WATCH: How Time manipulated 'Person of the Year' after its polls showed Assange and Wikileaks won

Here is something that came in, was carefully vetted, and is relevant for anyone considering how the corporate media works in 2011. "Time Magazine’s Person of the Year… and an Inconvenient Poll." It's been reported . . .

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Inside deal a year ago in Springfield by Marilyn Stewart screws Chicago teachers today

Dirty deals don't see the light of day, and that's why they get done. For example, with the stroke of a pen, or click on the keyboard, Chicago mayoral hopeful Rahm Emmanuel — along with . . .

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Questions about deals to head off 'Performance Counts'?... 'Accountability for All' raises eyebrows among CTU rank-and-file

The Chicago Teachers Union recently thanked its members for helping to defeat — for the time being — "Performance Counts," proposed legislation aimed at the heart of teachers unions across the state of Illinois. The . . .

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What's in it for education... Political Income Tax Victory?

The income tax increase to help bail out a bankrupt State of Illinois came as a relief to many who supported it. The Democrats in Springfield overcame republican opposition to pass a 66 percent increase . . .

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Union busting continues in Chicago charter schools... School named for slain union organizer trying to stop unionizing

In an ironic twist, the school which features the name of one of Chicago's most well-known union organizers is trying to stop the teachers from forming a union. Recently, the teachers at the "Rudy Lozano . . .

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Big Battle Looming as Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates met December 1....

Now that the corporate ruling class is focused on destroying public education, all eyes are on the Chicago Teachers Union and how it will respond. CTU President Karen Lewis, who was recently elected to lead . . .

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Mayoral Forums Hit Town... Wednesday at Walter Payton HS on Wells St, Thursday at Operating Engineers Union Hall on Grove Ave.

The mayoral candidates are going to square off this week in back-to-back events to debate the issues affecting public educaton in the city. The Chicago Teachers Union will host the Mayoral Candidates Forum on Public . . .

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Anti-Teacher Legislation Heats Up... 'Stand for Children' in Illinois sets union busting and teacher bashing corporate agenda with help from leading 'Democrats'

Billionaires and neo-liberals with privatization agendas that demand less jobs and less democracy to implement suddenly got religion in education. Taking a page from the book of the billionaire Koch family who financed the teaparty . . .

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Mayoral candidates tout themselves in December 15 Education Forum at Chicago's Walter Payton High School

My colleague asked me who won after the mayoral forum Wednesday night, December 15, 2010, at Walter Payton College Prep High School. In other words, who sounded the best in defending public education and public . . .

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Chicago Mayor Candidates Seek CTU Support at December 16 forum

The Chicago Teachers Union hosted the Mayoral Candidates Forum at the Operating Engineers Hall on Thursday, December 16, 2010, before a packed crowd of more than 600 people, most but not all of them teachers. . . .

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MEDIA WATCH: Catalyst report on Board's charter school vote an example of corporate bias in news reporting

On Wednesday, December 15, 2010, the members of the Chicago Board of Education returned from executive session just before 4:00 p.m. and voted to "Withdraw" ten Board Reports on charter schools, as reported earlier in . . .

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Pension Fund Sparks Fly

Two trustees of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (CTPF) who are also Chicago Public School Board of Education members did something that many long-time observers would say was impossible — they disagreed. Alberto Carrero, who . . .

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Film Industry Helping Ruling Class Destroy Public Education

One of the many funny moments of American government hypocrisy was when the US expressed outrage that the Russian government would take over an independent TV station. The Russian TV station NTV - owned by . . .

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UNO Leader's Background Pried Open a Little... A closer look at Juan Rangal

One of the jobs of an investigative reporter is to research the background of people in power. For a while I closely followed a notorious charter school operator who was receiving millions of tax payer . . .

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The Art of the Deal... CTU organizing against 'Performance Counts' while corporate millions and corporate media tout corporate 'school reform'

The Chicago Teachers Union is scrambling to alert its members to contact their legislators about proposed legislation called "Performance Counts" that it claims will "turn teaching into a low-wage, high-turnover job." The 40-page draft bill . . .

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Rudy Lozano charter school trying to block unionizing drive

In an ironic twist, the school which features the name of one of Chicago's most well-known union organizers is trying to stop the teachers from forming a union. Recently, the teachers at the "Rudy Lozano . . .

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Politicians shine at Chicago Teachers Union LEAD Dinner

When political bigwigs buzzed about at the Chicago Teachers Union annual Legislators Educators Appreciation Dinner Friday night, October 29, 2010, there was certainly a feeling of charged energy in the room. And the room, the . . .

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Corporate media, corporate money, and 'Machine' ward committeemen line up... Ruling class muscling Rahm Emmanuel into mayor's office

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water after Mayor Daley announced his resignation after 20 years of corrupt machine rule in Chicago, the White House sends its dark horse . . .

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CTU treading forward carefully as school year grinds on

The new leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union has been sending out a very carefullly scripted message to its members about how to proceed at a time when public school teachers continue to be ruthlessly . . .

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Emanuel Snubs Education Mayoral Forum

Rahm Emanuel, the big business candidate who has raised millions of dollars to be the next Chicago mayor, has declined an invitation to participate in the first Chicago Mayoral Forum on Education hosted by the . . .

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New York Daily News reporter exposes key to charter schools' 'success' -- huge marketing budgets

An recent article in the New York Daily News continued the critical look at New York City's charter schools by reporter Juan Gonzalez.





Local charter schools like Harlem Success is . . .

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Are Friends Really Foes?... John Fritchy and 'independent politics' in Chicago

"The overall aim is not to establish a monopoly of power, but also to monopolize the competition for it."





These words written in the book Virtual Politics by Univeristy . . .

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Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates meeting October 6, 2010... Political Endorsements to be Voted On

The political action committee (PAC) of the Chicago Teachers Union will present its list of endorsements in the November elections at Wednesday’s House of Delegates meetings. The committee members (including myself) have taken a close . . .

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New CTU Flexes Muscles at IFT Convention

The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) hit hard at President Obama's educational agenda by passing a resolution that rejected Race to the Top at the IFT convention in St. Louis October 15-16. Unlike last year . . .

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CTU Court Victory in Jeopardy

It was hailed as a victory to all the tenured teachers who lost their jobs this past summer due to alleged budgetary reasons when a district court judge ruled earlier this month that the Board . . .

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CPS Promoting Superman

The Chicago Public Schools is heavily promoting charter schools by encouraging CPS parents and students to attend the very anti-public education film Waiting For Superman which is also being promoted by big business interests.
. . .

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The Quinn endorsement a Hot Potato for Chicago Teachers Union

At the September Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates meeting, several teachers stated emphatically that because of the pension bill they were against endorsing the Democrat Pat Quinn for Illinois governor. They helped convince their . . .

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Lengthy study shows that the ruling class is united behind charter schools, Waiting for Superman.... What are we going to do about it?

A lengthy report first published on line in "Not Waitiing for Superman" by Rethinking Schools's Barbara Miner shows that the ruling class in the USA is united behind the expansion of charter schools. The question . . .

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Politicians Shine at CTU LEAD Dinner

When political bigwigs buzzed about at the Chicago Teachers Union annual Legislators Educators Appreciation Dinner Friday night, October 29, 2010, there was certainly a feeling of charged energy in the room. And the room, the . . .

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Galapagos gets five more years... CPS Renews Another Questionable Charter School

The Chicago Board of Education decided to renew a five-year contract with the Galapagos Charter School at 3815 W. Iowa earlier this year, despite the fact that problems persist. The Board approved Board Report 10-0526-EX8 . . .

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CPS finally answered budget hearing questions — two days after the Board of Education voted to approve the 2010 - 2011 budget!

On August 9, 2010, Chicago Public Schools released a preliminary budget for FY2011. The district also held three community hearings to allow the public to ask questions about the proposed budget. CPS officials gathered the . . .

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CTU officially announces new team

Fresh from an upset in which the activist CORE slate beat the machine of Union politics the UPC and Marilyn Stewart to run the Chicago Teachers Union, the new leadership and its staff have . . .

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Huberman's Empty Promise... If the Chicago schools "CEO" were in Pinocchio, his nose would stretch from the Loop to Rogers Park

When Sunny Neater-DuBow spoke to the Board of Education last month at the Board's meeting on August 25, 2010, to ask why a National Certified Teacher would be layed off due to budget reasons when . . .

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CTU House of Delegates... House of Delegates Meeting Opens New Era of Democracy in Chicago

It seemed like a breath of fresh air after years of screaming, cajoling, and squashing any chance for an open debate on serious issues affecting Chicago public school teachers. The monthly meeting, held at . . .

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Jail Teacher Aims High on the Westside... Donielle Lawson wants to be alderman of Chicago's 24th Ward

Welcome to Chicago's 24th ward — where the ghost of former Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott lurks among mushrooms of foreclosured homes, dreams of an Olympic pool and state of the art velodrome . . .

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CTU to hold rally on Tuesday, September 21, at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago

The Chicago Teachers Union is sponsoring an education rally at the Daley Plaza at 4pm on Tuesday, September 21, 2010, to protest the massive teacher layoffs this school year and other attacks on public education . . .

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Chicago Facilities Task Force is taking a close look at neglected public schools

The neglect of public schools on the northside is one of the topics the Chicago Educational Task Force will discuss at its third meeting Tuesday, September 28. The task force, which grew out of the . . .

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Chicago school facilities task force holds final public hearing on north side of Chicago September 28

The Chicago Education Facilities Task Force heard moving testimony Tuesday, September 28, 2010, at its last scheduled community meeting before it will draft a school facilities bill that should provide guidelines before the Chicago Public . . .

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Chicago Teachers Union Delegates Unanimously Reject Concessions at Special Meeting on August 11

Chicago Teachers Union delegates voted unanimously to reject the Board of Education's demands that the teachers give up nearly $100 million — in salary adjustments and other concessions (such as furlough days) — at a . . .

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Eloquence at August 17 Lane Tech budget hearings... Budget Hearings Hear Moving Testimony

There was outrage, there was disbelief and most of all, there was a sense that the people can speak, but those making the decisions to drastically cut educational services in Chicago via massive teacher firings . . .

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CORE Meeting Sets Guidelines

Jackson Potter is the founder of CORE (Caucus of Rank and File Educators) who now runs the affairs of the Chicago Teachers Union after his activist group scored a stunning victory over the machine of . . .

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Core convention ends on high note after lengthy revisions to caucus's by-laws

Should newly elected Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) officers — and newly hired union employees who made up the CORE leadership during an unprecedented election fight — be able to continue to run the activist caucus . . .

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Huberman continues to fire the best teachers while talking doubletalk about teacher quality... Experience at Little Village High School just one example of the hypocrisy of the current purge of veteran teachers so Huberman can fill the ranks with 'Teach for America' and other novices

The mainstream media are praising Chicago Schools Chief Ron Huberman for firing the "worst" teachers in the system. The fact is, he is continuing to terminate the best. Sunny Neater-DuBow received her layoff notice two . . .

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Chicago Teachers Pension Fund sues Chicago Public Schools for $40 million

The Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (CTPF) filed a lawsuit on July 8, 2010, against the Chicago Board of Education seeking $40 million that it claims is owed to the teachers’ pension fund. The lawsuit marks . . .

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After CPS Cuts Top Teachers... Veteran teachers continue fighting back against illegal terminations

More than 100 veteran Chicago teachers have begun a grievance and are organizing other fight backs against illegal terminations by Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman. The teachers, more than 100 of whom . . .

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CORE announces 'interim' CTU transition team

Newly elected Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis announced before a full audience at a CORE meeting on June 28, 2010, the new union transitional team. The members of the team will join the four . . .

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CTU Preparing Massive Fight Against Cuts... July 2 Executive Board meeting begins plans for CTU actions

The newly elected leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union called an emergency Executive Board meeting on Friday, July 2, 2010, to discuss and unveil a plan to fight the massive layoffs and other teacher and . . .

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CTU Preparing Massive Fight Against Cuts... July 2 Executive Board meeting begins plans for CTU actions

The newly elected leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union called an emergency Executive Board meeting on Friday to unveil a plan to fight the massive layoffs and other teacher and classroom concessions the Board of . . .

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Current Senate Bill Will Actually Help Out... Washington needs to hear from teachers today

When it comes to politics, public school teachers and teacher unions across the country have been taking a heavy beating for the past several years. First, under Republicans and George W. Bush we faced "No . . .

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Which Chicago Charter Schools Pay More into Pension Fund?

When it comes to money, Chicago charter schools are about as transparent as the night. These semi-private schools aren’t governed by the same transparency obligations as regular public schools — even though they receive more . . .

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CPS Cuts Top Teachers... Teacher 'coaches' dumped by Huberman

While Chicago schools chief Ron Huberman is demanding that so-called 'unsatisfactory' rated teachers be immediately fired, he swifty terminated what many would consider the cream of the Chicago teaching profession. The termination of 54 tenured . . .

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CORE Meeting Announces New Team... Lewis names Potter, Caref, Barret, Echevarria, Shibata, Brown and Gutekanst

Newly elected Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis announced before a full audience at a CORE meeting on June 28, 2010, the new union transitional team. The members of the team will join the four . . .

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Teacher pension fund trustees pass landmark decision... Fund managers must now disclose ties to union busting charter schools, other attacks on public education

The Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (CTPF) passed a motion earlier this month which will require all prospective fund managers to disclose any relationship they may have with charter schools. The measure, passed by an 8 . . .

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THE HOME STRETCH: CORE Fundraiser at Casey Moran's Lights Up North Side Friday Night, May 7

[EDITOR'S NOTE: With the publication of this story, Substance begins a series of articles which we will be calling "The Home Stretch" leading up to the May 21, 2010, Chicago Teachers Union election. We hope . . .

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THE HOME STRETCH: Independent caucus leader Marcia Williams endorses CORE

Marcia Williams, the leader of the Independent Caucus who wanted to run against Marilyn Stewart to lead the Chicago Teachers Union, has officially endorsed CORE — the Caucus of Rank and File Educators — in . . .

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CORE Organizes Grassroots for Runoff

CORE — the Caucus of Rank and File Educators — met on Monday, May 24, 2010, to organize and develop strategies to win the runoff election scheduled for June 11 against CTU President Marilyn Stewart . . .

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Five Chicago Teacher Union Presidential Candidates Battle it Out at April 7, 2010, debate before CTU House of Delegates

Five presidential candidates in the May 21, 2010 Chicago Teacher Union election fired shots at each other while touting their qualifications to lead the CTU at the candidates forum at the CTU House of Delegates . . .

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Mass Rally Against Budget Cuts set for 4:00 p.m. today

A mass rally is scheduled on Wednesday, April 28, 2010, at 4pm at the Federal Plaza at Dearborn and Adams to oppose the massive Chicago school budget cuts. CORE, one of five caucuses running in . . .

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School Closure Star Rises Amid the Ashes... Jonathan Jackson brings personal commitment and resources of Rainbow PUSH on behalf of ghetto schools targeted for closing, 'turnaround'

Out the ashes shall rise a star. Jonanthan Jackson, one of the lesser known sons of civil rights activist Jesse Jackson Sr, has arisen to champion the cause of defending public education. Not only has . . .

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Bradwell vows to continue fight against 'turnaround'... Organizing continues to end 'turnaround' attacks on inner city Chicago schools

Parents, teachers, and students from Chicago's Bradwell Elementary School have vowed to continue the fight against 'turnaround' despite the vote of the Chicago Board of Education to subject their school to the draconian process at . . .

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Financial corruption at Aspira? Interview with a former Aspira teacher continues the saga of one of Chicago's most corrupt charter school operators and the clout and coverups that keep it going

Substance spoke with Kayleen Hernandez-Garay, a former Aspira teacher fired for speaking out against the corrupt charter operator. Like former whistler blower Meg Sullivan, who exposed strip searching and grade changing at Aspira and then . . .

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CORE turns in nominating petitions at deadline

karen Lewis e-mailed later...

CORE, you are awesome! Many of you worked hard these past few weeks and it has paid off in this way:

Today, we turned in 3062 signatures for the . . .

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Corporate media aiding and abetting attack on teacher pensions... Pension Law to Hit CPS Teachers Hard

The two major daily newspapers are hailing the Illinois legislature's recent lightening speed vote to create a two-tier pension system as a move that will help fix the state's budget deficit.


. . .

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Jim's article

Delegates Show Solidarity
By Jim Vail
Substancenews.net
February 7, 2010


Chicago teacher delegates showed overwhelming solidarity when everyone stood up to support President Marilyn Stewart’s motion to approve the mobilization . . .

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City Council Education Chair Slams Closing Policy... Alderman Latasha Thomas questions CPS closing policies during community hearing at Guggenheim Elementary School

Seventeenth Ward Alderman Latasha Thomas, who chairs the Education Committee of the City Council, told Substance that Ron Huberman’s performance criteria to close schools are wrong and said she would like to have hearings in . . .

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Political Shift Rolling On... Alderman Lyle testifies against 'turnaround' of Deneen; Alderman Dowell testifies against closing of Mollison

In a continuing defiance of Mayor Richard M. Daley's major reform effort to privatize the Chicago Public Schools, Alderman Freddrenna Lyle (6th Ward) lashed out once again at the Board's agenda to outsource public education. . . .

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Massive protests lead up to final hearing on Chicago's 2010 Hit List... Guggenheim school children go to the mayor's office, Bradwell school facing 'turnaround' turns hearing around against Chicago policies...

More than 400 teachers, parents, students and others concerned about Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's 'Renaissance 2010' plan to close or radically change 14 more schools this year picketed outside the Board of Education building . . .

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Should teacher pension money support anti-union University of Chicago charter schools?... Chicago Teachers Pension Fund Questions Management Firm’s Charter Ties

The Chicago Teacher’s Pension Fund (CTPF) wants to hire the best money managers to make the Fund money so that teachers can retire with a nice pension. But what if the head of one of . . .

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City Council 2010 'Hit List' hearings on Monday, February 22... Resolution for Moratorium on closings moves forward as questions arise regarding who's shoveling for Daley's 'Renaissance 2015'

The Chicago City Council will hold public hearings on the school closings next Monday, Feb. 22, 2010, at 1 p.m. at City Hall. The hearings, by the City Council Education Committee, will take place in . . .

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Five hours at City Hall... City Council hearings on school closings draw heated denunciations of CPS from across the city... Huberman departs hearings with 'Performance Management' staff never to return...

The tables were turned on the Board of Education when the Chicago City Council's Education Committee grilled schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman and his staff over the problems with closing public schools and ignoring . . .

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Chicago Board or Education votes to destroy eight more public schools... 'Turnaround' approved for five schools at the end of five tumultuous weeks of protest

The Chicago Board of Education members voted to destroy eight more Chicago public schools at its regular monthly meeting of February 24, 2010. The late afternoon vote came after massive community outrage forced schools chief . . .

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No Chicago 'Hit List' yet, but more than 200 schools could be on it because of low test scores ('underperformance'), others for 'underutilization'

This year no deep throats – not yet at least. Unlike last year when someone from the Chicago Board of Education leaked the list of nearly 30 public schools to be closed before the end . . .

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CORE hosts 'Education Summit' at Macolm X College January 9, 2010... CORE Education Summit introduces CORE candidates for May 21 CTU election

Stop privatization! Stop Renaissance 2010! Support and defend Public Education! These fighting words rang loud and clear at CORE’s second annual Education Summit at Malcolm X College Saturday, January 9 took place in which about . . .

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Independent Fighter Hopes to Unseat Machine... An interview with Rudy Lozano

When it comes to politics, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and his Machine rule this city like no other. He controls a lot here — from the City Council and civic foundations to state legislators and . . .

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RIP Williams Diaz... One of our favorite students... Dead in a Pool of Blood... Williams Diaz: April 13, 1993 – January 19, 2010

They say millions are a statistic but one is a tragedy. That tragedy for me was Williams Diaz, a 16-year-old former student of mine at Hammond Elementary School in the Little Village area, who was . . .

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January 27, 2010 Chicago Board of Education meeting... More Demanding an End to Renaissance Closings

The heat was turned up at the Chicago Board of Education meeting Wednesday, January 27, 2010, as parents, students, teachers and other community members spoke out against Mayor Richard Daley’s plan to continue closing public . . .

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Guggenheim Elementary School fights to save itself from closing...

“We are not a number!” That was the cry heard loud and clear from children, parents, and teachers in the wake of a barrage of graphs, numbers and data on display at a hearing Thursday, . . .

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School Choice for Whom?

[Editor's Note: The following speech was delivered to the Chicago Board of Education by Jim Vail on December 16, 2009].

Hi, my name is James Vail, a teacher, a reporter and a proud member . . .

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CPS Preparing Hit List for 2010

How many schools will be on Chicago's 2010 Hit List? Why does it seem that "Renaissance 2010" isn't going to end in 2010?

So far there are rumors, and more rumors, and CPS is . . .

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Board of Education snubs massive protests, continues pushing Mayor's agenda at December 16 meeting

In what could only be described as an all-out assault on the Chicago Board of Education's corporate agenda and the pretensions of its "Chief Executive Officer", Ron Huberman, swarms of people surrounded the microphone . . .

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November 4, 2009 meeting... Stewart holding on, barely, in Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates

Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Marilyn Stewart tried to show she is still in control when she fielded a question from this reporter at the recent House of Delegates meeting November 4 (2009) concerning the . . .

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Legislature overrides Quinn veto in Rebuff of Mayor Daley... Soto Bill is now law

A slap in the face to the Mayor and his lackey Governor came the first week of November after the Illinois House and Senate overrode Governor Pat Quinn’s veto of the Soto Bill that would . . .

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As 'market' models fail in public education, too, Aspira appears desperate for students... Aspira hucksters blanket community with phony promises

In the bizarre world of Mayor Richard Daley’s "Renaissance 2010" plan that is unleashing “market forces” that force schools to compete against each other for students, one charter school appears so desperate that they . . .

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Talent Development High School a sellout

If you can’t beat them, join them.

That certainly seems to be the slogan of the Chicago Teachers Union, apparently waving the surrender flag loud and clear with the decision to join the . . .

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Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates meeting shows cracks in Marilyn Stewart's United Progressive Caucus

The October 7, 2009, Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates meeting took an abrupt turn from the previous month’s meeting when the CTU leadership barred for the first time in its history the distribution of . . .

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Charter school report shows scores of Chicago charters are 'failing' as measured by Illinois tests

Scores of Chicago public schools are being closed for performing poorly on the state tests and replaced by charter schools.

But what if those charter schools that replaced the ‘failing’ public schools are also . . .

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Who is Iris Martinez and why is she busting unions on behalf of 'school reform'? Senator and Aspira Operator Have Tight Relationship

[Editor Note: This is the next article in an on-going series taking an in-depth look at the Aspira Charter organization and its controversial relationship with the Chicago Public Schools. For further information or to . . .

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Poor Charter Performer in Line for Millions More... Arne Duncan's Chicago record shows he is lying when he says he wants 'good' charter schools

Note: This is the second in a series of articles that takes a close look at the controversial Aspira charter school operator and its strong political ties that allows it to expand despite its dismal . . .

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New Union-Backed Renaissance School... Talent Development High School a sellout

If you can’t beat them, join them.

That certainly seems to be the slogan of the Chicago Teachers Union, apparently waving the surrender flag loud and clear with the decision to join the . . .

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Tumuluous hearing pits UNO charter school vs. public schools in Chicago's Mexican American community

The battle between charter and public schools broke out in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago Friday night (August 21, 2009) at a public hearing to hear community input on whether to place the . . .

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Critics slam Board meeting... Dozens challenge Chicago Board of Education lies, incompetence at tumultuous August 26 Chicago meeting

Who is telling the truth? At the August 26, 2009, Chicago Board of Education meeting, a phalanx of community leaders, teachers, parents, and others surrounded Whittier teacher Norine Gutekanst and other speakers who charged . . .

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Teachers, parents to picket and protest at Chicago's Prescott Elementary School Tuesday, June 9, 4:15 p.m

The Prescott Elementary School teachers and parents will protest Tuesday June 9 at 4:15 p.m. in front of the school (located at 1632 W. Wrightwood on Chicago's north side) against the discriminatory policies of their . . .

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Prescott Elementary School Protest Turns Tables on 'Tyrant'... Local School Council again snubs teachers, parents, students

Perhaps the most memorable sight during Tuesday’s (June 9, 2009) spirited protest at Chicago's Prescott Elementary School against their tyrannical principal was what almost nobody saw.
Principal Erin Roche — who’s face adorned scores of . . .

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Huberman No. 2 Hears Out Elementary Horror Tales

Less than a week after a major protest at Prescott Elementary School highlighted problems parents and teachers are having with dictatorial Chicago principals, two top assistants to Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman . . .

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Aspira whistle blower teacher was fired, CPS covered up Aspira corruption... Who is holding Chicago's charter schools accountable for anything?

[Editor's Note: The following remarks were made to the Chicago Board of Education during public participation at the Board's regular meeting of June 24, 2009 by Jim Vail, Substance News reporter and Chicago Public Schools . . .

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Prescott Teachers Battle ‘New Leaders’ Tyrant…

May 15, 2009
Substancenews.net
The Renaissance 2010 Plan is to privatize and close as many public schools and reopen them as charter or contract schools with no union representation and less public oversight.
This plan . . .

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'Soto Bill' Gutted, then Passed in Illinois House of Representatives. No Relief for Schools on 2009 Hit List

Some last minute lobbying by Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ron Huberman and Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott helped cut out the heart of a bill in the Illinois House of . . .

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Chicago Board of Education Hears -- and ignores -- Powerful Testimony to Stop Closings... Sixteen Chicago schools destroyed

It was night and day.
Last year, teacher bashing was the norm and opposition to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s Renaissance 2010 plan isolated and marginalized. The Chicago Board of Education voted at its February 27, . . .

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Operation PUSH Joins Fight to Stop Renaissance 2010 Plan

The fight to stop Mayor Richard Daley’s radical privatization plan to close as many public schools as possible and replace them with 100 "new schools" (most of them charter schools) received a boost in the . . .

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Holmes gets VIP visit... Chicago Board of Education President Rufus Williams decides to see for himself a school slated for 'Turnaround'

(CHICAGO). Perhaps moved by the outpouring of powerful testimonies at Monday’s hearing on the proposed corporate "turnaround" of the school, Chicago School Board President Rufus Williams visited the Oliver Wendell Holmes school the very next . . .

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January 28, 2009... Massive Protest Fires Opening Shot

They came, and they came fast and furious, and before one knew it, as many as a thousand children, teachers, parents and other concerned community members came out in mass to protest the Renaissance 2010 . . .

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Teacher fired for blowing the whistle on illegal strip search of 14-year-old girls at Chicago charter school

Could there be a cover-up between the Chicago Public Schools and one of its controversial charter schools?

At issue is what action CPS will take against officials of the Aspira Charter Schools because they . . .

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Rethinking Schools Charter school book is George Soros privatization propaganda

[Review: “Keeping the Promise? the debate over charter schools”, Edited by Leigh Dingerson, Barbara Miner, Bob Peterson, and Stephanie Walters (Milwaukee: Rethinking Schools Publications, 2008; 122 pp. $16.95)].

One of the first questions I . . .

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The destruction of Fulton elementary school

Interview with Corinne Rinck, Chicago Teachers Union delegate, Fulton Elementary School, Chicago.

Closing School.

April 30, 2008

Substance spoke with Corrine Rinck, a veteran teacher at Fulton Elementary School, a recently named . . .

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'You're underutilized' — How CPS is destroying Irving Park Middle School to please local wealthy homeowners

Interview with Raymond Wohl. “Closing School” March 26, 2008

Substance has been conducting a series of interviews with disillusioned parents, teachers and students in charter schools that are replacing public schools. Substance spoke with . . .

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Interview with Delores Angeles... Another family hurt by the Aspira charter schools

Interview with Delores Angeles, parent of a student who attended Mirta Ramirez Aspira Charter School during the 2006-2007 school year. January 2, 2008.
Substance spoke with Delores Angeles, a parent whose daughter Angelica attended the . . .

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