Protests, Hearings, Brizard Call-In

Today's news includes coverage of the KoCo protests, the beginning of formal hearings on school closings, and audio from last night's Brizard call-in show.  But we all know the real news is that today is the last Friday before school starts up again on Monday, which brings a mix of dread and happiness depending on whether you're a kid, a teacher, or a parent (and how well the school year is going so far).

Local Group Keeps Promise To Emanuel, Stages Education Sit-In At City Hall Progress IL:  Two demands are easy to understand. Emanuel needs to meet with us, and CPS shouldn’t close down or turnaround these schools. The third is more complicated. Kenwood Oakland is putting forward an alternative education policy strategy that focuses on community empowerment.

CPS Parents Stage Sit-In at City Hall Fox:  Half a dozen CPS parents have spent a second day staging a sit-in at City Hall Thursday.

CPS kicks off public hearings on proposed closings, consolidations, turnarounds Tribune:  Chicago Public Schools on Friday kicks off its first round of public hearings for proposed school closings, consolidations and turnaround projects. Meetings will be held at nine locations around the city and at future sites on Jan. 20 and Jan. 23

January's Schools on the Line WBEZ:  Chicago schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard fielded questions from parents, teachers and students about everything from sex education to recouping more than a million dollars the district improperly paid to retired teachers.

No classes as Zion-Benton High School teachers strike Sun Times:  Classes were canceled Thursday for thousands of students after teachers at Zion-Benton Township High School went on strike.


Ernst Prussing Elementary School Wins 2012 Cubs Caravan Tour:  The Cubs Caravan is exactly what it sounds like it is. Buses loaded up with players, coaches and front office staff hit the streets and visit local Chicago area schools. Each year the Chicago Cubs hold a contest where local school can apply to have the caravan visit.

Steamy Teacher-Student Book Gets Author Luis Aguilera Fired as ...Hispanically Speaking News:  A former Chicago Public Schools teacher has filed a lawsuit involving his memoir, and is claiming he is owed more than $300000 in back pay and damages. Luis Gabriel Aguilera was once a Spanish teacher at the Bronzeville Scholastic Institute, ...

Want some numbers to make your head spin Capital Fax: The unfunded pension liabilities are the fault of the politicians, not workers. Workers made their payments...And wealthy suburban school districts pay higher salaries and offer better benefits if they can for a good reason.


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  • Don Frayned brings in rent a protest to Crane HS:
    "It was an unreal event tonight at the Malcolm X Crane hearing," said Marty Ritter, an organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union. "Donald Fraynd was the MC of the even, and Jesse Ruiz of the Board was present. Around 200 rental protesters were bused in to support the CPS position but were exposed before the evening was over.
    According to several teachers and Crane supporters present, many of those supporting the CPS position looked like crack heads and drunks mostly.
    After the initial Board presentation, between ten and fifteen Crane presenters engaged in civil disobedience and stood at the mike, made a statement about presenting the Power Point, and then stood silently.
    "This was extremely effective, as our crew and the rental protesters began to shout together: "Show the Power Point!", Ritter continued. "This went speaker after speaker for 20-30 minutes. Jesse Ruiz and CPS didn't know what to do. Finally they relented and let us show our stuff that refuted tons of the CPS data. The place erupted as we began to win the hearts and minds, even of the bused in folks. CPS looked confused and worried." "Then it got even better, if such were possible," Ritter continued. "Mark Clark who had been a thorn in everyone's side came up to me and said "We are on the same side", and said he wanted expose the bused in people. His turn on the mike came, and he turned to the crowd and asked "What neighborhood are you from? People respond "...the hundreds, Englewood, Roseland", etc. — all from the far South Side. Clark started saying, "The mayor paid off your pastor big bucks and what did you get?" His talking points remain true to exposing the bused in
    people and their leaders.
    They starte3d shouting and fighting among themselves, security ask some to leave, and then many more leave on their own. The rent a protest had departed, leaving just the Crane people in the auditorium.
    CPS's Donald Fraynd tried to call on the Rent A Protest folks who or were leaving, asking if they want to speak and they all say "NO!" page=2976&section=Article

  • There were Rent A Protest people bused in to support CPS position at the Dyett Meeting at the Hayes Center on Friday, by one of the South-Side ministers also paid by Mayor Emanuel.

  • RP! You have been missed.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Dear Anonymous, I'm still here!

  • Is this real?? I'm sorry this sounds so clownish that it is hard for me to wrap my mind around the idea that "ministers" and the "mayor" of Chicago would pay crackheads and drunks to protest against teachers and the kids we serve! I will be at the next meeting ready to upload on YouTube. This is totally ridiculous, I actually miss Daley.

  • In reply to unknown teacher:

    Dear unknown teacher, all I can tell you is that at the Dyett meeting the Rent a Protest people from the southside minister, bought and paid for by Mayor Emanual were there! I won't call them crackheads and drunks, but they were not from the Bronzeville or Washington Park communities, where Dyett HS sits!

  • Read more about Rahm's Rent-A-Protest and crooked Rev Roosevelt Watkins at

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Dear Anonymous, Rev. Roosevelt Watkins is the pastor of the Bethlehem Star M.B. Church, which is located at 9231 S. Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago, IL. 60619,, on the far south side. P.S.- When I left the Dyett meeting at the Hayes Center there were two yellow school buses that carried the Rent-A-Protest people. There was a drunk man sitting next to the first of the yellow school buses, that had transported the Rent-A-Protest people. I was informed by a CPS official at the Dyett meeting that the Crane meeting at Maxcolm X College was let out early because of a problem!

  • the two yellow buses - probably Stuart Levine Scholastic Transit

  • I really had difficulty accepting the Rent-A-Protest story, until I read a similar analysis in Catalyst this morning and talked to a member of the Facilities Task force who also at the meeting. I did not hear that the meeting ended early however.

    What is most disturbing about the Crane proposal is the fact that is proposing a school action to co-locate Talent Development Charter High School with Crane Technical Preparatory High School in the same CPS facility with the existing Crane HS being phased out. But according to the CPS transition plan for Talent Development, the Crane Tech facility has 74 classrooms. Crane, with a current enrollment of 638 students, is anticipated to need 22 homerooms, as well as 6 additional classrooms for special programming, such as science, art, music, and special education—for a total of 28 classrooms. There is no reason to believe if incoming freshmen are accepted into Crane, that the total enrollment will grow much beyond 638 students.

    Talent Development, according to CPS, anticipates an enrollment of 600 students for the 2012-13 school year, and it should require 25 homerooms, as well as 7 additional classrooms for special programming, including science, art, music, and special education—for a total of 32 classrooms. The facility has enough space to accommodate the combined 60 classrooms required to serve both Crane and Talent Development for the 2012-2013 school year.

    There is no need for an immediate closure of Crane in order for the Talent Development Charter High School to be locate there next school year. CPS has unfortunately made the Crane closure into some sort of princpled question and appears to have locked it self into this proposal. Since the Talent Development program is in fact sponsored in part by the Service Employees International Union Local 73 and the Illinois Federation of Teachers (parent organization of the CTU), it is really hard to belief that charter school is itself supportive of the current CPS proposal.

    Trying to create a popular movement for school clousures and restructuring out of thin air is absurd. If people in the communities were convinced these proposals were in the best interests of both their communities and children we would not be seeing this level of opposition to some of these proposals.

    Even if the CPS leadership and the Mayor honestly believe their proposals are in the best interests of children in these communities busing in paid people, even if they are African American, will backfire and destroy the credibility of the school district and that of Chief Turnaround Officer Fraynd. CPS sees the CTU and community based organizations out there using Saul Alinsky tactics and apparently is some how motivated to attempt to reply in kind. It doesn't work like that for public sector bureaucracies.

    This is a very sad stituation.

    Rod Estvan

  • Destroy the credibility?! What credibility?

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    The very fact that teachers and other staff who believe Mr Fraynd lacks any credibility do not put their own names on their comments effectively provides Mr. Fraynd with insulation against criticism. I know people have real concerns about their employment, but anonymous comments sometimes lack credibility in themselves.

    Also it is not possible to prove that M. Fraynd or other CPS officals corridinated the actions of the group brought by Rev. Roosevelt Watkins to the meeting. But I would unfortunately suspect that to be the case and I am putting my name on this comment. Substance to its credit has attempted to investigate that link, but so far it has not been proven.

    Rod Estvan

  • Agreed--Fraynd brought distruction to Robeson and death to febger. Why is he still at CPS? Can he not go somewhere else?

  • Does the Rev. (shame to call him that) Watkins realize he is hurting black people? Does he wish to sell his soul to the money changers in the temple?

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    There is no shame in trying to help kids out of a hell-hole where 19 of 20 cannot meet minimum state standards. Reverend Watkins is helping blacks and others by resisting the status quo that has doomed blacks to economic inequality.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    It is not the individual schools or classroom teachers that have doomed blacks to economic inequality.

  • Headache 299

    The honorable Rev Roosevelt discovered a loophole in that whole 'separation of church and state' thing, as there is no such thing as 'separation of church and charter'

    you know, 'in god trust'

  • Hay! Rev. Watkins! I hear there are some pretty good returns in the new privatization of the Pearly Gates market!

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