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The [Tuesday] Papers

Actually, I can believe there isn't a single document in existence about the Emanuel administration's decision to turn Clemente High School into a wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate program.

My impression was that after a study released in March found the city's IB programs to be unusually successful, the mayor went off willy-nilly, as he is wont to do, and shouted something like "Why the fuck haven't we turned all our schools into IB schools then?! Let's fucking make them all IB schools! Fuck!"

Of course, there are several reasons why you can't do that, including the fact that only a select number of students are able to complete such a rigorous and time-consuming program as well as the fact that IB schools are expensive to create and maintain. They aren't one-size-fits-all.

And yet:

"Just one day after a University of Chicago study lauded a constellation of International Baccalaureate programs located in struggling neighborhood high schools, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday the city will open five more of the IB programs in high schools across the city," WBEZ reported last spring.

"And he said Chicago will start five stand-alone International Baccalaureate high schools, one in every region of the city. All 10 new programs will open in fall 2013."

So yes, I can believe that there isn't a single piece of paper about the decision to transform Clemente or any other school into an IB program, though if Rahm's phones were tapped there would be audio of him telling Jean-Claude Fucking Brizard to get on the goddamn case. I don't think there was a decision-making process.

There must be, however, documents existing since Rahm screamed in everybody's ear that lay out just how the transformation will occur. Or is Rahm and his CPS cronies willing to let us believe they are remaking a Chicago high school strictly out of their unFOIAable heads?

*

Matt Farmer's experience also demonstrates the utter disaster that the AG's office and its public access counselor has become. I've experienced firsthand how easy it is for any government agency to utterly make shit up and get a pass from Lisa Madigan's crew. Memo to Madigan: Fix it.

*

From a Facebook posting by union activist Kenzo Shibata:

My hipster wannabe alderman blogged about Clemente and took credit for the new program that led to dozens of firings. Well, at least he likes Arcade Fire, right guys?

That would be Chick-fil-Moreno. The blog post would be this one. Read the comments.

*

Memo to Rahm: Impatience isn't a virtue, it's just fascist and immature. Maybe if you went through an IB program yourself you would have learned that.

Justice High
"Students at a high school in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood were being taught English by temporary teachers Monday," Becky Vevea reports for WBEZ.

"That's because Chicago public school officials let two other teachers go for 'economic reasons' last week."

There's clearly more to this story than we know so far. The benefit of the doubt does not go to CPS.

"[CPS spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler] would not elaborate on why Hogan and her colleague were laid off, other than to say the new principal is looking for two teachers with 'strategic reading' certifications.

"She said the 'strategic reading' certification was deemed necessary by the new principal, who has been at the school since August 6."

Good timing! That's like the Bears suddenly demanding strategic blocking certification from their offensive line and dismissing two starters with the opener two weeks away.

"Ziegler said 12 percent of the students met or exceeded state standards in reading on the Prairie State Achievement Exam last year. But that number is from 2010-2011 data. The most recently released results show that 21 percent of students at Social Justice met or exceeded state standards in reading."

Nice try!

"Since the new principal came in, students and parents have said the school is in turmoil. Students walked out of class two weeks ago protesting cuts to advanced classes and the firing of two attendance clerks. At a raucous community forum last week, upset parents and students asked the new principal and administrative staff from central office why they were making the changes."

I'd suggest a FOIA request to figure out why CPS is doing what it's doing, but they apparently don't write anything down. That wouldn't be strategic.

Brief Interlude
"Five hundred Chicago Public Schools students at five high schools will receive free CTA rides to school, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today," the Tribune reports.

Now that's a good idea. What am I missing?

*

"Emanuel also announced today that all CPS students will have a free ride on CTA buses and trains on Sept. 4, the first day of the school year for most students. The roughly $150,000 tab is being picked up by Sun-Times Media, the parent company of the Chicago Sun-Times. The media company has signed on for a three-year sponsorship of the first day of school program."

Now that's a bad idea. A news organization should never partner with the government they cover - or any government. Even for a good cause. I hope the paper's reporters have free rein to investigate how the program is executed and how the money is handled.

CTA Follies
"CTA officials are responding decisively to commuters who intensely dislike the center-facing seating on the transit agency's $1.14 billion rail cars and want it changed," Jon Hilkevitch reports for the Tribune.

"The answer: You're stuck with it for the next 40 years."

Or for about half as long as the city's parking meters lease.

*

Even CTA officials know in their hearts the new configuration is wrong.

"[CTA president Forrest] Claypool, who joined the CTA as part of the Emanuel administration last year, did not select or approve the center-facing seating, and he did not say whether he would have chosen that design if it were up to him.

"'The decisions for the 5000 Series were made nearly 10 years ago, based on extensive engineering and design review,' Claypool said. 'Without doing the same kind of research and analysis they did 10 years ago, we don't know what factors would guide a decision today.'"

But here's the key:

"The high-capacity cars, which can hold up to about 120 total passengers, are inconsistent with the CTA's current philosophy of 'de-crowding' trains, with a goal of carrying only 70 to 75 people per car."

Wow. The old regime thought the answer to service problems was to cram more people on each car. Riders don't want more people on each car. They just want enough cars coming as quickly as possible so they don't have to wait forever to get to where they need to be - especially in inclement weather. Everything else the CTA does is details, but they seem to always work around the margins instead of addressing their longstanding core issues.

Good Times In Tampa
GOP Convention Notebook.

The Cub Factor
Benefit Of The Doubt Rescinded.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: De-crowd your mind.




Permalink

Posted on August 28, 2012


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