The [Friday] Papers
"In 2009 the Whitney Young boys varsity basketball team had one of its best seasons, winning the Class 4A state title with a squad that included seven players who joined college programs," the Tribune reports.
"But the team wasn't even supposed to be in the playoffs, the Tribune has found. After its coach, Tyrone Slaughter, was found to have violated Chicago Public Schools recruiting rules, district regulations called for the team to be banned from the postseason, but officials failed to enforce that penalty.
"Slaughter received a six-game suspension and then went on to break recruiting rules again. In February he was suspended for 10 days by the Illinois High School Association after he held a team practice at a suburban middle school 23 miles from Young."
And he still has his job?
Yup, sports sure teaches character.
But this is my favorite part:
"In addition, the Tribune has learned that Joyce Kenner, the principal at Young, was found to have violated CPS policy when she admitted two basketball players in 2008 even though they did not go through the required process for selective enrollment at the magnet school. The students were on the championship team roster."
Let us go to the Beachwood vault to review:
February 25, 2008: "The youngest son of NBA legend Michael Jordan entered Whitney Young Magnet High last fall under a little-known loophole that gives principals of Chicago's elite-eight college prep schools wide-ranging discretion - on top of new powers they could get this week," the Sun-Times reports.
"Marcus Jordan was a junior-year transfer.
"That means he never had to sit through the freshman admission test that eighth-graders take for Chicago's college prep high schools. He was exempt from being judged by a mathematical formula involving tests, attendance and grades that is used by Young and seven other CPS college preps to decide freshmen admission.
"Instead, as a transfer, Marcus' fate was left up to the principal of Young, an academic and basketball powerhouse.
"'Transfers into selective-enrollment high schools are entirely principal discretion,' said CPS spokesman Michael Vaughn."
Whitney Young Principal Joyce Kenner put it this way: "[The Jordan family] has done a great deal for this city."
And this city has done a great deal for the Jordans. We made him rich and famous; rich and famous enough, in fact, to clout his kid into a magnet school.
August 25, 2009: Anthony Beale is now the second alderman to admit he made a phone call to the principal of Whitney Young to get his daughter into the school, the Sun-Times reports.
"You're talking about an A-minus student," Beale said.
Yes. But was this straight-A student left out of Walter Payton Prep because of a similar call?
It gets better.
"[Whitney Young Principal Joyce] Kenner said she had a 'personal relationship' with Beale, whom she knew as a baseball coach when her son was playing baseball. 'When he called me, it wasn't about him being a political figure,' Kenner said."
It was about her personal relationship with Beale.
I don't know which is worse.
Similarly, Kenner didn't know Ald. Ricardo Munoz as an alderman when he called her to get his daughter into her school. "She knew Munoz as the father of a boy her son played basketball with."
It gets better.
"I try not to be political at all,'' Kenner said. "If you ask me how many aldermen there are, I don't even know."
The principal of Whitney Young doesn't know how many aldermen there are?
March 23, 2010: "In 2008, former U.S. Sen. Braun sought help for two students, though she said Monday she does not recall placing a call to Duncan's office. Pickens said she called him, seeking help getting a student into Whitney Young Magnet High School, and he asked Principal Joyce Kenner to call the former senator back.
"Braun said she called Kenner to inquire after one child's mother told her the student's application had been 'lost in a computer glitch.' Braun said Kenner told her: 'I'll take care of it.'"
"The child got into Whitney Young, despite a below-average admission score."
Also the result of a "computer glitch."
"This process is not pure, and everyone knows it," Braun said. "The process is a disaster, and quite frankly, I don't have a problem making a call. If the process were not as convoluted as it is, parents wouldn't be asking for help."
The Chicago Way: Game the process instead of fixing it.
"Kenner, who has testified under subpoena in the federal investigation, said the admissions problems are 'old news.'"
Old news to her, she knew about the [clout] list!
"'There is a new framework in place for principal discretion,' she said in her e-mail response. 'I think we have an opportunity to move on from this issue.'"
Her e-mail account refused to answer further questions.
"Burnett requested consideration of a student in 2008 whose test score did not get him into Whitney Young. The log suggests the principal offered the student future enrollment as a consolation and notes that Burnett 'was OK with that offer.'"
And now back to present day: "Kenner said she has not disciplined Slaughter following the recruiting violations. In her first public comments since the recent suspension, she said Slaughter and other coaches now need her permission to practice off of school premises.
"She defended him against what she said was unfair criticism.
"'Mr. Slaughter, in my opinion, is an upstanding coach who is trying to protect our program, and he does right by our children,' she told the Tribune last week."
And she still has her job?
Maybe it's time to teach Whitney Young's students a real lesson in accountability.
Postscript: "Kenner was not made available by CPS to address questions about selective enrollment."
If the principal of Whitney Young is incapable of answering questions about her enrollment practices, then she has no business being the principal of Whitney Young.
Then again, I think we've already figured that out.
This, CPS, is a teaching moment.
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Posted on March 25, 2011
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