BYRD BENNETT'S DUCT DYNASTY? DUCT TAPE advice in the official 'calendar' of the nation's third largest school system... Comments about ridiculous CPS calendar and hiring policy (

On the morning of December 20, 2013, Labor Beat has posted on You Tube the four-minute comment I made at the December 18, 2013 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education, and the URL for those who want to share it is: The video was taken by David Vance, and the Labor Beat version edited by Larry Duncan.

More and more of Chicago's real teachers are planning to speak forcefully at the Chicago Board of Privatization and the Destruction of Public Education in the months ahead. I had told the Board in October that I was going to report to them on their policy of only hiring executives and six-figure people from outside of Chicago -- and usually from outside Illinois. Originally, I had prepared my December 18 remarks about the Board's new policy of only hiring executives from outside Chicago and Illinois for Chicago public schools positions. Although the Board publishes a new policy almost every day to hold teachers and principals "accountable" (to a "Chief Accountability Officer" imported to Chicago from Tennessee), the policies the Board follows to hire its top executives is secret. No one can locate such a policy on the CPS website.

But confronted with other realities, an additional topic had to be discussed, too, for the holidays in 2013.

As I say in the comments, the list would as of now take ten minutes to read, and it will be published here at on Christmas Eve.

Labor Beat always can use holiday support.

Substance editor George N. Schmidt holding up the Chicago Public Schools 2013 - 2014 "Calendar". The document, although produced in the name of the nation's third largest school system, is an advertisement for the Peoples Gas corporation. Since Rahm Emanuel took office in May 2011, the Board of Education of the City of Chicago has stopped publishing its "Directory of Schools", Schmidt charged, because the objective of Rahm Emanuel's administration and school board is the destruction of the public schools, and the Board members do not want a printed version of the evidence. It is easier to DELETE information from the CPS website, which the Board has been doing assiduously. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.But I chose to begin my remarks by contrasting the two calendars CPS has produced during the last eight years. I began with the 2007 - 2008 "Calendar and School Directory" that was distributed in more than half a million copies by former CEO Arne Duncan in August and September 2007. That calendar included a directory of all the city's public schools -- including charter schools.

By contrast, the current iteration of the same document, called the "Calendar" only, does not include the directory of the city's schools. The reason, as I charge in my comments, is that the current Board of Education, empowered beginning in May 2011 by newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel, is a Board of Privatization and the Destruction of Public Education. Therefore, the Board does not want a written record of anything it's doing -- especially a record of the city's public schools -- since the current Board is destroying those schools as fast as possible (and it's easier to DELETE incriminating evidence from the woeful CPS website than to distribute it in print).

I read from the current calendar's July 2014 page, which includes advice from Peoples Gas, and then information about how to use DUCT TAPE.

Whenever real teachers begin a month, we usually do something with children around a theme. The themes may be pre-selected (like "Black History Month") or by looking at some relevant historical points from that month. For some families (like mine), December is not only the Winter holidays, but the anniversary of my father's time, during World War II in the ETO, on the "southern shoulder of the Bulge." We discussed it more than once, in more and more detail as he got further and farther from the experiences that began on December 16, 1944.

July for any American is a particularly important month. Those who know and care about U.S. history know that the Fourth of July is not only "Independence Day" but also the anniversary of the victories of the Union Armies (and the "Battle Cry of Freedom") at two heretofore unknown places, Gettysburg and Vicksburg. Every American knows at least the importance to freedom and democracy embodied in the single word "Gettysburg."

But not those who created the calendar for the nation's third largest school system.

The photograph with the July 2014 month in the official CPS calendar is accompanied by the following words: "A Peoples Gas employee helps a student with her homework as part of the company's partnership with Chicago Youth Programs."

But the even more interesting print comes with the monthly tip from the corporation:

"JULY ENERGY SAVER. Be A Duct Doctor -- Seal duct seams and connections in your attic, crawl space, basement and garage with mastic duct sealant or metal backed tape, then use duct insulation to keep ducts warm in winter and cool in summer..."

Three of the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel were photographed during the remarks by George N. Schmidt. All of them have voted during the unanimous Board votes to hire only out-of-town executives, and to pay them "relocation expenses." They then voted to cover up the discussions of their "personnel" actions (which are discussed during executive sessions) by voting every three months to keep the minutes of the closed sessions secret. Those above are Henry Bienen (former President of Northwestern University), Mahalia Hines (retired principal of John Hope High School) and Jesse Ruiz (a millionaire corporate lawyer). Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt. I don't believe there is any comedy crew in the USA that would have thought that America's third largest school system would publish an official document that thought that for an entire month the most important information is could provide would be about the use of DUCT TAPE.


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