BOARDWATCH: Board member Andrea Zopp criticizes Board supporters for 'gaming the system'?

At the end of the contentious public session of the Chicago Board of Education's April 23, 2014 meeting, and before the five Board members present went into closed session, the Board members, as usual, repeated their carefully scripted lines designed to be foreplay for the votes the Board was about to do against the wishes of the majority of Chicago's people.

Board member Andrea Zopp (above, left rear) was critical of some parents whom she accused of "gaming the system" during the public participation at the April 23, 2014 meeting of the Board. It was unclear whether Zopp was referring to the speaker who spoke in favor of Ames under the name of someone else, or the Board's recently hired "Network 10 Network Chief" who sat in the meeting without wearing her Board ID. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. One of the more surprising comments came from Board member Andrea Zopp, a wealthy attorney who is currently CEO of the Chicago Urban League. Generally, Zopp has tried to cover her obsequious support for the privatization and union busting policies of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, apparently in order to try to restore her exhausted credibility in Chicago's Black Community. But instead of simply talking about how the "facts" were on the side of what she was about to vote to do, Zopp took a side turn to criticize some of those who attended the Board meeting for, according to Zopp, being "dishonest" and "trying to game the system."

Was Zopp referring to the preacher who took the podium and spoke in support of the militarization of Ames Middle School even though she was not signed up to speak?

Or was Zopp talking about the high-ranking CPS official (hired only a year ago from Ohio), who was sitting in the rear of the meeting without wearing her CPS identification cared, as required by CPS rules?

Or was Zopp referring to the small legion of "parents" who marched before the Board to sing the praises of "turnaround" and the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL), as the script has had them doing for ten years now? At every Board meeting when "turnaround" is on the agenda, the Board members can be confident that a carefully rehearsed groups of satisfied AUSL parents will speak, ignoring the fact that during the early years of so-called "turnaround" a school gets hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional funding, and the fact that AUSL has always (like charter schools) forced out the "bad" students during its first year, a process that guarantees that numbers go "up" (or, as Zopp put it, were "trending up") for a short time.

Above, "Joline Lozano", who was listed as Speaker Number 25 on the CPS Public Speakers list, was not only allowed to speak to the Board, but was given extra time to go on in support of the Marine Military Academy at Ames. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Probably not, but those words were Zopp's. So it is possible that "Joline Lozano", who was really Emma Lozano, was the speaker Zopp called out (too late) for "gaming the system."

And perhaps it was also true that Zopp was talking about Rhonda Saegert, who sat through the public participation as if she were just another interested citizen, without wearing the ID that would have revealed her as being the "Network Chief" for Zopp's "Network 10."

Perhaps the public will one day know. Perhaps one of Zopp's former colleagues will get to cross examine here about the things she called "true facts" (the kind the Board members truly and factually possess, according to Zopp and the others) and about how carefully she and her fellow Board members script their comments as the meeting ends and after most of those they are commenting about have had to leave the building to catch the bus back home.

That day is still to come. Meanwhile, the mystery about who was "gaming" which system remains.


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