Zombie policy of 'turnaround' returns for tenth year... April 23, 2014 Chicago Board meeting to feature latest scripting of 'turnaround', additional millions of dollars to AUSL despite a decade of AUSL failures and racism... 'Reconstitution' is among the zombies of corporate school reform policy

Although zombies have only become a feature of popular culture during the past few years, the Chicago Board of Education has been attacking public schools using what can only be characterized as a "zombie school" policy which is legally the failed policy of "reconstitution" but which in Chicago corporate jargon becomes "school turnaround." The agenda for the April 23, 2014 Board of Education meeting shows the cynical reality in the form of the legal documents, called Board Reports, which when approved by a vote of the seven Board members will seal the fate of three more Chicago schools (and result in the firing of all of their staffs), then provide additional millions of dollars on top of the millions that have already been provided to a private outfit called the "Academy for Urban School Leadership" (AUSL).

Despite a consistent record of nearly two decades of the failure of the policy of reconstitution of so-called "failing" schools, the Chicago Board of Education is poised on the morning of its April 23, 2014 meeting to double down on the policy. In Chicago, despite the history, the activity, using corporate jargon, is referred to as "turnaround." As early as 1996, less than two years after corporate school reform began, Chicago Public Schools began to impose "reconstitution" on schools labeled as "failing." By 2004, the activity of reconstitution continued, only under the corporate jargon of so-called "turnaround." And despite a full decade of proof that Chicago's various versions of "turnaround" have failed to keep the promises they made, on April 23, 2014 the Board will vote to do three more turnarounds, at a cost of hundreds of teacher and other school jobs and millions of dollars.

When the agenda for the April 23, 2014 Board meeting became available to the public on April 21, 2014, three Board Reports were set to be voted on condemning another three elementary schools as "failure." Following the Board's approval of those three Board Reports, the Board will approve three additional reports giving millions of dollars to the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL)) as they have for a decade.

The difference by 2014 is that the historical failure of so-called "turnaround" was clear. But that has been known for more than two decades, since "reconstitution" was examined and proved to be a failure by peer-reviewed studies. Instead of admitting that the policy was a failure by any measure it had claimed to be subjected, the policy continues.

Critics might be interested in noting that the Board of Education was going to vote to "reconstitute" the three condemned schools (Dvorak, Gresham, and McNair). Then the Board was going to vote to give a "consultant" contract to AUSL to do "turnaround" at the three schools:

The Board Reports condemning the three schools to oblivion through “turnaround” are Board Report 14-0423-EX11 (Dvorak), Board Report 14-0423-EX13 (Gresham), and Board Report 14-0423-EX15 (McNair). Note that each Board Report does not mention that word “turnaround” in the Board Report title. Note that nothing in the Board report titles mentions the word “turnaround.” That only comes in the follow up Board Reports.

The companion Board Report to each condemnation approves a contract with AUSL to take over the operations of the schools. These Board Reports are: Board Report 14-0423-EX12 (“Entering into a School Management Consulting Agreement with the Academy for Urban School Leadership to Provide Turnaround Services at Dvorak Technology Academy School); Board Report 14-0423-EX14 (“Entering into a School Management Consulting Agreement with the Academy for Urban School Leadership to Provide Turnaround Services at Walter A. Gresham Elementary School); Board Report 14-0423-EX16 (“Entering into a School Management Consulting Agreement with the Academy for Urban School Leadership to Provide Turnaround Services at Ronald E. McNair Elementary School);


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