Board will continue to vote for massive privatization, charterization and nonsense like the 'Department of Innovation and Incubation'... cynically keeping its most monumental decisions secret from the public....

When the people of Chicago woke up on December 19, 2012, they didn't realize that they were about to create the first "Office of Innovation and Incubation" in the history of American public education. Nor did they realize that Chicago was hiring a guy who lived outside Chicago at an annual salary of $165,000 to become "Chief Officer of Innovation and Incubation." Nor was it known that the people of Chicago would pay Jack Elsey, the incoming "Incubation" officer, a total of $7,500 in "relocation" money.

The first part of the "Cover Up Two-Step" done at every Board meeting is the vote to go into Closed Session. By law, certain matters have to be discussed in secret first, and there are good reasons for the Board to do so. Delicate personnel questions and economic matters that might lead to profits for some people (land sales) are examples. But since Rahm Emanuel's Board took over, there is a Closed Session every meeting, and then the Board votes (see below) to cover up the minutes of those meetings -- forever.The reason was that the Office of Innovation and Incubation was not on the public agenda of the Chicago Board of Education. Like dozens of such actions during the past several years, the Board Report creating the office and hiring the officer was secret from the public. Because of the provisions of the Open Meetings Act, David Vitale, Jesse Ruiz and the other members of the Board were allowed to keep the hiring of Elsey and the creation of that department a secret from the public. And since, they have voted, month after month, to keep secret from the public any discussion they might have had during their secret sessions.

With the final meeting of the Chicago Board of Education for four members of the Board scheduled for June 24, 2015, the Board's agenda will be published for the public on Monday, June 22, 2015, 48 hours prior to the meeting, as required by the Illinois Open Meetings Act. But the agenda, as usual, will be a lie, because many of the most expensive and important actions the Board will be taking will be deliberately kept off the agenda by virtue of the "Closed Meeting" exceptions under the Open Meetings Act.

And so, as they have done for more than 45 meetings since they were put on the Board by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in May and June 2011, Henry Bienen, Mahalia Hines, David Vitale, Jesse Ruiz and others will go into executive session. Then they will come out and without discussion or debate vote in favor of a large number of actions that nobody knew about except the Board members.

Board member Henry Bienen specialized in pretentious displays of pseudo-erudition. At just about every meeting he attended (not all of them saw him present), Beinen lectured the public on how he and his fellow Board members knew the "true facts" (as opposed to other facts) about the world. Bienen rarely engaged in a dialogue with critics, but hid behind a kind of executive privilege that allowed him to comment on speakers' statements while David Vitale told critics, basically, to sit down and shut up. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. And within ten minutes, it will all be over, and the Board will once again have spent millions of dollars without anyone knowing why.


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