What Happened To "Cheat Sheet"?

It's pledge week at WBEZ and the folks at Substance have noted with dismay that WBEZ's monthly roundup of the Board meetings and uploading of the audio from the event has been cancelled.  What makes the decision even more galling to Substance is that the show has seemingly been replaced with the monthly Brizard call-in show there's one tomorrow. (I guess that was the subtext behind the announcement of the new show though no one from the station mentioned it at the time.)  I don't have the full story  behind the decision yet but early last month education reporter Linda Lutton did tweet out that the show (called Cheat Sheet) wasn't continuing: "No more Cheat Sheet, people. I will miss it! "  As you may recall, Lutton pioneered the show in September 2009, shortly after her arrival at the station.  Here's an archive of the show.  Meanwhile, WBEZ's counterpart in New York City, WNYC, has just launched an expansion of its coverage of city schools and a partnership with the New York Times called SchoolBook.


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  • Argh! That really sucks! I loved "Cheat Sheet" and I really enjoyed listening to the board meeting recordings at my leisure. If WBEZ thinks the call-in show with J.C. Brizard is an adequate replacement, they could not be more wrong as it is nothing but softball questions and repetitive talking points that we have all heard ad nauseum. WBEZ just lost my support.

  • It all makes sense now

    Check out Substance for the story of After School Matters.
    It might answer a lot of questions.

  • the station says that it's not pulling back on school coverage and that there's a chance cheat sheet and/or the audiotape of the meeting could be reinstated. (that being said, there's no reason that the board itself, or substance, or CTU couldn't provide the audio on its own.)

    the goal in creating the call-in show was apparently to allow parents and teachers who can't listen to the radio at 9 or 10 am to participate live, which seems like a reasonable thing to do. (the board should have some of its meetings after work hours, too, right?).

    as i wrote when the show was first announced, i think that the value will be in seeing whether the show's host(s) can deepen the conversation with brizard, ask some tough questions, get some real answers. if it's just a call-in show then it seems less useful and more likely to serve CPS's purposes more than the board.

    how many have their been, anyway?

  • I think there have been two. The next one is set to have people under age 18 (I believe) calling in with the questions.

    "the value will be in seeing whether the show's host(s) can deepen the conversation with brizard, ask some tough questions, get some real answers. if it's just a call-in show then it seems less useful and more likely to serve CPS's purposes more than the board."

    So true. I'm shocked (shocked!) at how little the interviewers followed up or probed for details from Brizard.

  • Here's one reason to have access to the entire, unedited tape of OUR CPS board meeting: http://substancenews.net/articles.php?page=2673&section=Article

  • Time for some families to start looking for new schools (choice) for the next school year. This is from cpsobsessed.com:

    Find a School – Awesome Map!

    View CPS Options for Knowledge Elementary Schools 2012 in a full screen map

    A reader has created this very cool map that will allow you to determine which CPS elementary schools (non-charter) are near you. Or near anywhere. Here’s the information he’s written to go with it. This works well in conjunction with the CPS map that tell what school zone you’re in as you can see which gifted/classical/magnet schools are nearby. Have fun with it….

  • Very sad. I had hoped for better from WBEZ. Linda Lutton's show was a valuable outlet for learning about CPS decisions. Very sad WBEZ sold out. Guess I won't be pledging any money to them.

  • I agree. We listen to WEBZ a lot. Makes multi-tasking easier. However, because their coverage of education in Chicago, including CPS, is so weak, I just can't bring myself to re-up membership.

  • Yeah well George obviously got his panties in a bunch and his ego bruised because he is calling all 8 of his readers to boycott wbez because the dont recognize him as the epicenter of all things chicago media.

    That dude is crazy and a joke.

  • George makes a legitimate point. A comment about his panties and ego doesn't exactly speak to the issue.

    WBEZ may get much of their money from individual subscribers - but they also accept big contributions from corporate underwriters, sponsors, grants, business and such - they know that if they want the money to flow, they have to design story outcomes with themes that reflect the message of the institutions that drop so much cash…

    So, the problem, for many listeners, not just George, is that WBEZ pretends as if corporate cash has no influence. They even endlessly brag about it in their pledge drives.

    Listeners expect public broadcasting to uphold a commitment to fair and unbiased reporting, but in regards to public education, NPR segments ring more like underwriting spots.

    George and his '8 readers' are not the only ones who have noticed the hypocrisy.

    If they were the only ones, WBEZ wouldn't have to torture their listeners with so many pledge drives, harping on about their 'unbiased' reporting.

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