When more than 4,000 CTU members booed Rahm and Arne... Chicago Teachers Union posts first of several videos outlining history of hypocrisy on corporate school reform

Less than one day after the massive rally and march that will precede the strike vote of the 30,000-member Chicago Teachers Union, the Chicago Teachers Union has released the first of several videos showing the facts about the recent history of corporate school reform in Chicago. The first video, less than two minutes in length, shows three of the last five presidents of the Chicago Teachers Union (Jacqueline Vaughn, Deborah Lynch, and Karen Lewis) speaking in opposition to the failed policies of corporate school reform in Chicago.

Arne Duncan and Rahm Emanuel had teamed up at the White House to promote the privatization and union busting program known as "Race to the Top" before Emanuel was dispatched back to Chicago to complete the job that Duncan had begun under former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Above, Duncan and Emanuel appeared on a panel at Chicago's Schurz High School on September 9, 2011. Later, the press conference for the event was upended when Emanuel was asked by Sun-Times reporter Rosalind Rossi about his comment to CTU President Karen Lewis that said "Fuck you, Lewis..." and began the concerted campaign by federal, state and local officials to undermine the Chicago Teachers Union and continued the massive privatization and charterization programs in Chicago that had begun during the years (2001 - 2008) that Duncan had been CEO of Chicago's schools. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The video also provides quotations from two mayors and from former schools Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan on the policy, pioneered in Chicago, of closing so-called "failing" schools. The URL for the video for those who cannot access a hotlink is:

The video demonstrates dramatically the failure of 20 years of corporate "school reform." It begins with a brief quotation, filmed in 1992, from former CTU President Jacqueline Vaughn (who died in January 1994). Vaughn notes that school reform seems to be "one step forward, two steps back..."

The narrative is brief, and the video was one of the first to draw enormous boos from the crowd of more than 4,000 inside the Auditorium Theatre on May 23, 2012, when Rahm Emanuel was depicted. Emanuel glibly talks about the need to make use of a "crisis" to ram through his corporate agenda. The sight of Emanuel on the big screen on May 23 drew the first and loudest round of boos from the more than 4,000 teachers inside the Auditorium Theatre that afternoon.

But the video also provides insight into the hypocrisy of Arne Duncan, who began the policy of closing schools in 2002 with his attack on Terrell, Williams and Dodge elementary schools, which he called "underpeforming." Ignoring the reality of poverty and segregation, Duncan claimed at the time, utilizing a teacher bashing adaptation of standardized test scores, that Williams, Dodge and Terrell had "failed." In fact, Duncan was able to get away with the circumlocution ("underperforming") partly because the Chicago corporate media cheered him on in that effort, labeling his first attack on inner city school serving the poorest African American children as heroic and revolutionary.

Two years later, the policy of closing segregated inner city public schools in Chicago became "Renaissance 2010," a massive privatization plan announced by Mayor Richard M. Daley before the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago in a July 2004 speech. The script for Daley's Renaissance 2010 speech had been provided a year earlier in a Civic Committee report called "Still Left Behind," which repeated the claim that all Chicago public schools had failed, ignoring the massive poverty and intense racial segregation in the nation's third largest city. "Still Left Behind" was authored by R. Eden Martin, who was at the time serving as education director at the Civic Committee and corporate secretary for Aon Insurance.

During the years after Daley announced "Renaissance 2010," Chicago pioneered the closing of urban schools, privatization through anti-union charter schools, and the so-called "turnaround model" which touts the successes of such groups as the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL). After Duncan became U.S. Secretary of Education, the Chicago models became the models for the national "Race to The Top" programs of the Obama administration.


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