Occupy Wall Street & Organized Labor

It seems like no one can resist making comparisons between what's going on at Occupy Wall Street and what's going on in education reform.  And you can't blame them.  Some of school reform's most well known names -- Mike Bloomberg, Whitney Tilson, Boykin Curry, Bill Gates, Eli Broad -- are quite literally members of the 1 percent (albeit Democrats). Many other reforms aren't One Percenters but have enough of the trappings -- Ivy League educations, Rhodes Scholarships, Bain and McKinsey pedigrees, a corporate style of dressing  and speaking and a certainty and rigidity about their ideas -- that they are easily lumped in. Many of their ideas -- public school choice, performance pay, and competition -- have capitalist trappings.

And yet, in her article Why Not Occupy The Schools?, Dana Golstein explains that the comparisons don't really hold:  "The dominant ethos of the school choice/Bloomberg/Obama reform movement is one borrowed not from Wall Street, with its desperate lust for profit, but from Silicon Valley, with its commitment to meritocratic innovation that—yes, of course—earns money, but also serves the public." That doesn't mean that there aren't problems with school reform, or troubling similarities between reformers and One Percenters.   (Indeed, Silicon Valley companies like Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft are despite all their trappings just as focused on money making as any other company.) Reformers should take heed of the fact that at least some teachers and parents readily confuse them with Wall Street, and that the situation is proving so easy for oppents to use against them.  They should reflect on the possibility that they, the respectable class, have been "taught to believe in their own goodness" in ways that may be limiting their ability to acknowledge issues and blinding to the views of others (via Tom Hoffman). The self-censorship and lack of public dissent within the reform community is really quite startling.  Reformers should probably also acknowledge that some of their ' favorite ideas -- online learning, 1:1 tablet initiatives, common standards -- would bring millions to big education companies.

At the same time, reform opponents need to make sure not to  discredit themselves by trying to turn Democratic-funded philanthropies and well-intended nonprofit CMOs into Wall Street or heartless corporations, or to rush headlong into the arms of teachers unions and organized labor groups that, when all is said and done, have largely gone along in creating a system that does not do right by parents and poor children in particular. School districts, elected officials, and teachers unions have done much too little for poor children for much too long to ever be mistaken as defenders of all that is good and just.

[adapted from TWIE]


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  • Here's a list of the 145 schools that meet the CPS school closing guidelines. Hope your not on it -

    Julia C Lathrop Elementary School
    Florence B Price Elementary School
    Telpochcalli Elementary School
    Ignance Paderewski Elemey Learning cademy
    Enrico Fermi Elementary School
    James R Doolittle Jr Elementary School
    Phobe Apperson Hearst Elementary School
    Garrett A Morgan Elementary School
    Nathaniel Pope Elementary School
    Elihu Yale Elementary School
    Francis Parkman Elementary School
    Guglielmo Marconi Elementary Community Academy
    Edmond Burke Elementary School
    John B Drake Elementary School
    Betsy Ross Elementary School
    James Wadsworth Elementary School
    Matthew A Henson Elementary School
    Melville W Fuller Elementary School
    Roswell B Mason Elementary School
    Emmett Louis Till Math and Science Academy
    Alexander von Humboldt Elementary School
    Jean D Lafayette Elementary School
    Genevieve Melody Elementary School
    Henry H Nash Elementary School
    William Penn Elementary School
    Louis Armstrong Math & Science Elementary School
    James N Thorp Elementary School
    Mahalia Jackson Elementary School
    George Washington Carver Primary School
    Carter G Woodson South Elementary School
    Theodore Herzl Elementary School
    Alfred David Kohn Elementary School
    William C Reavis Math & Science Specialty Elementary School
    Austin O Sexton Elementary School
    Dumas Technology Academy
    William H Ryder Math & Science Specialty Elementary School
    Crispus Attucks Elementary School
    William H King Elementary School
    Horatio May Elementary Community Academy
    Brian Piccolo Elementary Specialty School
    George W Tilton Elementary School
    Benjamin Banneker Elementary School
    William A Hinton Elementary School
    Ira F Aldridge Elementary School
    Stephen F Gale Elementary Community Academy
    Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary School
    Robert H Lawrence Elementary School
    George Manierre Elementary School
    Paul Revere Elementary School
    Songhai Elementary Learning Institute
    Jackie Robinson Elementary School
    Irvin C Mollison Elementary School
    Arthur A Libby Elementary School
    West Pullman Elementary School
    William E B Dubois Elementary School
    Perkins Bass Elementary School
    John Fiske Elementary School
    Foster Park Elementary School
    William K New Sullivan Elementary School
    Dewey Elementary Academy of Fine Arts
    Wendell Smith Elementary School
    Horace Mann Elementary School
    William W Carter Elementary School
    Luke O'Toole Elementary School
    Charles Kozminski Elementary Community Academy
    Thurgood Marshall Middle School
    Langston Hughes Elementary School
    Parkside Elementary Community Academy
    Richard Yates Elementary School
    Charles R Henderson Elementary School
    Leslie Lewis Elementary School
    Laura S Ward Elementary School
    John Whistler Elementary School
    Countee Cullen Elementary School
    Lawndale Elementary Community Academy
    Arnold Mireles Elementary Academy
    Simon Guggenheim Elementary School
    Clara Barton Elementary School
    Edward A Bouchet Math & Science Academy Elementary School
    Fernwood Elementary School
    Lyman Trumbull Elementary School
    Mildred I Lavizzo Elementary School
    Isabelle C O'Keeffe Elementary School
    Amos Alonzo Stagg Elementary School
    Milton Brunson Math & Science Specialty Elementary School
    Ralph H Metcalfe Elementary Community Academy
    Ronald E McNair Elementary School
    Dvorak Technology Academy
    Asa Philip Randolph Elementary School
    Northwest Middle School
    Fairfield Elementary Academy
    Francis M McKay Elementary School
    Daniel R Cameron Elementary School
    Pablo Casals Elementary School
    West Park Elementary Academy
    Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School
    Frederick Funston Elementary School
    Franz Peter Schubert Elementary School
    Marquette Elementary School
    Donald Morrill Math & Science Elementary School
    John Greenleaf Whittier Elementary School
    Sharon Christa McAuliffe Elementary School
    Gerald Delgado Kanoon Elementary Magnet School
    Henry D Lloyd Elementary School
    John F Eberhart Elementary School
    Socorro Sandoval Elementary School
    Chicago Vocational Career Academy High School
    John Hancock College Preparatory High School
    Roald Amundsen High School
    William J Bogan High School
    Richard T Crane Technical Preparatory High School
    Christian Fenger Academy High School
    Paul Robeson High School
    Edwin G Foreman High School
    Gage Park High School
    John M Harlan Community Academy High School
    Emil G Hirsch Metropolitan High School
    Hyde Park Academy High School
    Kelvyn Park High School
    John F Kennedy High School
    Manley Career Academy High School
    John Marshall Metropolitan High School
    Wendell Phillips Academy High School
    Theodore Roosevelt High School
    Carl Schurz High School
    Nicholas Senn High School
    Charles P Steinmetz Academic Centre High School
    Roger C Sullivan High School
    Dyett High School
    George H Corliss High School
    Percy L Julian High School
    Benito Juarez Community Academy High School
    Hope College Preparatory High School
    Walter S Christopher Elementary School
    Moses Montefiore Special Elementary School
    Near North Elementary School
    Ida B Wells Preparatory Elementary Academy
    Frederick A Douglass Academy High School
    Kate S Buckingham Special Education Center
    High School of Leadership at South Shore
    New Millennium High School of Health at Bowen
    Albert R Sabin Elementary Magnet School
    Orr Academy High School
    Sir Miles Davis Magnet Elementary Academy

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I can understand why charter schools are not listed- Superman works there and they create miracles. But what about the following:

    Amundsen was one of the first if not thee first CPS school to get off of academic probation last year. Doesn't this qualify as a huge success.

    Turnaround Fenger, Turnaround Phillips, Turnaround Orr and Turnaround Marshall are on the list but not Turnaround Harper?

    Hancock and Kennedy are on the list but comparable schools like Curie and Hubbard are not?

    Washington, Clemente, Richards, Tilden, Dunbar, North Grand, Collins, Raby, Clark, Simeon, and Wells somehow don't qualify for closing?

  • Percy L Julian High School to close! Wow. Where will those students go?

  • I am sure the charter school operators are salivating at the mouth, like raging hyenas, over this list. So sad.

  • In reply to Maestro:

    Let the auctioning begin!
    Let's sell a school and some kids right here, right here
    UNO three million bid now four now four!
    UCCS give me four million bids! now three now three!
    POLARIS would you give five million? now four now four!
    NOBLE would you give me six million? now five now five…

  • So why aren't all the failing charter schools on this list or the new interactive map? I thought this was supposed to be about helping parents make choices about schools. It is absolutely maddening that charters demand public resources, yet hide (or are hidden by CPS) when it comes time to report academic progress or how funds are being used. Must be nice to have it both ways.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Good questions because charters hide every single year! And CPS covers for them every single year!

  • Has anyone in CO looked at the staff turnover rate in these schools due to new principals? Some of the new principals,
    who were hand picked by the former CAO in AREA 11, who then influenced the LSCs to choose her pick, are in desperate need of mental health services. CO needs to get into these schools and observe what is not going on and find out why the teachers and other staff are desperate to leave. Even the clinicians are asking not to be placed at these schools.

  • If the bad teachers leave thats a good thing it will help the good teachers, turnover isn't always bad.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    The "bad" teachers stay-no one wants them but they are savvy survivalists and attach themselves like burrs to the crazy principals. They become the spies and rumor spreaders. Subs refuse to go to these schools and the word is spread so that when vacancies are created only "bad teachers" apply. No sane AP will apply at these schools. The above poster mentions that the clinicians ask not to go to these schools which is an sad indictment because most are only at these schools for a day a week. Eventually, the crazy principal moves on up or retires and only the "bad" teachers are left. The children are stuck in a "crazy" environment and the parents wonder what has happened to the neighborhood school. The toilet bowl theory is alive and well in these schools and the "sh--" rises. CO does nada!

  • if the past 20 years are any indication of CPS progress, it will be the very best teachers who will go…CPS has an agenda - good teachers are viewed as trouble-makers

  • what is your source or are you just spewing venom and lies just like people like you accuse CPS of?

  • I had a friend from rural Iowa who spent k-12 with only thirty students in the whole school. She seemed to have done ok academically. Sure there are economies of scale with a standalone school, but why can't neighborhood schools with low enrollment be maintained? It may be in a storefront, but if proper resources are supplied, wouldn't this be better with safety, continuity, community involvement, etc.? Maybe cps has to adapt to the student population and community instead of forcing the community to adapt to a shell of a building.

  • Just look at their track record - the recent Consortium study that showed no improvement in 20 years - also that the achievement gap for chicago african americans has substantially widened…so if there have been no gains for whites, and an academic loss for blacks, what else can you conclude? Another study by the Consortium called "When Schools Close, the Effects on Displaced Students in CPS" concluded that simply the announcement of a school closing had a negative effect on students' achievement (that's from Chapter 4, page 25). The outcome for students displaced in 'dramatically' better schools showed a slight improvement, and that was only 6% of the displaced kids…94% end up right back in the same community. The fact is, you can't move 94% of the displaced kids into selective enrollment schools…in order for the turnaround to work, they have to literally be immersed or surrounded by other high performing kids. So I guess it is a bit of venom when I see CPS constantly giving themselves pay raises while pushing pipe-dreams on the taxpayers…I also don't like seeing hard-working people being blamed, stigmatized and fired for not being able to perform the impossible. Nobody has yet corrected this problem, and by all research indicators, the current policies are making the conditions worse. Slick campaigns, Rasmussen proven political rhetoric and good advertising do a good job of distorting the disastrous effects that these policies have had, and unfortunately, seem to be moving us farther and farther away from a realistic solution.

  • Remember Sam Drucker's general store in Green Acres and Petticoat Junction? Sam was everything from postmaster to fire chief to community center. So if neighborhood schools shouldn't close, and there is a budget shortfall for both the city and the board, why can't more services be consolidated into one building, I.e. The school building. Instead of paying for leases for the library or senior center or health services, maybe they could all be co-located in a neighborhood school building that appears to be underutilized, and which is threatened for closure, reducing costs for several municipal functions. Of course, the board, CTU, and the community should work together to determine the resources required to lift the school by it's bootstraps. If it takes a village to care for our children, maybe it should look like one.

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