The [Tuesday] Papers
"Chicago Public Schools officials have identified 330 schools they say are underutilized, and the city is bracing for what could be a massive number of school closures," WBEZ reports.
"Chicago school officials and the head of an independent Commission on School Utilization have said enrollment problems are caused by a loss of 145,000 kids in the city between 2000 and 2010, an 18 percent decline.
"But actual declines in Chicago Public Schools enrollment have not been anywhere near that severe."
"School officials talk about 145,000 fewer kids in the city; actual enrollment decline in CPS since 2000 is 28,289."
See what the city did there?
Why would anyone trust anything coming out of CPS or City Hall anymore?
"At the same time Chicago Public Schools says it needs to close down schools, maybe as many as 100, it's planning to open brand new ones," WBEZ also reports.
"But why would the district open schools when it says it has too many already?"
"We also need to be strategic and ensure that we are doing everything we can to immediately expand access to high quality school options for parents in every community," said CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll.
CPS: Expanding access to high quality bullshit.
(See also: CPS's Bizarre Communications Triangle.)
What CPS is brazenly doing is privatizing and gentrifying its system.
"If the district closes 100 schools, and then opens 60 new charters in the next five years, the percentage of privately run schools could jump up to 27 percent. In a grant application to the Gates Foundation, CPS leaders said they planned to open 100 new schools in the next five years, 60 of them charters."
That's just an estimate though, Carroll tells 'BEZ. We tell Gates it could be more; we tell you it could be less.
"The new schools that have opened in the last decade draw students away from their home schools, even though overall public school enrollment has dropped just 6 percent. The Chicago Teachers Union has said that's contributed to the problem of 'underutilization' in so many CPS schools."
It's reminiscent of the way the city let CHA buildings rot and units go vacant even while they had waiting lists 50,000 names long, and then said the buildings had become dangerous and underutilized and had to be torn down.
"Part of what Chicago is really suffering from is they don't have a long-range plan," said Mary Filardo, the executive director of the 21st Century Schools Fund, a non-profit that studies how school districts manage their real estate.
To the contrary. I think the long-range plan is quite clear.
The DNA report was either A) a trial balloon that was shot down before the day was out, or B) a reporter's bungle in interpreting a general response as a specific one without nailing it down.
Given the tenor of Sandi's other remarks in that piece, I'll go with B.
The Sun-Times report notes that Sandi will be at the Democrats' slating on Saturday, which she apparently thinks is more important to attend than city council meetings in her role as an alderman, but maybe she wants to be available to be drafted, which would also explain the DNA report. But again: Who called whom?
MARK KONKOL RESPONDS: Mark Konkol, who authored the DNAinfo piece, called me to take issue with my characterization of his reporting. Konkol says:
"I called Sandi Jackson following up on reporting about the fallout of Donne Trotter's arrest. The conversation continued to talk about her personal life and her plans for running for her husband's seat and those are the answers I got. I haven't been able to talk to her since."
The rest of our conversation was off-the-record, but Konkol emphasized that he vigorously tried to nail down Sandi's remarks and the intent behind them.
That would fit a narrative of running for Congress, but then she'd actually have to appear in public and before reporters, unless she ran a stealth campaign. And if she got the job, she'd have to come back here. One gets the feeling she wants a job in Washington, but not one that requires travel to Chicago. After all, her husband and kids live there full-time now, though her husband may be living in a federal facility soon.
Finally, Sneed once again "reports" that Jonathan Jackson is looking at the race. Funny how that item shows up on the heels of the Sandi dust-up. From what I understand, there is a power struggle going on between who "controls" the seat - Sandi or the Jackson family - even if none of them actually run for it. And I've heard the same whispers that Sandi and the family - especially the Reverend - are estranged, at least in part over how the whole Junior saga was (mis)handled over the summer.
At this point, it's mostly soap opera. But there is an open seat - and a pending criminal case - so it's also news.
Help Val Keep The Lights On
KLM's Chicago Boom Holiday Flight
The Beachwood Tip Line: Underutilized.
Posted on December 11, 2012
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