AKAs Too Powerful In Chicago Schools?


I don't want to make any overly broad generalizations but there are at least some folks in Chicago who see arrogance and elitism from the members of sororities like AKA who work in the Chicago Public Schools -- many of whom are in positions of power and authority.  These comments come in light of the recent accusations made against one CPS official, Karen Saffold, alleging that she demanded payment from a vendor (see here).  How many of the city's top bureaucrats come from one of these sororities and fraternities?  Do they act as exclusively and imperiously as some commenters say they do?  I have lots of questions and not many answers.  What do you know?


Leave a comment
  • The principal at my school is a soror. She won't back up her teachers, visit classrooms, talk to parents, or enforce discipline, but she will open up the classrooms for sorority workshops on the weekends...where the rooms are left disorganized for teachers to find come Monday...

  • Thanks Soro Teacher for telling the truth.As everyone can read for themselves, the other comments were insulting to African American women. This is defintely the spirit that we are talking about. Whenever someone says that these immoral and discriminatory practices are unfair, the "wanna be prima donnas" insist that everyone in the world is just jealous of them. No sisters, that is not the case. We just want equal right in our own communities. This birth right comes to us as American citizens.I have a daughter who is a beautiful chocolate brown.She is aeducated and at the top of her game. So is her mother.However, I am a self made women who can stand on my own. I don't need a gang of women to promote me or give me unfair advantages over others. No to mention, that at the core of your organization is the philosophical belief that if an African American's skin is DARKER THAN THE BROWN PAPER BAG, they were not admitted into your organization. Remember the "Brown Paper test!Let's educate you!
    frican American Environmentalist Association: The Brown Paper Bag ...
    Mar 8, 2008 ... The brown paper bag test was a ritual once practiced by certain African-American sororities and fraternities who discriminated against ...
    aaenvironment.blogspot.com/.../environmental-racism-brown-paper-bag.html - Cached - Similar -
    The Hilltop - The Legacy of the Brown Paper Bag
    Sep 16, 2005 ... Churches, schools and various organizations utilized the paper bag test for social verification. There were also multitudes of brown bag ...
    www.thehilltoponline.com/.../the-legacy-of-the-brown-paper-bag-1.466574 -
    Isn't it true that your organization is founded on this premise? Because of AKA discrimination of African American women, the Deltas were formed. This sorority accepts all African American females regardless of status and skin color.It's about what a person has accomplished in life and not the unjust and unfair practices of a group of indifferent spoiled brats!

  • I cannot believe that you are dragging out this folklore as if its gospel. Obviously you only completed a year of college, otherwise you would know first-hand that all of this is a lie. You need counseling since you were obviously rejected by the sorority for grades, class, or grammar. This is petty not to mention juvenile. And, what does any of this have to do with education? Congratulations on making me feel very sorry for you--I typically don't feel pity for anyone because most people are able to act with dignity after disappointment. What a horrible childhood you must have had. By the way, I am a dark-skinned AKA and a light-skinned Delta is my daughter's godmother. The only hatred is from people who really DON'T know.

  • In reply to aquari23:

    the BROWN PAPER BAG TEST is is not fokelore or a lie. instead of arguing with the above poster who wrote about it, perhaps you can study your history a bit more and you will see that this test really did take place. i'm not for certain that the akas were the originators of this racist test, but it existed for many years.

    sometimes, when people hear things for the first time that they feel are unbelievable, they should do a bit of research on the matter before insisting that the information is false.

    this information is true and can easily be confirmed through research=reading about black history (the part we would rather forget).

  • In reply to BobBrown:

    Did we give up on reading? The brown paper bag test is ancient history. It certainly doesn't go on today, but lots of things that went on during the 50s and 60s don't go on today. Let's move on.

  • In reply to aquari23:

    I had to write in to say WOW! We as African Americans are doing just what is expected of us to do. We always blame "The Man" for our misfortunes, but look at us...We are tearing each other down. And why??? The Bible says,"He who is without sin, cast the first stone". Let's pray for each other, and continue to utilize our education for something positive. That's what we went to school for. Speaking of school...I pledged AKA in an all white school in 1977,(The AKA's came on campus to pledge us)I am "Brown paper bag" in color, I graduated from college at 20, and am very successful. After all of the comments about being an AKA, a CPS Principal and successful, I am now wondering if I made it this far because I fall into all of the aforementioned categories, or if it's because I worked my behind off and my parents instilled in me and my siblings a great work ethic and how to trust in God. I choose to think that it's God that has me where I am at this time in my life, and before it's all over, we all will be calling His name!

  • In reply to Pearl:

    Well said! I think sometimes we take so personally the wrongs we experience when, in fact, we experience hardships to make us better people. When we become what we hate (bigots who use sweeping generalizations and stereotypes to slander and discriminate against a group of people), it makes us eternal victims. I thought we, as women, were to be strong survivors? What's more hurtful is that there are women willing to put down every successful woman based on a sorority affiliation. Not only is it sill, it's just not Christ like.

  • LOL. Zeta, after that rant, you need a hug. Yes, your conspiracy leads straight to the White House. Michelle Obama recently became an honorary AKA. Other notable AKAs include Jane Addams of Hull House, Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Mae Jemison, Coretta Scott King, Toni Morrison, Rosa Parks, Marva Collins, Phyllicia Rashad, Jada Pinkett Smith, Iyanla Vanzant, Loretta Devine -- all hues, all shapes and sizes, all amazing. What would you say if some news personality came out and started calling these distinguished ladies bullies and elitist? Chances are you'd be ready to call them racist. Before you throw mud, think about all of whom you are throwing it on, then think about how YOU LOOK throwing mud.

    I'm not sure what the total numbers are but at last count there were over 60,000 ACTIVE members in AKA and the number of people this ONE PERSON has encountered doesn't come close to 1% (600 people) of the total membership. You are missing out on making some wonderful relationships with smart.compassionate and driven women nurturing your ancient feud.

    Alexander, when will you not peddle ridiculous gossip and publish the manifestos of a few disturbed people? How could you fall into the trap of taking the word of one person as the gospel for an entire cultural group? I thought District 299 was a serious source for issues affecting teachers and kids in Chicago and I thought you were better than this. Is this about quality or quantity? First the 25 year old story about Edison, now this. This kind of "truthiness" isn't even entertaining. I thought you were here to expose the truth to make matters better for Chicago teachers, to help galvanize and inform us and keep us connected.

    This thread appears to be instigating a girlfight which out of ignorance or pride, women are falling for. If there is a reason teachers get the short end of the stick it is because we are easily distracted by petty issues and ridiculous jealousies.

  • thanks to a couple of readers for passing along news about this AKA related lawsuit that's going on


    in today's sun times.

    -- alexander

  • With the scandal they got going on now with their president, someone using their "trademarked shield" should be the least of their worries lol
    How embarassing...when the Sun-Times dedicates a whole page to this story you know it's bad....

  • so ....

  • i am a person who also does business with cps and has for several years.
    i am an african-american female, college degreed, but never in a sorority.

    the majority of the principals and assistant principals in cps, who happen to be black females, treat me fine. the akas, deltas, zetas, and the few sigmas that exist, treat me well. i think one of the reasons why i get away with this because i am not in any sorority and try not to favor anyone. plus i am a people person.

    but ms. saffold and a couple of others in her clique, the area instructional officers-type, have had doors closed on me once i have already opened them at cps schools for no reason at all.

    i understood ms safford's problem very soon after i met her years ago and just decided that i would avoid her and her greedy cronies who feel that they should never have to pay for anything that they receive or have a "what's in it for me" mentality, and i'd prefer to leave it at that.

    have any of you reading this blog ever VISITED Vanderpoel school, where Saffold used to be the principal not that long ago? go there, please! she actually hired an artist to draw a LARGE mural of internationally known black celebrities. to be honest with you, i can't remember exactly all of the people depicted, i think they were people like Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, people like that. GUESS WHOSE PICTURE ALSO APPEARS ALONG WITH THESE OTHER FAMOUS BLACK PEOPLE AS PART OF THE MURAL. YES, MS. SAFFOLD HAD THE ARTIST DRAW HER PICTURE, AS IF SHE BELONGS IN THIS WORLD RENOWNED CATEGORY! (kindof sounds like that aka president who made a wax statue of herself, deosn't it.)

    i just HAPPENED to happen across this news article. first about the akas, then i read one of the bloggers blogging about the lawsuit against ms. saffold.

    it sure does my heart good when i see people standing up and insisting that they will not be wronged. the cps are desigend to educate children -- not to make certain school officials rich and create a playground for them where they can select who will and who won't do business in cps.

    please believe me when i say that this does need to be investigated by cps officials and whoever else watches over public funds, which the woman who filed the lawsuit alleges were taken away from her because she won't pay saffold the $10,000 bribe. but whatever way it goes, many people (at least cps consultants and vendors who read the chicago news with regularity) will know why doors get suddenly closed on them after they had been opened by a principal. i said people? i should have said primarily african-american females, because it is my guess that this is who it happens to most often.

    congratulations goes to the whistleblower!

    you have my highest admiration. you really do.

    and thanks for helping other vendors and contractors because your efforts may do just that.

Leave a comment