The November 2014 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.

ELECTION NEWS: Nine candidates -- in addition to the incumbent -- file in Chicago's mayor's race... Election to be held February 24, 2015.... contested aldermanic races in many of the city's 50 wards

As the deadline for filing nominating petitions to run for Mayor of Chicago was reached at 5:00 p.m. on November 24, 2014, nine candidates (in addition to the incumbent, Mayor Rahm Emanuel) had filed petitions. . . .


LABOR BEAT: Can Chicago Teachers Union activists and their allies build 'independent politics' -- let alone a socialist alternative -- inside the Democratic Party?... 'The CTU and the 2015 Chicago City Hall Election...' a new Labor Beat video

A new 25-minute video from Labor Beat explores the issues facing members of the Chicago Teachers Union and by implication the broader groups of union and community activists in light of the controversial decision of . . .


John Oliver gives a brief explanation of how ALEC works

For those of us who began watching The Daily Show during the dark days of George W, Bush's invasion of Iraq, it was difficult to believe that other shows could even improve on the model. . . .


SUBSCRIPT: Executives get a tub and shower at the new Board offices

Barely have the executive offices of Chicago's public schools been moved into the old Sears property at Madison and Dearborn than we learn from reliable sources that the "CEO Suite" has a shower and bath . . .


More Than A Score schedules December meeting to organize the 2015 Opt Out of PARCC

With the PARCC tests more controversial than ever, and the Opt Out movement in Chicago growing larger than ever, "More Than A Score" will host a meeting to organize the 2015 Opt Out against the . . .


Of course, the most dangerous AUSL fraud is still Chicago Board of Education President... One among many Chicago frauds, 'Doctor' Terrence Carter gets back into the news by suing New London because it fired him when his frauds were revealed

Thanks to Fred Klonsky for staying on top of this story, which we had stopped reporting (because, to be honest, we thought it was over when the New London school board dumped Carter following the . . .


MEDIA WATCH: No Tears for loss of the 'Tiers' -- but the rating policy is still nonsense... How much does the Sun-Times cover from each Board of Education meeting... and major financial challenges are ignored...

Back in the boring days before social media became the rage, the meetings of major public bodies were a regular feature in the newspapers. In Chicago, the City Council and the Board of Education were . . .


SUBSCRIPT: 'Who's on First?' (without Abbot and Consello) as Chicago moves from Governor's election to municipal voting in February... Dueling pollings show proof that the only poll that matters takes place on election day

In the town that gave the world the famous "Dewey defeats Truman" headline in 1948 and other examples of wishful partisan thinking since, you'd think that supposedly sophisticated political operatives and their sub-operatives would not . . .


FAIR TEST's weekly summary of news shows how the Resistance is exploding across the USA

[Editor's Note: Anyone who wants more proof that the assessment reform movement -- what for more than 15 years Substance has called 'The Resistance" -- is exploding across the nation? Check out every week's stories . . .


Pennsylvania school funding to be greeted with protests

[Editor's Note: The following is reprinted with permission from the Notebook, Philadelphia. As this story goes up, we are resuming a great deal of coverage of information from the struggles across the USA that we . . .


Union official to keynote TSJ conference... CORE to have table

Jackson Potter of the Chicago Teachers Union will deliver on of the two keynotes to the annual Teachers for Social Justice curriculum fair on Saturday, November 22, 2014. The fair will last all day. . . .


UNION NEWS: CTU poll claims 'Chuy' can beat Rahm. Press release states ...'New Poll Shows Mayor Emanuel Headed to Runoff with Jesus Chuy Garcia...'

Less than three weeks after the surprising announcement by leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union that Karen Lewis supported Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who had served on Lewis's "exploratory committee" prior to her withdrawal from the . . .


CHARTER SCHOOL NEWS: KIPP puts 'problem' student in dungeon while guests tour their school

KIPP Puts Up to 30 Problem Students in Empty Basement When Visitors Are in the Building
You have heard about KIPP's padded cells for kindergartners and KIPP school leaders putting garbage cans on children's heads . . .


'... there isn't any one on the Safe Passages aside from the $10 per hour folks...but no one is checking that they're actually there....most times, they aren't...' Safe Passage? Mindless publicity stunt or serious safety measure?

As everyone following closely the latest Chicago Public Schools publicity stunts knows, the cynical (and preacher supported) nonsense called "Safe Passage" was supposed to make the closing of the 50 schools in 2013 OK. The . . .


SUBSCRIPT: Arne, as usual, was full of it when attacking another straw enemy... Research on the relative 'failure' of education training programs questioned

As every veteran Chicago teacher knows, Arne Duncan's career as an "educational leader" (with no qualifications) began with the rigging of data and various trickeries using so-called "research" to prove his political biases. The most . . .


Union singers march on, as CORE remembers 'John Brown's Body'

While every meeting of CORE begins with the singing of "Solidarity Forever", at the October CORE meeting Chicago Teachers Union vice president Jesse Sharkey reminded the singers that the origins of the song went into . . .


Endorsements for aldermanic candidates begin at 'Reclaim Chicago' meeting on November 15, 2014

Despite the fact that Chicago will not even know which candidates for municipal office have submitted valid nominating petitions until more than a week later, another group announced its endorsements for the February 24, 2014 . . .


Karen Lewis candidacy was critically examined in September Socialist Worker analysis

[Editor's Note: Just before Karen Lewis came down with what was described as a "serious illness" and withdrew her candidacy for mayor, Socialist Worker published an analysis of the Lewis candidacy, which at the time . . .


Mayor took more than $600,000 in campaign contributions from companies doing business with Chicago public pensions... Fioretti demands Rahm return campaign donations from pension investors

Continuing his energetic campaign for Mayor of Chicago, Second Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti on November 14, 2014 responded to recent press revelations about the corruption of the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel by demanding that . . .


REVIEW and commentary... The Empire as Basket Case

[Editor's Note: Today is Veteran's Day. The following piece was forwarded to us by Substance staff member Kim Scipes, and after reviewing his suggestion that we publish it we agree. George N. Schmidt, Editor, Substance] . . .


Second City benefit tradition continues as CORE takes over the annual event from Substance

The annual tradition of a benefit at the world famous Second City comedy theater continued on November 10, 2014, as more than 200 CTU members and supporters showed up for the event, now sponsored by . . .


Now that 'ABB!!' had failed as a strategy, why are some CTU leaders screaming GRR!!! and thinking it makes sense?

Everyone who cares about democracy and using our votes to get power to offset the oligarchs and plutocrats has to sit back and think today in Illinois. For the past six months or so, some . . .


Veterans for Peace schedules numerous 'Armistace Day' activities for November 11, while CTU and others to do 'Take Back Chicago'

Arnie Stieber has made the announcements below regarding activities of Veterans for Peace and other peace activists for next Tuesday, November 11, which is also a school holiday. Currently called "Veterans Day" in the USA, . . .


'...A palace for Jabba the Hut...' wins the ZAP! award as Alderman Bob Fioretti notes just part of the odiousness of Rahm's George Lucas museum deal,..

Without even breaking his professional smile following the childish dissing he received by a small faction of the staff of the Chicago Teachers Union on Halloween (at the union's LEAD dinner), Second Ward Alderman Bob . . .


CTU against a 'parking meter type deal' on pre-K expansion

Chicago Teachers Union issued a press release on November 3, 2014 criticizing the plans for a privatization scheme to expand pre-K education in Chicago. Here is the CTU press release:




. . .


...'The African-American teaching force in CPS declined from 40 percent in 2000 to 28 percent in 2011,'... 'Ongoing legal action' seeks class action certification at Seventh Circuit... Chicago Teachers Union continues litigations charging 'turnarounds' are racist

On November 3, 2014, the Chicago Teachers Union continued litigtioins charging that Chicago's "turnaround policy" is racist. The "turnarounds were begun in 2003 under former Chicago Public Schools "Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan and have . . .


CTUd'etat the Musical? -- Comedy, tragedy or... farce... A quote from history that may be about our current realities

"Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Caussidière for Danton, Louis Blanc for . . .


'Mayoral Candidates Forum' was held on December 16, 2010 so that union members and delegates could hear from all the mayoral candidates who were going to be on the February 2011 ballot

The year was 2010. The Chicago Teachers Union has elected the CORE slate of candidates,headed by King High School chemistry teacher Karen Lewis and Senn High School history teacher Jesse Sharkey, in a runoff election . . .


BOARDWATCH: Dramatic testimony from homeless families brings reality of policies to the October 22 Board meeting

Although the members of the Chicago Board of Education regularly hear from students and parents from the city's ever growing number of charter schools and campuses in an endless procession proclaiming how a charter school . . .


Thirteen years old and still building the resistance... 'And so I committed an act of civil disobedience by boycotting the administration of the test....' Colorado resistance group still at it after all these years -- on a shoestring budget

In February 2001, Colorado middle school teacher Don Perl became the first teacher in the country to refuse to give the mandated state test. In his 19th year of teaching in a school where the . . .


Obama administration's attacks on public education escalate while country's attention is facing in other directions... Arne's new college rules to create 'perverse incentives'

Following his decades' long crusade against the nation's real public schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wished a "Happy Thanksgiving" to the nation's colleges by issuing federal guidelines that he claims will improve the . . .


Petitions for elected school board will result in referendums in at least 38 wards

At least 38 of Chicago's 50 wards will get to vote on whether voters in those wards want Chicago to have an elected school board, as the result of a massive citywide petition drive to . . .


Illinois politicians and corporate media get an 'F' on the Constitution test... Judge's pension ruling is not complicated at all... Why is Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan appealing the verdict on SB1 and corporate 'pension reform'?

Although most public school students are still required to study and pass a test on the Illinois and U.S. constitutions, apparently some of the state's top politicians, including the state's chief law enforcement officer, should . . .


BOARDWATCH: Complete report on the November 19, 2014 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. More than 500 people attended the meeting, probably the largest turnout at a Chicago school board meeting in history...

The November 19, 2014 regular monthly meeting of the Chicago Board of Education normally would have been held at 125 S. Clark Street at 10:30 a.m., but the Board is in the process of moving . . .


BOARDWATCH: '...the Chicago Tribune expose last week just barely scratched the surface on the ways that Wall Street banks take advantage of municipal borrowers like CPS...' Expert challenges Board on 'toxic swaps' to file for arbitration with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

[Editor's Note: Once again, Substance's BOARDWATCH feature is publishing the remarks prepared and delivered by the speakers at the monthly meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. More than 500 people turned out for the . . .


BOARDWATCH: Veteran teacher Tammie Vinson explicates the impact of closings on teachers, kids, communities and schools when the closings are a serial killing of communities -- and special education children are deprived of the services they need and are legally entitled to...

[Editor's Note: Once again, Substance's BOARDWATCH feature is publishing the remarks prepared and delivered by the speakers at the monthly meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. The meeting of November 19, 2014 saw more . . .


BOARDWATCH: Ed Hershey

[Editor's Note: Substance's BOARDWATCH is publishing the remarks prepared and delivered by the speakers at the monthly meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. The meeting of November 19, 2014, held in the wonderful auditorium . . .


BOARDWATCH: Jerry Skinner on Kelvyn Park High School problems... 'The double standard applied by CPS to the teachers of Kelvyn Park reeks of the irresponsible practice of power...'

[Editor's Note: Substance's BOARDWATCH is publishing the remarks prepared and delivered by the speakers at the monthly meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. The meeting of November 19, 2014 saw more than 500 people . . .


BOARDWATCH: '...according to CPS’s own budget figures, more than 200 library positions have been cut in the past two years....' Librarians ask CPS to join other large districts to assure librarians in every school

[Editor's Note: Substance's BOARDWATCH feature is publishing the remarks prepared and delivered by the speakers at the November 19, 2014 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. The meeting saw more than 500 people present . . .


BOARDWATCH: Chicago Teachers Union recording secretary leads dozens of speakers demanding arbitration against the 'toxic swaps'

[Editor's Note: Once again, Substance's BOARDWATCH feature is publishing the remarks prepared and delivered by the speakers at the monthly meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. The meeting of November 19, 2014 saw more . . .


BOARDWATCH: Speaker notes the risks created by Board's cutbacks in nurses

[Editor's Note: Once again, Substance's BOARDWATCH feature is publishing the remarks prepared and delivered by the speakers at the monthly meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. The meeting of November 19, 2014 may have . . .


BOARDWATCH '...The loss of school librarians is especially alarming in CPS high schools, where there are now only 38 high schools with librarians...' Librarians continue challenge to Chicago Public Schools obliteration of school libraries

[Editor's Note: Once again, Substance's BOARDWATCH feature is publishing the remarks prepared and delivered by the speakers at the monthly meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. The meeting of November 19, 2014 saw more . . .


BOARDWATCH: 'REACH performance tasks are setting our children up to fail!' Sarah Chambers charges readability of reading test questions for lower grades is as high as 'college level' while Board members sit clueless

[Editor's Note: Once again, Substance's BOARDWATCH feature is publishing the remarks prepared and delivered by the speakers at the monthly meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. The meeting of November 19, 2014 saw more . . .


Looking back on the union and the Democratic Party... October 2013, a year ago, what were union activists saying about the Democratic Party and Bruce Rauner? About Rahm and the aldermen in City Council? Does the nature of the discussion then help us understand the predicament the unions are in now?

Done with the Democrats... A year ago, what were union activists saying about Quinn/Vallas and Bruce Rauner, about Rahm and the aldermen in City Council? Does the nature of the discussion then help us understand . . .


Chicago lawmakers call for SEC investigation into allegedly illegal campaign donors to Rahm Emanuel's mayoral campaign.... Rahm being charged with 'pay to play' on billions of pension investments

Chicago lawmakers, including Second Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti, are calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate illegal campaign contributions to the campaign funds of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The contributions, amounting to at . . .


Crime in Chicago... Chicago Murders Up 50 percent in November as measured by mid-month... Last official media reports on crime were in August, ignoring trends since... A Murder Rate Cover-Up

Chicago Murders in November 2014 are up 50 percent in the same time last November and there are still 14 days left in the month. In November 2013 there were 28 total murders. In November . . .


'Fighting Jane' was 'Union-Busting Jane'. Just ask the firefighters she challenged in 1980 strike, and the union president she sent to jail...or the 8,000 teachers and other school workers who lost their jobs via her 'School Finance Authority'...

The John Kass headline in the November 15, 2014 Chicago Tribune says: 'Fighting Jane' battled the machine and won. But it wasn't the city's union busting part of the machine she fought. She had the . . .


November 19 Chicago Board of Education meeting first time in decade the Board meets in a community... Board's risky financial policies are not just around 'toxic swaps' but extend to escalating debt and gimmicks for repaying debt...

Quiz Time. Question: When was the last time the Chicago Board of Education, which runs the nation's third largest public school system, met at a location and at a time when most working people -- . . .


Energy grows at 'Take Back Chicago' march and rally on Veterans Day 2014

Despite unpleasant weather, the energy of the more than 1,000 people from all over Chicago who showed up for the highly publicized "Take Back Chicago" march and rally on November 11, 2014 grew as the . . .


Chicagoans take to the streets on Veterans Day for 'Take Back Chicago' march and rally that brings hundreds downtown

[Editor's Note: The Substance editor was busy dealing with "health issues" on Veterans Day and had to miss the "Take Back Chicago" event. After screening the various accounts of the event as of November 12, . . .


Catalyst notes CTU involvement in work against 'toxic swaps'...'...What is really troubling to Bhatti is that CPS hired an outside firm to do an analysis of these deals to justify getting into them, rather than to consider the options for getting out of them...'

As the Chicago Tribune continues its major investigation into the use by Chicago Public Schools of variable rate bonds and other exotic "financial instruments," another publication notes the for years the Chicago Teachers Union has . . .


Tribune's expose on variable rate bonds for Chicago Public Schools leaves out facts of history -- Substance and CORE exposed these 'toxic' deals beginning in August 2009, and continued to demand answers as late as the October 2014 Board meeting -- while CPS officials engineered their cover up!

Beginning on November 9, 2014 and continuing on November 10, 2014, the Chicago Tribune (which has returned to its roots as a definitive newspaper following a few embarrassing years when it was owned by real . . .


Tribune adds to exposé of Chicago Board of Education's bankers' deal on 'toxic swaps'... Cover up by Ruiz, Vitale and Zopp now becomes clear on the public record, despite years of stalling and FOIA violations

More than six years after Substance and some of the leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union first challenged the Chicago Board of Education's use of "toxic swaps" (variable interest rate deals on bonds issued by . . .


CTU House of Delegates to meet Nov. 5... Political controversy flares up in the CTU

[Editor's Note: The following article originally appeared at Socialist Worker and is reprinted here at substancenews.net with permission of the author. For those who wish to consult the original article and additional analysis by the . . .


Paul Vallas cost Pat Quinn the election

Virtually all major Illinois Democrats won their elections yesterday -- except Governor Pat Quinn. Quinn, like Jessie White, Dick Durbin, and Michael Madigan -- all Democrats -- was running for re-election. They won; Quinn lost. . . .


November 5, 2014: Chicago Teachers Union to face most explosive House of Delegates meeting since the months before the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012

Having already surrendered a good deal of its political credibility by the work that was done at the annual LEAD dinner on October 31, 2014, the leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union is facing a . . .


CTU hosted mayoral candidates forum on December 16, 2010. Video of the event still available on You Tube...

The Dec. 16, 2010 Mayor Candidates Forum sponsored by the Chicago Teachers Union and several other unions is the subject of this show. We hear samplings of the questions for and answers by the candidates . . .


The mayoral candidates' forum on 'Education' was held at Walter Payton High School on December 15, 2010 and Substance reported what the four candidates who attended said in detail -- including Rev. Sen. Meeks's "bad teacher" attacks....

In December 2010, the major candidates for mayor were on the stump, and one of their stops was at Walter Payton High School. There, a candidates' forum on education was held. Two candidates did . . .


Chicago Teachers Union LEAD dinner features endorsement of Chuy Garcia for mayor, reiterates support for Pat Quinn

More than 1,000 participants in the annual Chicago Teachers Union's LEAD dinner learned on October 31, 2014 that the union's leadership is endorsing Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia for mayor. Garcia, whose candidacy was . . .


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)