Chicago - May. 22, 2019
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The Weekend Desk Report

"Rahm Emanuel had been mayor for two years when, in 2013, he announced the closure of nearly 50 elementary schools saddled with shrinking enrollment. A tsunami-scale backlash followed," the Tribune says in an editorial.

Parents complained they were losing the bonds they and their children had created with their schools' teachers, principals and other students. Many families living amid gang violence worried their children would have to cross gang turf lines to get to their new schools. The Chicago Teachers Union called the move "a real horror for people."

What would have been scarier? This: keeping half-empty schools open for a dwindling roster of students, and pouring taxpayer dollars into those schools when that money could improve schoolkids' education elsewhere.

The mayor and the Chicago Board of Education were right to shut those schools.

It's as if the conclusions of the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research were never reported - and they barely were. I've complained since day two of that report that it was only reported on, lightly, on day one and forgotten. This is how easily history is ignored, rewritten and repurposed to serve ideological needs of those who don't deign to traffic in facts that get in the way of their preconceived and passionately held notions. Shame on you, Tribune editorial board.

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From the Consortium's executive summary:

"Our findings show that the reality of school closures was much more complex than policymakers anticipated; academic outcomes were neutral at best, and negative in some instances."

Bear in mind that the Consortium is highly respected - and if anything, Rahm-friendly.

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From ace education reporter Sarah Karp's report ("Study: 2013 Chicago School Closings Failed To Help Students") for WBEZ:

"Despite Mayor Rahm Emanuel's promise that mass school closings in 2013 would lead to a 'brighter future,' Chicago students didn't benefit academically and on average their performance suffered, particularly in math, according to a University of Chicago Consortium on School Research study released on Tuesday.

"The groundbreaking study goes on to report that for students and teachers, the transition was traumatic and chaotic."

I'd like to see the Tribune's point-by-point refutation of the study. The paper owes its readers that.

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"Emanuel did not comment on the findings."

And he's been allowed to get away with not commenting on the findings - even as news organizations invite him to speak at their events and to publish "Op-Eds" on their platforms.

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"CPS had said that closing the 50 schools would save $43 million annually and $437 million over time by not having to fix or maintain the shuttered buildings. But the school district has never provided any detailed information on whether those savings were or will be realized."

That's because the closings did not save money. School closings rarely - if ever - do.

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So to reiterate: School outcomes were neutral at best and negative for the rest, and didn't even save any money. But otherwise well worth it!

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More from reporters who don't read the news:

I've stayed tuned, by the way. Still waiting.

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Also, by the way, Henry Bienen was a school board member who wasn't exactly known for his good-faith relationship with the facts. But his credentials as an official authority figure went far with some reporters who equate a resume with honesty.

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While the murder of Laquan McDonald dominated Rahm Emanuel's second term, his first term was dominated the school closures - the largest mass school closures in U.S. history - that shook the city to its core. The results are in, and the closings were a definitive failure that caused widespread and unnecessary heartache, division and long-term consequences the city need to cope with for years to come. Getting the story right is nothing short of crucial.

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Speaking of the Tribune editorial board being impervious to facts, this isn't nearly on the scale of dismissing the most definitive, deeply researched evidence on school closings, but it's nonetheless aggravating. Don't get George Carlin wrong - not on my watch!

"Grousing about politicians is a time-honored pastime for Chicagoans," the Trib says (as if it's not a time-honored pastime everywhere; we're special!)

"But those complaints don't mean much if, when citizens have the chance to change City Hall, they punt. Comedian George Carlin put it this way: "If you don't vote, you lose the right to complain."

Emphasis theirs!

In fact, Carlin said the exact opposite:

I don't vote. Two reasons: first of all it's meaningless; this country was bought-and-sold a long time ago. The shit they shovel around every four years *pfff* doesn't mean a fucking thing.

Secondly, I believe if you vote, you have no right to complain. People like to twist that around - they say, "If you don't vote, you have no right to complain," but where's the logic in that? If you vote and you elect dishonest, incompetent people into office who screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You caused the problem - you voted them in; you have no right to complain.

I, on the other hand, who did not vote, who in fact did not even leave the house on Election Day, am in no way responsible for what these people have done and have every right to complain about the mess you created that I had nothing to do with.

See for yourself:

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Besides ignoring evidence in favor of ideology and getting facts diametrically wrong, the Trib utterly lacks self-reflection. Consider:

"As we explained in our March 15 endorsement for the runoff election, former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot is best positioned to carry out that mandate - for a safer city, a cleaner City Council, a stronger school system and a more accountable government. Lightfoot offers the most versatility to manage Chicago's complexities," the paper's board says.

"Tuesday is Mandate Day. After 22 years of Mayor Richard M. Daley from a family political dynasty, and after eight years of Emanuel who brought an insider, Washington, D.C. portfolio, voters have the opportunity to turn the keys over to outsider Lori Lightfoot. Chicagoans, do that forcefully."

Bear in mind that for the last three decades, the Tribune editorial board has been, forcefully, in the corners of Daley and Emanuel, issuing no less than eight endorsements over that time - all of them!

Now the Trib wants to shame you into fixing their (unacknowledged) mistakes. If editorial board members thought about it, they'd realize that we'd all be better off if readers following their advice the last 30 years would've been better off sitting at home on Election Day! Stupid citizens, look what you did listening to us! Now we need a mayor to get us out of this mess! Get out there and vote or you have no right to complain about how wrong we've been!

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Our very own Tim Willette adds: "It wasn't long ago that the Tribune endorsed Bill Daley for mayor! If you endorsed Bill Daley for mayor, you have no right to complain!"

Bill Daley, who combined Daley insiderdom with Emanuel Washingtoness! He was like if Richie and Rahm had a baby! But now, please give a mandate to the exact opposite of what we urged with even more passion just a month ago! Also, we meant, um, Joe Carlin! This dude down in the mailroom. He always says you can't complain if you don't vote, and we agree!

Of course, neither the editorial page editor (John McCormick) nor editor of the newsroom (Bruce Dold) can vote for mayor - they live in the suburbs. So they can't complain!

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Also, I'll save for now describing for the umpeenth time how the Tribune calls for city council reform after endorsing almost all incumbents.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #245: Opening Day Overreactions!
Cubs rule, Sox suck. Plus: Howard's End; Chalk Talk; Hoops!; Bulls Still Shit; Blackhawks Still In It; DePaul Still In Running For 102nd Best Team In Nation: Fire Still In It; and Price Of Brace Brings Soccer Player To His Knees.

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Hoops!
'An exhibition presents outdoor images of basketball courts and hoops that celebrate the sport and reveal both its global importance and enduring appeal. Hauntingly devoid of people, the images are nonetheless remarkable neighborhood and community portraits.'

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Weekend ChicagoReddit

Today is Batman's 80th Birthday! He first appeared in Detective Comics #27 on March 30, 1939. Here are the cast of the TV series Batman on the cover of Chicago Daily TV News Magazine dated August 5-12, 1966. from r/chicago

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Weekend ChicagoGram

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Weekend ChicagoTube

Smile.

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Weekend BeachBook

The Worst Disease Ever Recorded.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Weekend Desk McRibTipLine: Clean sweep.



Permalink

Posted on March 30, 2019


MUSIC - Chicago Harmonica Meetup.
TV - Sinclair, Cubs Name Accomplice.
POLITICS - Terms Of Service Gone Awry.
SPORTS - Beachwood Street Hockey?

BOOKS - Rock The Luya Mic.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Let Elevators Evolve.


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