The August 2011 Issue of Substance

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MEDIA WATCH: Piecing together a major story, Chicago's youngest reporters try their best on Labor Day weekend in the face of spin factory originally practiced at the White House by Rahm Emanuel and his huge public relations operation

At many points during his career from City Hall in Chicago through Congress (he served as Congressman for the district that includes Substance for three terms) to his days as Chief of Staff in the . . .


Unprecedented and insulting random drug testing of teachers was demanded by the school board... Illinois Bluffs teachers ratify contract after brief strike

The 60 members of the Illini Bluffs Federation of Teachers, Local 3810, returned to work after ratifying a new three-year contract on August 29. IBFT members were forced to strike on August 17 when the . . .


SOLIDARITY FOREVER: Former UTLA President, ousted, to start own charter school

[Editor's Note: The following was published on New Politics (http://newpol.org) Lois Weiner's blog under the title Why a former teacher union president goes over to the dark side].






. . .


Common Core and the American Federation of Teachers... Teachers, the AFT is Killing You

Old news becomes news when you notice it for the first time. And it becomes news again when you revisit it a few years later and see new things. The information in the bottom part . . .


CFL launches new website

Just in time for the Labor Day weekend, the Chicago Federation of Labor has announced that it has completely revamped its website and is taking on other new media approaches to its work. In an . . .


Are coerced waiver votes legal?

The Chicago Public Schools announced on September 2, 2011 that three schools waived their contractual rights agreed to work longer days. One of those schools is just beginning, one has a tiny staff, and the . . .


Wisconsin teachers retiring at record rate following governor's attack on unions

[Editor's Note: The following article ran first on the Huffington Post and is republished here because of its ongoing interest to our readers. The original article can be located at Huffington Post at the education . . .


Chicagoans begin responses to Tribune article on 1987 teachers' strike

Following the publication of the August 29, 2011, story in the Chicago Tribune about the 1987 Chicago teachers' strike, numerous teachers and parents from across the city began responding to the Tribune's version of history. . . .


Mayor Emanuel to hold 'Town Hall Meeting' on City of Chicago budget after ramming through public schools budget in virtual secrecy

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has scheduled what his press office is calling the first of two "Town Hall Meetings" to discuss the City of Chicago budget, less than three weeks after the seven members of . . .


Fresno School Supt. takes $800,000 pay cut to promote public educaton

Maybe we need to ask JC to man up and put some skin in the game. The following story, from the Huffington Post (August 28, 2011) tells an interesting story about what a school leaders . . .


Chicago Teachers Union warns teachers (and other union members) to be wary of pressure to grant a contract waiver for Brizard's latest publicity stunt

As Chicago's corporate elites continue to try and organize pressure against the Chicago Teachers Union behind Mayor Rahm Emanuel's demand that elementary teachers work a longer school day without receiving regular pay, pressure has begun . . .


MEDIA WATCH: 'Some things to keep in mind,' indeed... Know your enemy department. James Warren and the Chicago News Coop's propaganda placement in The New York Times

Readers who have a dwindling bit of respect for The New York Times are always puzzled when it comes out with a completely biased story against teachers and teacher unions. After all, a citation from . . .


Mayor Rahm Emanuel to hold two 'Town Hall Meetings' week of August 29, 2011

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will hold two "Town Hall Meetings" during the last week of August 2011, according to a August 25 announcement. According to the announcement, the meetings will be held on August 29 . . .


Rap hit takes down Duncan... 'Two Teachers and a Microphone' return with a great piece on Arne Duncan, worth a four-minute before class this morning




Can Arne Duncan take the humor that is now being thrown at him as the 2011 - 2012 school year begins in the aftermath of the SOS march . . .


Jean-Claude Brizard: It's All About the Love--Take It or Leave It



[Editor's Note: The following originally was posted to Gapersblock and is shared with Substance readers here. A further examination of the terms of the Brizard publicity stunt is being . . .


Use Your Teacher Voice video campaign launched by Chicago teacher Adam Heenan

Since Chicago teacher (blogger, organizer and Substance reporter) Adam Heenan launched “Use Your Teacher Voice,”
a video campaign on August 15, the You Tube campaign has been promoted by GOOD . . .


Duncan tried to meet with Matt Damon before SOS march... Damon's criticisms of Race To The Top are worrying the Obama administration

Thanks to Leonie Haimson of Parents Across America and Class Size Matters, we now have learned that Arne Duncan tried to meet with actor Matt Damon before Damon addressed the SOS rally in Washington D.C. . . .


CPS spent $1 million on outside lawyers at its July 27 meeting alone... Emanuel press release touting 'savings' at City Hall ignores mess in CPS budget presentation and distortion of CPS finances down the street at 125 S. Clark

It's only about a ten-minute walk (or a three-minute limousine drive) from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's City Hall offices on the fifth floor of 121 N. LaSalle St. to the downtown headquarters of the Chicago . . .


MEDIA WATCH: 'Waiting for Superman' star turns into the Wicked Witch from the Whiz... Rhee plays 'Don't nobody bring me no bad news' in avoiding questions about her D.C. testing scandals

As the various stars of the corporate school reform movement are exposed over and over for the frauds they are, some are having a harder time than others keeping the positive media spotlight focused on . . .


MEDIA WATCH: Brizard and Tribune's editors bring back memories of Booker T. Washington and the last Gilded Age

Just as Booker T. Washington was groomed by white philanthropists during the first Gilded Age to advance the cause of segregation, containment, and indoctrination of African-Americans, the philanthrocapitalists of our Gilded Age 2.0 have a . . .


SUMMER VACATION: Substance editors going off the grid until August 19

The main Web production editors of Substance will be on vacation for a week, beginning on August 12, 2011, and will not be posting new stories until August 19. We will in fact be "off . . .


MEDIA WATCH: NPR criticized for bias against SOS rally and march

Class Size Matters (Leonie Haimson) has issued a challenge to NPR, criticizing the NPR coverage of the SOS rally and march as biased, and the choice of two conservative "school reform" groups to comment on . . .


GET THAT THNING OUT OF HERE BEFORE IT EXPLODES! CPS 'Draft' Budget CD almost crashes main Substance computer

There has to be some fold wisdom about a bad joke getting worse, and if there is we'll report it following this brief report on the latest wrinkle in the latest iteration in Chicago's Public . . .


SUBSCRIPT: MOO AND OINK HEADING INTO HISTORY? Last chance for an important field trip for CPS teachers, those who promote nonsense like the

With the recent news that Chicago's famous Moo and Oink food stores might be heading into bankruptcy, there is one last chance for suburban teachers, TFA types, and those who prattle on and on about . . .


Brizard Rochester legacy one of 'failure' as measured by standardized tests

While Chicago schools Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard is trying to fire as many veteran Chicago teachers, principals and other educators as possible and bring in dozens of people who know nothing about Chicago, he . . .


LA Teacher challenges Arne Duncan's nonsense about how class size doesn't matter

[Editor's Note. Even though the headline for the following story repeats the ruling class party line about "getting rid of bad teachers" (and that may have been put in by the Los Angeles Times, which . . .


MEDIA WATCH: CNN does a nice job covering the SOS rally, march and issues

While the Substance MEDIA WATCH generally tracks the predations of corporate media in the USA (what could be more corporate propaganda than the facts (a) that The New York Times ignored the SOS conference, rally . . .


SUBSCRIPT: Rahm touts his version of 'transparency' while allowing Chicago Public Schools financial information to get murkier and murkier

Hardly a day goes by in Chicago when the media do not receive another announcement from Mayor Rahm Emanuel's enormous press team that another example of what they call "transparency" has just happened. The latest . . .


LETTER: Nancy Carlsson Paige responds to the trivialization of the SOS rally and march in the Boston Globe

[Editor's Note: The following letter appeared on line at the Boston Globe on August 4, 2011, following the Globe's coverage of the SOS rally and march in Washington D.C. on July 30. The letter . . .


MEDIA WATCH: Matt Damon took on silly right-wing TV crew on stage at SOS event

ActorMatt Damon had it out with a right wing reporter during interviews at the SOS rally and march on July 30, 2011. The question, from a reporter for a conservative video blog, tried to . . .


Wall Street Journal's puff piece on IBM needs close examination... Warning to Teachers and Students Whom IBM Wants to 'Friend'

This commentary is provoked by a puff piece from the Wall Street Journal, Aug. 1, 2011, which reads like a Press Release. I provide a bit of historical context, much of which is included in . . .


Chicago's Robin Steans in the running for conservative 'Reformiest' award

What a pathetic piece of crap. The ultra-conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute is going to pick what it calls the "reformiest" person in corporate school reform. One of those in the running is well known . . .


READER article exposed lack of transparency and accountability in Chicago charter schools

While many people in Chicago were trying to enjoy part of the summer, Ben Jarovsky and Mick Dumke at the Reader were busy gathering information under the Freedom of Information Act to tell the public . . .


Pennsylvania charter schools under investigation for cheating... Two of Pa's largest charters part of test score probe

[Editor's Note: The following article first ran on July 21, 2011, in the Notebook (Philadelphia) as 'Two of Pa.'s largest charters part of test score probe.' (Jul 21 2011, by Benjamin Herold, for the Notebook/NewsWorks) . . .


Our Gated Schools: New Orleans is the only city in the nation where neighborhood children do not have a right to attend any of their open-enrollment neighborhood schools

Raynard Sanders, Ed.D. is an educational consultant, researcher and radio host, his program The New Orleans Imperative is the only weekly radio show in New Orleans that focuses on public education, for more info please . . .


MEDIA WATCH: Ed Week continues preaching party line on corporate school reform, low balls estimate of SOS rally and march to comfort Arne Duncan

When Education Week made its debut more than 20 years ago, I was one of the first to subscribe to what promised it would become "American Education's Newspaper of Record." Since then, I've maintained my . . .


Save our Schools March & Rally: Parents speak out against standardized tests in Greeley Colorado one week before national march in Washington, D.C.

This march in Greeley, Colorado, reported in the local news story below, was one of many that went on throughout the country this summer with the hopes of reducing the amount of high-stakes testing in . . .


Does Chicago's 'Mayor Transparency' even know how much financial fog is oozing out of his public schools team? CPS Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard burying huge cost increases in hidden budget documents... 'Office of Autonomy' to increase 'Contractual Services' from $97,987 to $3,049,879!

Not only has the newly appointed Chicago Board of Education and the administration of Jean-Claude Brizard refused to make the Proposed Budget for the 2011 - 2012 school year available to the public in book . . .


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 . . .


SOS rings out across the USA... Floridians Join The Grass-Roots March Against A Corporate Takeover Of America’s Schoolchildren Continues

Like the characters in the film “Close Encounters of A Third Kind” who felt an unexplained calling to a distant destination of historic significance, I was one of perhaps 60 or more Floridians who felt . . .


CPS budget hearings begin August 10 as Board's inaccuracies grow

The annual hearings on the Proposed Budget 2011 - 2012 for Chicago's public schools are scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 10, 2011, at Lane Technical High School, the address of which . . .


Budget hearings begin at Lane Tech on August 10

Despite major errors in the information provided by the Chicago Board of Education to the public and an unprecedented decision by Chicago Public Schools officials not to provide the public with copies of the Proposed . . .


NOTICE: Substance's Web Editions will be 'Gone Fishing' until August 19

And as we go to meditate on the joys and pleasures of the 21st Century, we're reminded of something George once taught our students back in the 20th Century, before he was blacklisted by CPS . . .


West Side rejects CPS budget at tumultuous August 11 hearing at Westinghouse High School

Before the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) moderator could finish giving the audience her quick overview of the night’s schedule and public participation procedures, a woman burst in the back door to the Westinghouse High School . . .


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 . . .


Chicago teacher pension trustees vote to keep teacher trustee seat 'open' after Rodriguez finally vacates seat as teacher trustee following June 30 retirement

The August 18, 2011, meeting of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (CTPF) lasted nearly six hours. There were many important economic issues that were confronted during the lengthy discussions and presentations. But before either the . . .


Chicago school facilities bill becomes law... Struggle now to force Chicago Board of Education to follow the law in school building and repair decisions

Surrounded by political leaders, community organizations, parents, students, and union representatives who worked for nearly three years to create a law telling Chicago's public school officials how to make decisions on school closings, consolidations, repairs, . . .


CTU offers advice for fired teachers and paraprofessionals

Helping fired Chicago Public School faculty and staff members fight for their jobs and rebuild their lives, the Chicago Teachers Union hosted a meeting for them at union headquarters on Thursday, August 18, 2011. Approximately . . .


Is the Chicago Board of Education already in violation of the new Chicago School Facilities law? Complete text of the new law

The facilities law signed by Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois on August 20, 2011, has a number of provisions, most of which go into effect by January 1, 2012, and are very specific about how . . .


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 . . .


DO NOT HIRE hearing cancelled by CPS

Suppose you were invited to a hearing and were told not to come? In effect, that is precisely what the Chicago Public Schools did to no fewer than 17 teachers who had been placed on . . .


CORE convention focuses on organizing for the fights ahead

Is CORE — the Caucus of Rank-and-file Educators — still the radical, fighting wing of the Chicago Teachers Union? At the third annual CORE convention, held on August 19 and August 20, 2011 in Chicago, . . .


'Reinvention' adds expensive new posts... Board approves controversial budget, increases bureaucracy after proclaiming it's reducing bureaucracy...

Less than three weeks after the Chicago Board of Education produced the most controversial Proposed Budget in its history and refused to provide the public with actual copies of the budget for review prior to . . .


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 — . . .


Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Public Schools sponsor Christian breakfast to promote CPS push for longer school day and year in Chicago



Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel continued his push to force Chicago public school teachers to work longer hours without receiving prevailing pay at a breakfast media event with more than . . .


Chicago Board of Education meeting held on August 24, 2011 approves major policy changes, controversial $5.9 billion budget for 2011 - 2012 school year

On Wednesday, August 24, 2011, at the regular monthly meeting of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Board of Education (BOE), at 125 S. Clark Street, in the Board chambers on the fifth floor, which was . . .


Candlelight Rally and Press Conference on 6th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina will Highlight the Failed Policies and Broken Promises in New Orleans



Two events are planned to honor New Orleans school employees and bring attention to the "Louisiana Recovery District's" damage to New Orleans schools. By now, most people concerned about . . .


Divide, Conquer, and Blame... When is a 'raise' not really a raise? When Rahm Emanuel and Jean-Claude Brizard invent it

[Substance staff introduction by Jim Cavallero. Much of the media focus during the last full week of August before the opening of the regular 2011 - 2012 school year in Chicago was established, once again, . . .


Emanuel continues teacher bashing, false claims about schools during TIF reform media event

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel took time out from a media event to promote his TIF reform to take another shot at the 30,000-member Chicago Teachers Union at noon on August 29, 2011, when he stated . . .


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 . . .


Teachers at Skinner North and Melody showed 'courage' in voting for longer school day, Chicago's mayor proclaims... Emanuel, Brizard continue 'Management by Publicity Stunt' announcing supposed contract 'waivers' on a Friday afternoon before a long holiday weekend

Officers of the Chicago Teachers Union reacted with fury on the Friday before the Labor Day weekend began, upon learning that Jean-Claude Brizard, the controversial Chief Executive Officer of Chicago's public schools, had announced by . . .


AFT REPORTS: Chicago played major role in 2012

By the final day of the convention of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the main news reports outside the convention told the story of the speech by Vice President Joe Biden and the warm . . .


Another side to the SOS rally and march... Sex, Lies, and SOS

For all the music and praise of teachers, the SOS march had a more troubling side. We all know that Superman isn't going to rescue public schoolchildren. But let's face it: Neither is Action Hero . . .


Brizard leading budget disinformation campaign? August 4, 2011, came and went without CPS distributing a Proposed Budget for 2011 - 2012

Nine days after he presented the seven-member Chicago Board of Education with the most bizarre organization plan in Chicago history (at the July 27, 2011 Board meeting), Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard . . .


Chicago Board of Education refuses to publish proposed budget in print for public review... First time in history CPS budget hearings will be held without budget being available to millions of people

Chicago Public Schools officials announced on the morning of August 5, 2011, that the Chicago Board of Education will not publish any print editions of the "Proposed Budget for 2011 - 2012", and that only . . .


PBC presents proposed plan of new Jones high school building

Nearly 50 people attended a presentation by the Public Buildings Commission of Chicago (PBC) to see proposed floorplans of the new William Jones College Preperatory Academy at the monthly Brown Bag Lunch hosted by Friends . . .


The Broad Leadership Academy is already screwing up Chicago's public schools under Brizard's bizarre version of an 'organization' chart... Is Brizard's bizarre reorganization plan increasing dropouts without the boss even realizing it?

It's been two weeks since WBEZ ran a story about a student who was allegedly pushed out of "Chicago Academy High School" (the AUSL main location) and having trouble getting into an alternative setting in . . .


MEDIA WATCH: All you need to 'close the achievement gap' are a bunch of upper middle class white boys and girls, a few weeks of TFA 'Boot Camp', and lots of belief... Teach for America gets plugs from Fox news, Jean-Claude Brizard and CPS, while displaced veteran teachers are dumped

The promotion of shake-and-bake amateur teachers in Chicago continued in August 2011, as Fox News's Robin Robinson teamed up with Teach for America to promote the latest group of amateur teachers who have been trained . . .


Emanuel, Brizard choose St. Sabina's parochial school as location to promote the opening of Chicago's public schools

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard ignored hundreds of Chicago public schools and chose St. Sabina's church and school for the location of a major media event on . . .


SOS March on Washington gives thousands a chance to shout the truth

After years of suffering test-based education policies that include school closings, job losses, student pressure and grade retention over test scores and loss of valuable education opportunities — teachers, parents, and students from throughout the . . .


John Kuhn's rousing speech at SOS march

This is a must-watch, must-read speech by John Kuhn, superintendent of Perrin-Whitt School District in Texas, delivered at the SOS March and National Call To Action on July 30, 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFgrt95OD0U

Let me . . .


SOS March on Washington a major step forward in the resistance to high-stakes testing and the defense of true public schools and teachers in the USA

The rally, on one of the hottest days in one of the hottest cities in the USA, took place before the march. Dozens of speakers gave moving speeches to the Save Our Schools (SOS) march . . .


Jon Stewart's video address to SOS marchers

Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show whose mom was a long-time teacher, encouraged SOS marchers, especially teachers, via a videotaped address. The following is excerpted from a video at the Parents Across America website. . . .


Diane Ravitch: This is a historic day

Diane Ravith's terrific speech to the SOS March was excerpted on the Parents Across America website. The video of her speech is also posted at the Parents Across America website.

http://parentsacrossamerica.org/2011/07/diane-ravitchs-speech-at-the-sos-march-we-shall-prevail/

. . .


Darling-Hammond: The mess we are in

Darling-Hammond addressed the SOS Rally. She directs the Stanford University Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and was founding director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. A former president of the American . . .


Parents Across America's Rita Stolnit: "Why waste money on a failed policy"


Rita Solnit is the co-founder of Parents Across America, and one of the organizers of the SOS Conference and March. A video of her speech at the SOS march may be found at the
. . .


SOS conference adds ideas to planning for the July 30, 2011 SOS march

The two-day conference held at American University in Washington, D.C. prepared many of the people who were in town for the hot but spirited July 30 SOS march for the planning that was to come . . .


July 27, 2011 Chicago Board of Education meeting hears from angry teachers, approves massive overhaul of CPS administrative structure (once again, again)

[Editor's Note: The following article was originally published at substancenews.net on July 28, 2011 and is republished here for our readers who missed it at the end of our July Home Page. An analysis of . . .


Like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, his ideological counterpart, Chicago's mayor is attacking public worker unions... Public education workers have become the new mayor's scapegoat... Rahm Emanuel continues his two Big Lies about Chicago teachers and school workers during Town Hall Meeting

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel continued his attack on public school teacher unions — and other unions representing Chicago city workers — during his second "Town Hall Meeting" on the City of Chicago's budget by repeating . . .


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.

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