PERSEPOLIS WATCH: What's their price? Now we know it... More than 600 Chicago public school principals and higher 'officers' fail the integrity test... 'Just following orders' on censorship of Persepolis is not a defense when history sits in judgment, as 'Nuremberg' long ago taught us all

What would the average Chicago education boss do to keep a job that pays between $130,000 and $151,000 per year? Among other things, more than 600 of these people would trample on the basic freedoms for which the public schools are supposedly standing. Throw in a bit of trampling on the U.S. Constitution and the surrender of their final grain of integrity by "just following orders" and the public now has a clean view of those who currently lead the schools and school system in the third largest city in the USA.

One poster showing the main case members from Stanley Kramer's 1961 movie, Judgment at Nuremberg. Is anyone surprised that in 2013 more than 600 Chicago Public Schools principals and two dozen "Chiefs of Schools" failed a basic democracy test when they received orders from "Chief Executive Officer" Barbara Byrd Bennett to rape the First Amendment, insult hundreds of thousands of literate Chicago teachers and students, and make Chicago -- again -- an international laughingstock and example of why American neoliberal corporate school reform is politically, economically and morally bankrupt -- before the entire world?

Yet that's what happened.

Three days after protests against the banning of Persepolis, Substance reporters have not been able to find one example of a Chicago principal or "Chief of Schools" who followed the basic "Nuremberg Principle" and said, publicly, "NO!" when Chief Executive Officer Barbara Byrd Bennett told them to remove Perspolis from their school libraries and classrooms.

As of March 17 -- not one.

And in the modern age, that's a statement that screams louder than all the Instructional Leadership Teams, Power Points, and other silly paraphernalia of the executives who have been picked to replace actual educational leaders during the second decade of mayoral control and corporate "reform" in the third largest school district in the USA. And one of the ironies is that this example of a major problem came on the weekend when Americans were marking the 45th anniversary of another example of the monstrous problems that arise when "data driven management" is completely in command and "officers" are only accountable to data sets like body counts. (See the end of this article).

If anything demands more attention following the "Persepolis" debacle from (so far) March 14 through March 17, 2013 in Chicago, it is that virtually all of the executives -- "officers" -- running the nation's third largest school system have failed one of the most basic tests of a democracy in the Post-World War II and Post-Holocaust world -- the obligation to refuse to follow an order that is unjust or worse.

Apparently, a generation of corporate modeling (the principal is now the "CEO of the school" instead of the principal teacher; "data" are now more important than human beings under PERA and other government edicts) has produced a generation of overpaid ethical imbeciles, such as have been produced in previous times in other place (including the USA).

Principals and school leaders in a democracy are supposed to defend freedom of speech and other Constitutional and human rights. In order for democracy to continue, the public institutions especially the public schools must promote, not suppress, democracy. Each new generation must learn democracy in the schools if not, where?

Since the onslaught of corporate "school reform", "data driven management", and the promulgation of the notion that public schools are better run by "Chief Executive Officers" and other "Officers" (like the military and the Fortune 500), critics, especially in Substance news service and for a quarter century in the pages of Substance, have been warning of the corruption of democracy that follows from such premises -- especially the notion that complex human realities can be reduced to childishly simple minded data sets and promulgated through presentations untethered to reality, like the average Power Point at a Chicago Board of Education meeting. The word has been spreading and growing over the past few years, despite the opposition and oppression that has been tried. The title of Diane Ravitch's book -- The Death and Life of the Great American School System -- says almost all about what is at stake.

If anything (again) demonstrates the moral bankruptcy of the past quarter century of test-based "accountability" and "reform," it is the stark fact that every single "Chief of Schools" in Chicago and every single public school principals was "just following orders" when the "Chief Executive Officer" ordered them to ban the graphic novel Persepolis.

By contrast, Chicago teachers, parents and students have lots of reasons to be proud. The word spread quickly, and the resistance was widespread and showed the sense of humor that goes with a free people defending democracy.

By the end of the day on March 15, Substance had been able to post three stories at once our reporters and editors had confirmed that CPS had banned the book. We confirmed that an order to ban the book (viz., remove it from all public school libraries and classrooms) had been issued by "Chief Executive Officer" Barbara Byrd Bennett to the "Chiefs of Schools." Then we checked and learned that Persepolis was actually removed at schools following visits or memos from Network officials (the list of who did all that is still being compiled). Substance is posting updates to the stories as more news becomes available. Substance missed getting pictures from the March 16 Lane Tech protest (which was reporter on the front page of the Chicago Tribune). Thanks to the Chicago Teachers Union, the world quickly had the pictures of the "read in" at Chicago's Social Justice High School, featuring dozens of copies of the Book Chicago Banned.

Beginning on March 17, 2013, an anniversary (see below) Substance will begin to publish comments from dozens of people. We were only able to confirm via three high schools on March 15 that the banning had taken place, between Wednesday and Thursday. The details will become important later because principals and Network "Chiefs of Schools" seem to be invoking the rejected defense to the crime tried at Nuremberg:

"I was only following orders..."

We would also like to know if one principal (or the CPAA) tried to stop this censorship before the teachers and students jumped out against it. So far, all we have was proof that our "Chiefs" and principals were being, pardon me for this but it fits, "Good Germans."

Already, some of the favorite quotes are from Kristine Mayle, the financial secretary at CTU. We learned from one news story that a student journalist at Lane Tech was in contact with the book's author within a few hours after the Lane Tech students began planning their protest.

And for some of us, in addition to justifying a showing of the classic film on this topic, "Judgement at Nuremberg", we want to remind all of our readers that the first major example of "data driven management" in the post-World War II (and post Nuremberg) era came in Vietnam, when instead of calculating victory in a war by winning against an enemy's army (where prisoners count as much as dead bodies), the USA, for the first time in its military history, decided to use a different kind of "data" to decide who "won" -- the "body count."

March 16, 2013, is the 45th anniversary of an event that became known as "My Lai" (pronounced for those now learning it as "history" -- ME LIE). Below is one collage of materials available on line.

My Lai Massacre Anniversary: 45 Years Later, LIFE Magazine Remembers American Atrocities In Vietnam Posted: 03/16/2013 2:37 pm EDT | Updated: 03/16/2013 3:55 pm EDT

Saturday marks the 45th anniversary of the My Lai massacre, the mass murder of hundreds of unarmed South Vietnamese civilians at the hands of U.S. soldiers. The incident marked a turning point in the Vietnam War, sparking worldwide outrage at the atrocities committed by American troops.

LIFE Magazine is commemorating the anniversary by republishing its original coverage of that fateful day in 1968. The Dec. 5, 1969 issue featured stunning photographs by Army photographer Ron Haeberle, whose images captured the stark horror of the acts committed in My Lai.

Check out this screenshot of the magazine's original page spread:

From LIFE:

The photographs from My Lai did not become public until more than a year after the massacre, when the complete story was finally published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer thanks to Whistle Blower GIs, one of whom took photographs. The Question and Answer poster (above) became one of the most powerful pieces depicting the bankruptcy of both the "body count" method of "data driven management" of the War in Vietnam and that type of functioning in general. Two simple syllables, My Lai (pronounced "me lie"), are today a reminder of what America lost in the jungles of Vietnam: namely, any claim to moral high ground in a war often defined by those back home as a battle between right and wrong. For the Vietnamese, meanwhile, the March 1968 massacre in the tiny village of My Lai is just one among numerous instances of rape, torture and murder committed by troops — Americans, South Vietnamese, Viet Cong and others — in the course of that long, divisive war.

John Lennon (1940 - 1980) and Yoko Ono pose on the steps of the Apple building in London, holding one of the posters that they distributed to the world's major cities as part of a peace campaign protesting against the Vietnam War. 'War Is Over, If You Want It'. (Photo by Frank Barratt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: Dr. Benjamin Spock (2nd-L), child-care expert, Martin Luther King (C), clergyman and black civil rights campaigner, Father Frederick Reed and Cleveland Robinson, unionist leader, lead 16 March 1967 in New York a huge pacifist rally protesting United States involvement in the Vietnam war. (AFP/Getty Images)

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN: (FILES) This 20 December, 1972, file photo shows actress Jane Fonda addressing the media in Stockholm during a press conference protesting United States military involvement in the Vietnam war. Speaking about her upcoming autobiography 'Jane Fonda: My Life So Far,' during a television interview, Fonda described her visit to a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun site during the Vietnam War as one of the biggest mistakes of her life, according to media reports 31 March, 2005. The interview is scheduled to be broadcast 03 April on the CBS network. (AFP/Getty Images)

FILE - In a May 4, 1970 file photo, Ohio National Guard moves in on rioting students at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Four persons were killed and eleven wounded when National Guardsmen opened fire. The U.S. Justice Department, citing "insurmountable legal and evidentiary barriers," won't reopen its investigation into the deadly 1970 shootings by Ohio National Guardsmen during a Vietnam War protest at Kent State University. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez discussed the obstacles in a letter to Alan Canfora, a wounded student who requested that the investigation be reopened. The Justice Department said Tuesday, April 24, 2012 it would not comment beyond the letter. (AP Photo, File)

HANOI, VIET NAM: US actress and peace activist Jane Fonda, holding a camera, visits 25 July 1972 a Hanoi site bombed by US airplanes. Fonda's trip to North Vietnam was part of her protest campaign against the US involvement in the Vietnam war. US bombers, including B-52 strato-fortresses, started to bomb the North Vietnamese capital and its port Haiphong in April 1972. (AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 6: A angry demonstrator is arrested by a policeman in Washington 6 May 1971 during a protest against the Vietnam war. // Une jeune manifestante semble furieuse lors de son arrestation par un policier, a Washington le 6 mai 1971, lors d'une manifestation contre l'intervention des Etats-Unis au Vietnam. (AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, : American youths waving Vietcong flag and portrait of Chinese leader Mao Zedong stage a rally 25 April 1971 in front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. protesting United States military involvement in the Vietnam war. (AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 26: An American youth waving a Vietcong flag sits on the head of a statue, in Washington 26 April 1971, during a protest against the Vietnam war. // Un jeune manifestant tenant un drapeau du vietcong est perchT sur la tOte d'une statue, a Washington le 26 avril 1971, pendant une manifestation contre la guerre du Vietnam. (AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 26: Veterans of the war in Vietnam take part in the protest by piling their medals, decorations and awards in a trash set down for the purpose in front of the Capitol during a demonstration against the Vietnam war in Washington 26 April 1971. A veteran places his army helmet on the pile of decorations. // Des anciens combattants de la guerre au Vietnam participant a une manifestation contre la guerre du Vietnam ont dTposT leurs decorations, mTdailles et insignes dans la dTcharge installTe a cet effet par les manifestants devant le Capitol a Washington le 26 avril 1971. L'un d'entre eux dTpose son casque sur la pile de dTcorations. (AFP/Getty Images)

Anti-war demonstrators march outside the White House, on November 15, 1969 in Washington DC, for the second Moratorium Day, to protest against the continuing war in Vietnam. Millions of Americans took part in peace initiatives across the United States during the Moratorium Day, which is believed to have been the largest demonstration in US history with an estimated two million people involved. (AFP/Getty Images)

Anti-war demonstrators march outside the White House, on November 15, 1969 in Washington DC, for the second Moratorium Day, to protest against the continuing war in Vietnam. Millions of Americans took part in peace initiatives across the United States during the Moratorium Day, which is believed to have been the largest demonstration in US history with an estimated two million people involved. (AFP/Getty Images)

Anti-war demonstrators fill the steps of the United States Capitol Building on the day of the National Moratorium, on October 15, 1969 in Washington DC, to protest against the continuing war in Vietnam. Millions of Americans took part in peace initiatives across the United States during the Moratorium Day, which is believed to have been the largest demonstration in US history with an estimated two million people involved. (AFP/Getty Images)


March 19, 2013 at 12:23 AM

By: John Whitfield

"One of the best"

One of the best comments I have ever seen posted by Jacqueline, and I pray that it is left up. I am going to send in my "freedom of speech insurance" today, and get me a bundle of Substance to sell, now that I am retired, and have the time to do so.

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