Let's see if the average reporter knows the difference between 'People' and 'Folks' and can begin to demand to know why Hollywood, the White House, and City Hall Chicago keep trying to force complex stories into a simplistic straight jacket that ignores the reality as simplistically as possible...

The September 2009 murder of Fenger High School student Derrion Albert caused international news, as a reminder that Chicago's gang warfares could often prove fatal. Above, the Derrion Albert memorial site, on 111th St. where he was beaten to death, was a half mile from the school he had attended. Yet media and subsequent "history" told the story as if Albert's murder was because of Fenger High School. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt, September 2009. By Thanksgiving Day 2015, Chicago was once again in the international news because a black young man was murdered and the usual list of pontificators was assembling to once again divert the public attention from the facts. Rahm Emanuel and his spin masters from Hollywood to the White House were working overtime to try and rewrite history, measuring the success of their talking points by some well-finances scale they've often used successfully. The Party Line was no different from the leaps and dives practices in the totalitarian nations during the late 1930s into the early 1940s...

But across the world, the video showing the murder of Laquan McDonald was shocking.

And once again, "Chicago" became a synonym for brutal violence.

But which Chicago -- and when?

Even though many high school graduates and college students have been stripped of their right to learn the facts of history, anyone who wants to put the 2015 murder of Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer must understand at least some of the complex relationship between the drug gangs of Chicago and everything else in Chicago's history. The relationship has been around since Fred Roti became alderman of the First Ward and continues to the mediagenic days of the City Council Black Caucus in 2015.

Was it the Chicago of Al Capone, during the days when Italian gangsters fought to the death against the Irish, Jewish and German gangs -- eventually establishing hegemony over the "Mafia" in Chicago. And eventually establishing Mafia control over the First Ward Regular Democratic Organization, whose most famous member was First Ward Alderman (at the time)...

Or was the gangster plague in Chicago the explosion of the black and "Mexican" (that meant in those days all "Latinos," even those whose first language was Portuguese. By the 1960s, which most Americans were supposed to believe was in the middle of "Haight Ashbury" and "Flower Power", the Black P. Stones (later, the "El Rukns") had allied with the Latin Kings and taken over the Illinois prisons from the inside. After all, every year Illinois was doing austerity, cutting public services, privatizing public services (and laying off their workers). So by 1970, everyone in Illinois knew that if you were going to do the crime, and the time, you needed friends in places like Stateville and Joliet. Friends came from diring under the five or the six.

The murder of Derrion Albert took place on September 24, 2009 a half mile north and east of Fenger High School on Chicago's South Side. Derrion Albert was caught in a brawl between two factions of students at Fenger some of whom also lived in that community. The main reason for the trouble, however, came from a failure of Chicago's central officer to recognize that in Chicago, "borders" form and can become militarily strong. , Those who were fighting at Fenger in September 2009 came from the community around Fenger (part of which is called "The Ville") and the Altgeld Gardens public housing projects (which some called simply "the Gardens" with cynical irony). Derrion Albert was beaten to death. Silvonus Shannon, Eric Carson, Eugene Riley, and Eugene Bailey were charged with first-degree murder, but the charges were later dropped against Bailey.


November 27, 2015 at 8:46 AM

By: Rod Estvan

A victory against special education cuts

Thanks to all of you who have supported the efforts of CPS parents, former CPS special education students, CPS principals, the CTU members, SEIU members, and our friends in the special education advocacy community who opposed the cuts imposed by CPS on special education programs. I give a special thanks to Substance which covered the story of these cuts from the beginning. A press release issued late Wednesday by CPS indicates they have rescinded all the cuts and increased positions. There was an article in the Chicago Tribune and Catalyst yesterday about this development. I will be looking more closely at the data when I return to Chicago on Monday. We know as always this fight is far from done and in particular CPS is lacking for services in nursing, child psychology, social work, longer term counseling, integrated OT and PT services and many other things. We also know that any gains made in this area are threatened by the layoffs of thousands come February, but for the moment let us all rejoice in the fact that some small level of truth emerged victorious as it relates to our most complex students with disabilities attending CPS schools.

November 27, 2015 at 11:05 AM

By: John Kugler

Lost Minutes

Good Work Rod and Access Living,

What do we do about all the service minutes that were lost due to these cuts? Should the OCR investigate? Problem is we may never know how many children did not receive services through the illicit action of CPS administrators.

Any ideas?

November 27, 2015 at 11:46 AM

By: Rod Estvan

Compensatory services

John I know both the CTU and SEIU are trying to determine on a school by school basis the denial of services due to the imposition of cuts. Ultimately it imay be a child by child determination relating to compensatory services based on progress that may have been lost.

But it could require in some cases due process litigation for the additional services. The reward in some cases may not be worth the cost of litigation to the families. It is hard to conceive of a class action case related to this. The US Dept of education office of Civil Rights would have the ability to order additional services on a larger scale rather than on an individual level, but it is a rather gun shy organization.

November 27, 2015 at 12:13 PM

By: George N. Schmidt

CPS sabotage of special ed services goes beyond recent cuts...

While we can all be hopeful that CTU and SEIU -- and all organizations that lobby for the disabled -- can force CPS to stop limiting or denying required services, the fact is that after years of getting away with these "deaths by a thousand cuts" CPS is no longer afraid of being caught, and when caught, they just continue to lie about it.

I was at every Board of Education meeting after Special Education Services became OODLSS. Up to that point, I thought the Kakfkaesque locutions coming out of CPS had to reach some kind of limits. Once Barbara Byrd Bennett (and corporate Chicago) had gotten away with the twin assaults of (a) installing Markey Winston on top of specialized services and (b) changing the name of the department to OODLSS everyone who was paying attention knew that all the bullshit they were spouting was -- at the "bottom line" -- designed to deprive children with disabilities of their rights. And that's what's been happening (although it was going on before "BBB" came to power, it became even worse after that odious year (2012).

We are going to reorganize Substance's reporting so that we can begin to report on every valid complaint we received from teachers, clinicians, parents and even kids about these atrocities. CPS has been hiding behind the smokescreen of "patient confidentiality" or "children's rights" in order to violate more of those rights than ever before.

Take just one ongoing example, that became even worse this school year --


Every day CPS officials are sabotaging substitute services across the city using a simple formula: teachers are told "there are no subs" while subs are told "Sorry, there is no work."

We've been documenting those lies for years, and can assure our readers that they have gotten worse -- far worse -- this school year. We will begin reporting how such lies play out in the lives of real teachers, principals and children.

I will be reporting these stories based on our attribution policies. And I will call out every specific lie, even it a family cannot afford to litigate each specific lie.

November 29, 2015 at 7:29 AM

By: Joyce Hutchens

James Bebley's New Job

Former CPS General Counsel, James Bebley, is now the current Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel for the Chicago Housing Authority. According to the CHA's website, he assumed that position on October 5, 2015, which was almost immediately after he left CPS.

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