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The [Tuesday] Papers

How funny that Bill Daley tries to leverage the (tarnished) halo of Barack Obama in his announcement of a run for governor - or at least in the formation of an exploratory committee, which both gives him an out and allows him to start raising money. Here it is:


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I don't believe I've ever seen Bill Daley without a tie. But he's just a regular guy like us now.

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If Daley actually follows through with this run - still an "if" in my book - he may hurt a Lisa Madigan bid not so much in splitting the anti-Quinn vote but in simply turning off voters faced with choosing between a Daley and a Madigan. Without Bill in the race, Lisa looks a little fresher.

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Bruce Rauner has already amended his rhetoric and is campaigning against the Quinn-Madigan-Daley machine - the same machine that got his daughter into Payton.

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If it came down to Rauner vs. Daley, which I highly doubt it will, Illinois would have a choice between a private equity specialist and a banker.

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Mr. Daley, Rahm Emanuel says your brother really screwed up Chicago, and you were his chief advisor during that time. Did you screw up Chicago or is Rahm just plain wrong?

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Also: NAFTA, JPMorgan.

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The Bill Daley chief of staff narrative.

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Bill Daley on his nephew R.J. Vanecko: "He's basically a good kid."

Did you ever encourage him to cooperate with police, then? You know, appeal to his basic good nature? A dead kid's mother would have liked some answers.

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Shoot, Aim, Ready
"Chicago Public Schools officials put out a five-year plan Monday called The Next Generation: Chicago's Children, but didn't go into much depth about how it will be implemented," WBEZ reports.

"The plan comes less than a month after the Board of Education voted to shut down 50 public schools, mostly on the South and West sides of the city."

So CPS decided to close scores of schools before even drafting a 10-year facilities plan and then after the fact produced a five-year educational plan. (If you can call it that, because it reads more like a McKinsey slidedeck.) Backwards, much?

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"[B]oard member Mahalia Hines said just having a plan down on paper gets everyone on the same page.

"I think that my favorite part is that we actually have a plan that I can get my hands around," Hines said.

Hines has been on the board for two years.

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As she was voting to close 54 schools, Hines was heard on a live mic saying "I don't even want to talk to the press. Once this is over, I'm out."

One of the "pillars' of the new CPS plan is transparency.

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In its story about the plan, the Trib soft-pedaled this nugget:

"Last week, the Tribune reported that enrollment figures for students from schools being closed may have been inflated because some school officials had signed up students without parental approval. Byrd-Bennett said the district 'found little or no evidence of that.'"

So Byrd-Bennett investigated? And what were the findings exactly? What constitutes "little?"

Because the Trib reported actual real people doing what is alleged. And those people were told to take those actions by higher-ups.

"If, in fact, there is any evidence that someone wanted to inflate their numbers or do something that was inappropriate and without direction from this team, we'll do course correction and move forward," she told the paper's editorial board.

But the Tribune provided evidence right there in its report. And you just said you found little or no evidence yourself, yet now it sounds like you didn't even investigate!

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Over at the Sun-Times, education reporter Lauren FitzPatrick expressed frustration with the staged roll-out of the new plan:

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And yet, here are the first six paragraphs of her story, under the extremely charitable headline "Byrd-Bennett Wants To Get CPS Students Prepared For College:"

Within weeks of confirming the closure of a record 50 Chicago Public Schools, the schools chief unveiled some details of an ambitious five-year plan to get the city's students prepared for college.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett's "pillars" include welcoming more parents into schools, meeting students' emotional needs in addition to their academics, and setting high standards for all children to prepare them for life in the 21st century.

"We fundamentally believe that all of our children are capable of success, and to ensure that success, every child must have equitable access to a high-quality education," said Byrd-Bennett, accompanied at Westinghouse College Prep on Monday by a video called "The CPS Way" and a glossy, 25-page brochure titled "The Next Generation: Chicago's Children."

"Our vision is that we intend for every student in every neighborhood to be engaged in a rigorous, well-rounded program and that each student will graduate prepared for college, prepared for career, and it's so important - to be prepared for life, just to be good people who want to come back to their community, come back to our city and give back," she told the crowd, which included Board of Education members.

Ald. Latasha Thomas (17th), chairman of the City Council's Education Committee, who attended the speech, appreciated that Byrd-Bennett has a long-term plan, since she hadn't seen anything of the sort in her 13 years as alderman.

"If she's trying to build trust, this plan is at least in line with the statement she made about not closing any more schools for five years. She said she wanted to give the schools time to rebuild."

It falls to the second half of the story for some truths to be delivered, placing them as secondary and in the form of "critics" carping about the narrative Byrd-Bennett has been allowed to put in place.

The plan was short on specifics and devoid of any discussion on how a school system struggling to erase a $1 billion shortfall without pension relief can afford to do anything new, let alone bankroll Byrd-Bennett's "five pillars."

With some tweaking, that could be the lead:

"Chicago schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett continued her carefully stage-managed victory tour Monday by introducing a new five-year plan long on the jargon of corporate consulting and scant on detail - like how to pay for it - while largely avoiding reporters even as she touted "transparency" as one of the district's new values."

Isn't that a more accurate representation of what happened?

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The end seems to be Fran Spielman's contribution to the story - though, again, with tweaking, it could be the lead:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who championed many of the initiatives comprising the plan, is a master of message control and media packaging who attempts to sell his plans as new, even when they're not.

In March, 2012, the mayor unveiled, what he called, "Building a New Chicago," a $7.3 billion plan to rebuild Chicago's infrastructure and create 30,000 jobs.

But it was little more than political packaging by a new administration that had fast become famous for it.

Most, if not all, of the CTA, water, sewer, parks, schools and City Colleges project had been announced before. So had the $1.7 billion Infrastructure Trust the mayor hoped to use to bankroll some of the projects.

But here's the thing: Rahm can only be a master of message control and media packaging if the media goes along with him. You're the one he's controlling!

The end result is basically writing a story as if it came out of Rahm's PR shop and then declaring at the end that "We've been had because he's really good at this."

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Sarah Karp's report for Catalyst sets a more sober tone - and appears under the headline "Education Plan: Big On Ideas, Short On Money:"

For the first time since Mayor Rahm Emanuel took over CPS, his CEO laid out an education plan, calling for high academic standards, more focus on parental engagement and greater accountability for the district, including an annual scorecard.

Among specifics called for in the plan announced by Barbara Byrd-Bennett are more arts education - the district and the city announced a $1 million investment in arts education in May - and mental health services.

The plan also reiterates some previously-announced initiatives, such as full-day kindergarten for all children and the creation of more STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) schools. The plan also makes mention of the move to the Common Core State Standards.

But Byrd-Bennett's announcement at Westinghouse High School raised immediate questions about how the board would pay for the initiatives. And following the announcement, Board President David Vitale confirmed that principals, who received their school budgets just last week, will have to make do with less: On average, school budgets are a few percentage points down from last year, although the cuts varied from school to school.

Click through for the rest of her examination.

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Finally . . . oh hell, don't get me started. Here's Carol Marin giving Byrd-Bennett an easy 10-minute ride, a segment just slightly longer than the 8:49 spent on the Blackhawks after it. CPS knows it can always find a safe harbor at WTTW.

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How in the world that constituted an interview as opposed to hosting an official's talking points is beyond me.

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The NSA Black Hole
5 Things We Still Don't Know About The Agency's Snooping.

Toews And Kane
Tied at the historic hip.

Chicago's Door & Prince's Protege
In Local Music Notebook.

It's Just Kids Playing A Game, Badly
A reminder to parents.

Beast Of Burden
Coping with an image.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Not a game.



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Posted on June 11, 2013


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