The August 2015 Issue of Substance

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We were forced to suspend subscriptions to our print edition a year ago, and after wishing we could get back into print have finally admitted that we can only continue as an online publication. Therefore, readers can no longer subscribe to Substance on paper, but those who wish to donate will be thanked.

MEDIA WATCH: Chicago Newsroom nails it with discussion of how Illinois got into the Chicago pension mess...

[Editor's Note: Substance tries to follow all of the various news versions of the current realities swirling around the latest "crises" in Chicago and Illinois. By far the best we've yet read (and seen) has . . .


How and why the Bowen High School local school council voted to reject the Board's budget...

[Editor's Note: Speakers from James H. Bowen High School in South Chicago told the August 26, 2015 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education in no uncertain terms why the community is rejecting the latest . . .


MEDIA WATCH: Tribune's Los Angeles Times doing 'education' stories after being financed by charter schools people...

[The following article came to us from FAIR. George N. Schmidt, Editor, Substance].

LA Times’ ‘Independent’ Education Project Bankrolled by Charter School Backers
By Molly Knefel

The Wasserman Foundation, one of the funds
. . .


The Chicago Teachers Union and its 'Quest Center' ... Solidarity or Sellout?....

Judging from what landed in my e-mail on Aug. 25, I have to assume that CTU is tone deaf -- or worse. On the same day that Twitter was booming with messages of solidarity with . . .


Union leads protest at Bank of America... 'CPS is robbing our schools to give to the banks...'

As one sign read: “Robbing Our Schools to Give to the Banks” On the morning of Wednesday, August 26, 2015, as the Chicago Board of Education’s monthly meeting took place inside, a march of approximately . . .


'... In Chicago, Hunger Striking to Save a School...' Dyett hunger strike begins second week as Board of Education continues moving to destroy Dyett High School...

[Editor's Note: A growing number of stories are being published now about the Dyett hunger strike. With the publication of the following story, Substance will begin daily coverage of the Dyett hunger strike. George N. . . .


Rauner and Rahm, the odd couple of Illinois politics... 'On one issue — and it’s the most fundamental issue — Rauner and Emanuel stand arm-in-arm. Both oppose the kind of progressive revenue solutions that would target the millionaire class to which they belong and which they represent...'

[Editor's Note: The article below, by our acquaintance Curtis Black, was published by the Chicago Reporter on August 23, 2015. We are sharing it here with one additional note. From his beginnings in Chicago politics, . . .


Union and CORE meetings set for August 24... 'Chicago Teacher' video and music are a reminder of our most recent roots... Protests and 'People's Board Meeting' to take place at CPS on August 26...

Chicago teachers and supporters remained militant and organized during the summer of 2012, as Chicago's billionaires and plutocracy angled for a confrontation with the Chicago Teachers Union's members and allies. Activities were escalating across the . . .


BUDGET HEARING, MALCOLM X: '...we as advocates for AYLP are appalled and distraught by the proposed CPS budget cuts that will affect Special Education and students with disabilities...' Disability rights advocate challenges Board to stop cuts in special ed...

The budget hearing at Malcolm X College on August 18, 2015 was sparsely attended, but the audience was" appalled and distraught" over cuts of money, transportation services and staff in Special Education. The hearing was . . .


MEDIA WATCH: Unlike many corporate media outlets, WBEZ reports special education cuts, CPS lies, with accuracy... Schurz hearing report is accurate ... CPS tries (and fails) to manipulate interview with Access Living budget expert...

[Editor's Note: The Chicago Sun-Times ignored the annual budget hearings, and has not, as of August 21, 2015, bothered to cover the stories from the annual budget hearings or the "Proposed Budget." The Chicago Tribune . . .


INDIVIDUAL BUDGET TESTIMONIES: Kevyn Park Alum Jennifer Velazquez, August 18 at Schurz... 'Why are you setting up the students of Kelvyn Park up for failure?...'

My name is Jennifer Velazquez, I graduated from Kelvyn Park in 2012. I now attend Northeastern Illinois University, majoring in secondary education and currently the Community Representative for Kelvyn Park High School’s Local School Council. . . .


Massive protest against Noble charters expected at Kelly High School August 18...

Southwest Side community, union and school leaders are expecting a huge turnout to protest the attempt by the Noble Network of Charter Schools to expand into the McKinley Park community. A meeting is scheduled for . . .


Opt Out: 'High stakes testing became a weapon guaranteed to fail the students, fail the teachers, fail the neighborhood schools, and fail entire school districts in largely Black cities...' Black parents should opt out their children...

[Editor's Note. The following analysis was published on Wednesday, 5 August 2015, under the title "Black Parents Should Opt Their Children Out of High Stakes Testing" in Black Agenda Report. Written by Glen Ford, the . . .


MEDIA WATCH: Ugly and Uglier: One Year of Common Core at the NewYork Times... Common Core -- propaganda as 'news' and The New York Times...

[Editor's Note: As most Substance readers know, The New York Times generally sets the ruling class's agenda of (a) important topics and (b) how to think about those topics. Usually, the Times's propaganda on behalf . . .


MEDIA WATCH: The Reader gets the story about the Elected School Board bill, but the Sun-Times misses it? Aren't they owned by the same guy?... As Substance used to say -- OIC!...

Back when Substance was only in print, one of our regular columnists reported as "Sister Grim" and did a monthly page called "A Grim Fairy Tale." Usually, the Grim Fairy Tale ended with the phrase . . .


CORE meeting Monday, August 24, at Letter Carriers union hall, 39th and Wabash, at 4:30 p.m...

Amid growing questions among rank-and-file Chicago Teachers Union members about the status of the current contract negotiations and conflicting statements by union leaders about the union's positions, especially on the attempt by the Chicago Board . . .


Dyett supporters hold press conference at CPS despite postponement of hearings...

The Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) and the Committee to Revitalize Dyett held a press conference in the CPS lobby on August 10, 2015. Irene from Overton read a statement, a copy of which we . . .


MEDIA WATCH: Deborah Quazzo, the privatization fanatic, gets a glowing review from Crain's Chicago Business, with only puffball PR put into print...

No sooner is she off the Chicago Board of Education than Chicago's corporate media has begun trying to rehabilitate the reputation of corporate executive Deborah Quazzo. Quazzo's tenure on the Board included voting without discussion . . .


Janice Jackson's Op Ed 'rebuttal' just shows poor logic... 'New CPS Chief Education Officer Makes Lemonade out of Limes'...

[Editor's Note: The exchange between the newly appointed "Chief Education Officer" of Chicago Public Schools, Janice Jackson, and Blaine Elementary School principal Troy LaRaviere has been taking place on the Op Ed pages of the . . .


Parma Ohio school board rescinds superintendent job offer to Rhonda Saegert... One of her letters of support came from Barbara Byrd Bennett...

Less than a week after a Substance report questioned the wisdom of Parma Ohio's hiring of former Chicago "Chief of Schools" Rhonda Corr Saegert as "interim Schools Superintendent," news comes out that Parma has taken . . .


MEDIA WATCH: NPR again earns its nickname of 'National Propaganda Radio' with mindless support for PARCC and Common Core...

Diane Ravitch and Mercedes Schneider have shared a look at corporate media, this time National "Public" Radio (which Substance has long nicknamed "National Propaganda Radio") playing cheerleader for the PARCC and Common Core. The reporting, . . .


EDITORIAL: The boss wants to steal everything, and when the bosses are crazy liars -- like Rahm Emanuel, Frank Clark, Forrest Claypool, and Janice Jackson -- workers have to get everything in an enforceable contract...

Despite the silly writings in Chicago's corporate media about the infamous career of Forrest Claypool, everyone who has paid attention from the point of view of the city's workers and the majority of Chicago communities . . .


Economist wants poor children of the Third World going to school in 'shipping container' classrooms... 'Bridge International Academies ... has 400 nursery and primary schools in Kenya and Uganda which teach in standardised classrooms that look rather like stacked shipping containers...'

Although The Economist claims it will retain its editorial "independence" despite the fact that Pearson, which produces most of the standardized tests used in the USA, owns half of Pearson, there is really no need . . .


Forum on CPS finances scheduled for August 13 at Grace Place... Forum to precede Board of Education's budget hearings...

With the hearings on the Chicago Board of Education's 2015 - 2016 budget looming, a group of local organizations and the International Socialist Organization (ISO) are hosting a panel discussion and forum on CPS finances. . . .


MEDIA WATCH: Sun-Times exposes hypocrisy of Board of Education members who always voted unanimously and without debate in favor of every proposal by CPS officials -- including the infamous no-bid $20.5 million SUPES contract!...

An excellent reporting job by the Chicago Sun-Times, available to print readers in a two-page spread on August 3, 2015 [see below], exposes the fact that virtually all of the members of the Chicago Board . . .


School districts continue to be suckered by Chicago executives -- Parma Ohio has hired Rhonda Corr Saegert to be its new 'interim' superintendent...

Proving again, if it needed any further proof, that there is a sucker born every minute, the Parma Ohio Board of Education has reportedly voted to hire Rhonda Corr Saegert, one of the Ohio cronies . . .


What does your professor have in common with the McDonald's worker?... 'Working Poor' include adjunct faculty of City Colleges of Chicago... Labor Beat video...

Adjunct faculty from the campuses of the City Colleges of Chicago held a rally and informational picket in front of City Hall on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. Their goal was to educate city council members . . .


SUBSTANCE ANNIVERSARY, HISTORY... Substance begins 41st year... Series of historical articles planned... to be labeled SUBSHISTORY (Date)...

With the publication of the August Home Page here at substancenews.net, Substance begins our 41st year of publication. Substance began as a mimeographed newsletter, produced on a Gestetner mimeograph machine, in August 1975. Originally, Substance . . .


Chicago Public Schools may be 'broke', but CEO Forrest Claypool increased his bureaucracy at great cost, doubled the number of outside lawyers in contract negotiations, and forced out the Board's 'General Counsel' while maneuvering to illegally dictate the next Board Attorney despite state law!...

Less than a month after he received praise from some of Chicago's corporate media for supposedly "cutting bureaucracy," Forrest Claypool, the latest "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago Public Schools, has increased the size and cost . . .


BOARDWATCH: Chicago Board of Education meeting of August 26, 2015, Neal Resnikoff speech, highlighted by large public protests against budget lies before the Board doubles down and votes to approve its $6.8 billion budget for the 2014 - 2015 school year

[Editor's Note: The following speech was delivered to the August 26, 2015 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. During the next two days, Substance will be publishing the remarks by various people who spoke . . .


BOARDWATCH: Chicago Board of Education meeting of August 26, 2015 highlighted by large public protests against budget lies before the Board doubles down and votes to approve its $5.7 billion budget for the 2015 - 2016 school year...

Prior to the Chicago Board of Education regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, August 26, 2015, at the Chicago Public Schools Loop Offices at 42 West Madison St., were demonstrations by the Dyett High School hunger . . .


Access Living and other disability rights groups hold press conference and protest against special education budget cuts despite being barred from use of the full space adjacent to the Board of Education headquarters...

At 9:00 on Wednesday, August 26, 2015, before the Chicago Board of Education’s monthly meeting in which it was expected they would vote on the district’s “budget,” Access Living and other advocates for students and . . .


Comment by Mahalia Hines demonstrates hypocrisy of Chicago Board of Education members... 'How will Dyett get students?' remark blithely ignores Hines's five years of votes to sabotage Dyett and a hundred other real public schools...

Less than an hour after an ambulance arrived at the August 26, 2015 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education arrived to take one of the hunger strikers from Dyett High School to the hospital, . . .


Board of Education agenda continues wasteful, mindless privatization push while CPS budget looms for passage... Why does Chicago need to hire a New York corporation to do 'cash modeling' for its public schools (rather than its own Chief Financial Officer and her staff)?...

When is a "no-bid" contract not a no-bid contract? Answer: When it's part of an intergovernmental deal. Five hours before the beginning of the August 26, 2015 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education, t's . . .


Access Living Budget analysis for 2015 - 2016 released... '...“one has to go back to the fiscal crisis of CPS running from 1972 leading up to the district’s complete collapse in December 1979 to enter a period comparable to the present reality of CPS...'

[Editor's Note: The following analysis of the Chicago Public Schools budget for the 2015 - 2016 school year ("Fiscal Year 2016", FY16) is reprinted here. The analysis, available in PDF format, is 23 pages long. . . .


Report shows racism underlying Chicago corporate 'school reform'... '... it is time to restore democracy to our school district and place resources back into classrooms, where they belong...'

A new report released on August 24, 2015 by the Chicago Teachers Union exhaustively demonstrates that behind the masquerade of "school reform" has been a ruthless racist agenda that undermined the city's black and Latino . . .


Claypool's lies exceed expectations in letter claiming charter funding is not rigged against neighborhood schools... Sun-Times 'Letter' tries to obfuscate continued favoring of privatization and charters...

Rookie Chicago Public Schools "Chief Executive Officer" Forrest Claypool showed off his propaganda skills in a letter to the Chicago Sun-Times following a Better Government Association study that showed charter schools getting an edge over . . .


BUDGET HEARINGS, OLIVE-HARVEY: CPS officials cynically answer questions at sparsely attended budget hearing at Oliver Harvey College during annual budget hearings August 18, 2015...

Protesters from Dyett High School were doing a hunger strike five miles away, and none of them showed up at the budget hearings held at Olive-Harvey College on Chicago's far South Side on the evening . . .


BUDGET HEARING, SCHURZ: CPS offiicials -- including Claypool -- hear outrage from people of the Northwest Side... CPS officials smile as speaker after speaker exposes CPS strategy of sabotaging the real public schools and increasing money for privatization, especially charter schools...

Officials of Chicago Public Schools tried to shut down every speaker who breathed a word after having gotten the allocated two minutes to testify about the Proposed Budget for the 2015 - 2016 school year . . .


BUDGET WATCH 2015 III: Claypool and Clark may continue the 'rebranding' of Special Education in Chicago, but the gutting of services to Chicago's disabled poor children will continue as a national disgrace, example of Chicago hypocrisy...

Like so many bad ideas that began in Chicago, the attempt by Chicago's corporate reformers to "rebrand" special education services and call it "Diverse Learners" has not succeeded in any other city. But that hasn't . . .


BUDGET WATCH 2015 II: Claypool says he's doing it 'for the sake of the children.' But his Proposed Budget shows a large increase in lawyers -- both at CPS and as outside contractors -- while a ruthless reduction from special education takes place in the days before the budget hearings...

One question you won't see on one of the dozens of tests forced on the people of Chicago every school year in the city's public schools: What do Chicago's children need more of during the . . .


BUDGET WATCH 2015: The Metaphysics of Mendacity, by Forrest Claypool and Chicago's corporate media... The CPS 'Incubation and Innovation' office is still in the 2015 - 2016 Proposed budget, while the historically mendacious CEO grabbed a cheap headline by dumping its 'Chief Officer' (maybe)...

We could begin this report with a CORRECTION to a previous Substance article. But it's really only an analysis of how the new regime at Chicago's public schools is carrying on the tradition of the . . .


Elected School Board legislation now before Illinois General Assembly... HB 4268 has 40 co-sponsors, but some parts need a little work (including the attempt by the bill to continue discriminating against CPS workers...)...

After a two-year wait following the overwhelming vote in a Chicago referendum in favor of an elected school board for the City of Chicago, legislation is finally before the Illinois General Assembly. The bill will . . .


Labor Beat: Letter to Urban Prep: Reinstate Fired Teachers...

A new Labor Beat video was released on August 12, 2015, reporting on the latest challenge to Urban Prep charter schools. Urban Prep, which promotes itself and its founder relentlessly, has fired a large number . . .


Claypool continues insults to schools, teachers, parents and communities by scheduling all the budget hearings on the same night -- August 18... Budget of nearly $6 billion released to public in secret meeting with Tribune editorial board and then selected corporate reporters...

The fourth "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago's public schools, Forrest Claypool, continued the Board of Education's suppression of public participation in the annual budget hearings by scheduling all of the hearings on the same night, . . .


Chicago Public Schools 'Chief Executive Officer' Claypool ends 'Office of Innovation and Incubation'... Former Teach for America Jack Elsey dumped under tiny purge of central office bureaucracy, while a number of Byrd Bennett's out-of-town cronies continue in strangely named central office offices..

The Chicago Sun-Times reported on line late on August 9, 2015 and in print on August 10, 2015 that CPS Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool was purging some of the remaining out-of-town executives appointed by . . .


Dyett hearing postponed until September 15... Protests still on as scheduled at CPS headquarters on Monday, August 10 at four in the afternoon...

The scheduled hearing on the future of Dyett High School has been postponed again by the Chicago Board of Education. In a press release issued late on Friday, August 7, 2015, the CPS Office of . . .


Board wants a strike? '... As we entered the room to resume negotiations today, CPS immediately withdrew the ... extension proposal without bothering to hear the Union’s response, and now falsely suggests that we were at impasse...' CTU responds to lies as Board of Education withdraws contract offer

In an unprecedented communication in the history of collective bargaining between the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Board of Education, the CTU on August 7 issued a press release containing the letter that the . . .


It's not a comedy with CPS budgets, but the question 'Who's on first?' shows how the Chicago Board of Education under two mayors has been sabotaging the nation's third largest school system by destabilizing the office of Chief Financial Officer...

A question for those who think they understand what's going on in Chicago Public Schools and at the Chicago Board of Education: What to John Maiorca, Pedro Martinez, Diana Ferguson, David Wilkens, Peter Rodgers, Malanie . . .


'... Unfortunately — for the students and educators in our district — business as usual for CPS under Emanuel is as backward as it gets. It’s time for an elected school board...' Principal challenges CPS claim that principals will benefit from new plan for so-called 'autonomy'...

[Editor's Note: The following material is reprinted here at Substance with the permission of the writer, the principal of Blaine Elementary School in Chicago. The Sun-Times reported this new policy in its print editions of . . .


'Lies, damned lies, and the 'true facts' as brought to the public by the Chicago Board of Education... Has CPS begun double censoring the 'video' of the Board meetings? Two days' look at the video of the July 22 Board meeting show that more than usual is missing...

As early as the late 1990s, Substance exposed the fact that the Chicago Board of Education was censoring video accounts of the Board meetings that were posted later each month at the CPS website. Substance . . .


Protests expose Board of Education's lies and mismanagement as protests grow during the long hot summer of 2015... A Financial Crisis Created To Justify Cuts...

"A Financial Crisis Created To Justify Cuts" is the latest Labor Beat video reporting the protests against the policies of the Chicago Board of Education during the summer of 2015. Labor Beat has been following . . .


BOARDWATCH: Chicago Board of Education meeting of July 22, 2015 was highlighted by renewed public protests against budget lies... Later, the Board continued insulting unions, promoting expensive and vacuous privatization schemes, and fawning on charter schools...

The regular monthly meeting of the Chicago Board of Education held at the Board's "new" downtown headquarters (in the old Sears store building, a building not meant for the administration of the nation's third largest . . .


We were forced to suspend subscriptions to our print edition a year ago, and after wishing we could get back into print have finally admitted that we can only continue as an online publication. Therefore, readers can no longer subscribe to Substance on paper, but those who wish to donate will be thanked.

Contact Substance | Suggestions (email)