Vitale, Ruiz cynically strangle public participation as Board hosts monthly meeting at Brooks High School... CPS leaders help charter school touts orchestrate monthly testimonials while ignoring growing scandals at virtually all of the city's charters and charter 'networks'...

Urban Prep charter schools chieftain Tim King (above, licking lips) is being paid $220,000 per year, more than any CPS official except the "Chief Executive Officer," despite the fact that Urban Prep engages in ruthless and illegal union busting and routinely forces out students who refuse to follow the rules of Tim King's version of public education. Above, King stood with Urban Prep supporters during the May 2015 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The slow, hypocritical and cynical strangulation of public participation at the monthly meetings of the Chicago Board of Education by the Board's chieftains, President David Vitale and Vice President (currently "Interim CEO") Jesse Ruiz, will be on full display when the Board begins its monthly meeting on June 24, 2014 at Brooks High School on the city's far South Side. Although the packing of the meeting's public participation will not be clear until the official "speakers" list is distributed at the 4:30 p.m. meeting, the packing process is already well knows.

Ruiz and Vitale ruled more than a year ago that only (ONLY) 60 people would be allowed to sign up to speak at Board meetings, not matter how many people wished to speak. Although in the past there have been as many as 100 speakers signed up (and as few as 30), Vitale used the kind of corporate "reform" thinking that has led to the current financial and educational crises in Chicago: Each speaker is entitled to two minutes, and the Board has edicted that only two hours will be allowed for public participation, no matter what the issues or how many people wish to speak. But when more than a dozen people pack the sign-in procedures (which is controlled by the Board's computers) to one charter school, as has been happening at previous Board meetings, the result is that fewer than 20 people actually speak, and the "public" is limited to those who are cheerleading for the city's privatization programs, most notably but not exclusively the ever-expanding charters.

Hence, at the May 2015 Board meeting, 19 people were signed up to speak on behalf of the controversial Urban Prep charter schools, four were finally permitted to speak, the group was permitted, in violation of Vitale's usual practice, to chant loudly, and about 15 possible speakers were denied the right to speak on public issues at a public meeting.

The sign in for the June 24 meeting began at 8:00 on June 15 and was locked up by 8:08 a.m. When the Board meets tonight (June 24), the public will get to see which privatization fans have once again packed the meeting. And Vitale and Ruiz will sit in the front with their usual sanctimonious grins continuing to push the agenda that has brought the nation's third largest school system to a major financial and ethical crisis.


June 24, 2015 at 10:08 AM

By: Ed Hershey

Urban Prep Union Massacre

I hope somebody at the Board meeting is able to point out that Urban Prep has fired a number of teachers for union activity, immediately in the wake of those teachers winning unionization.

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