Budget Roundtable - Schmidt Control?

Here's the video of last night's WTTW roundtable on the budget proposal, featuring Sharkey, Lenz, and Cawley.  But where was George Schmidt, and can CTU control him before he wrecks the good progress they've been making?

George Schmidt got all dressed up to appear on the segment but was rejected in favor of Sharkey, and some of Schmidt's allies are angry about that, which is fine but will only make folks like WTTW associate CTU with Schmidt, which is not an association anyone really wants.  This is the second time at least that we've seen CTU can't control Schmidt (Wigler is the other) and that could prove problematic for the organization moving forward.


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  • After watching the segment it is clear to me
    that George would have made mince meat out of
    Cawley. The union guy just sat there like a good
    little tool. He let the other two get in all their talking
    points without challenge bought into the scripted
    discussion and made a poor presentation
    when he was allowed to talk.
    Even I would have attacked Cawleys vision
    for a better day,and I'm nobody.

  • say what you want about george at least he aint no Brooklyn scab.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    say what you want about me but at least i'm hiding behind an anonymous comment, a fundamental misunderstanding of what the word 'scab' means, and missing the point of the post above (that defending george, or george defending himself, doesn't necessarily help CTU achieve its goals)

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    That's what the post above means? Oh. Well, that's not entirely clear. At least to anyone who isn't an "insider".

    Thanks for the clarification. If I was the CTU I'd be upset that WTTW would not allow the CTU budget expert to comment on the CTU budget. Tim Cawley is the go-to guy for the Board. The CTU should be allowed to present their go-to candidate, no matter who it is.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Stop pretending….You have made an entire career from anonymous bloggers – anonymous is your bread and butter – remove the anonymous comments and you and your blog become anonymous.

  • Apparently, WTTW rejected Mr. Schmidt's appearance. It was an "editorial" decision or some such.

    But what the heck does the rest of this post mean, Mr. Russo? I can't even piece it together into anything that makes sense. What are you getting at?


  • I'm glad they took him off. Sometimes I fear that the George Schmidt and John Kuglar's of the CTU are gonna drive this bus off a cliff. For them, it seems the only compromise is no compromise. Their fervor and marginalism is not that far off of in behaviors from the staunch tea party people. I don't care how much of an expert George is, the PR baggage he bongs to the table is outweighed by any expertise. We don't want the union leadership winning an argument against the board, we want the union leadership to show parents that we are fighting to better their children's schools. Substance News does not ever make that clear, they just attack the BOE, the mayor and any union leadership that does not subscribe to their thoughts. And the manner in which they attack is juvenile at best. Give me Ben Javorski any day of the week, or Jesse Sharky for that matter, but leave the uncontrollable pit bull named George Schmidt at home.

  • In reply to FrankThompson:

    Dear Mr.Thompson.

    One quick question

    If you were a delegate in 1776 would you have signed
    the Declaration of Independence?

  • In reply to rbusch:

    What a nonsense question.

  • In reply to FrankThompson:

    Thank you for your non-answer.
    I not like to to put people on the spot but in this case
    I made an exception.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    I not like to answer.

    Yes I would sign it. George is not one of those men. Enjoy your kool-aid.

  • In reply to FrankThompson:

    Thank you for pointing out my computer deleted the
    word "do"
    I am glad you are radical enough to side with men of
    courage and conviction.

    Actually i think Tang is a much better drink.

  • In reply to FrankThompson:

    Whether or not you like George Schmidt, his attitude, his demeanor, he would have been the most qualified guest on the panel. He has a thorough understanding of the budget, he’s not afraid to name names, and he’s not afraid to call out the bullshit when he sees it; Chicago taxpayers deserve to hear what he has to say.

  • BTW- his scan of the week "column" is pretty weak considering a scab has to belong to the union to be a scab. Just because someone disagrees with you does not make them a scab. That is asinine at best and speaks more poorly of the composer than the subject.

  • As a Chicago resident, Substance reporter, teacher, and taxpayer, I am confused about the information presented for teachers, students, and administrators in the recently unveiled Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Proposed Budget. For one, I cannot quite determine how CPS is counting teachers or adding up the total costs of our (I am a CPS teacher) salaries. In this report I attempt to explain how and why I am confused via three lessons or exercises (below). Please feel free to be confused as well and/or assist me via your input below in our comments section.

    "In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again..." (Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, Chapter One).

    You must begin with a Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Proposed Budget in front of you. How to get that, you ask? To my knowledge, you must have access to the internet via a computer. If you cannot do this, you are SOL, and I am not going to tell you exactly what that means except to say you are “out of luck.” Anyone who can find an actual copy of the budget in the places where it used to be available (your local schools; the alderman's office; the local public library), feel free to report it to Substance in a "Comment" here. But please also be precise. As far as we have been able to tell as of today (June 10, 2012), the CPS budget is only available in Cyberspace. It's as if suddenly you could read any book you wanted — provided you have a Kindle or something like it. Because all of the books and all of the libraries had suddenly been disappeared. Personally, I followed an easy link from a newspaper article someone e-mailed me. But there are other ways to get there. Start at www.cps.edu, the CPS home page. From there, click “News” to access the recent “News Release” wishfully entitled, “CPS FY 13 Budget Protects Investments in Student Achievement” (July 6, 2012). If you want to read the news release, be my guest. But as soon as you find yourself starting to overdose on the BS, scroll almost to the bottom. If you, “Dear Stakeholder,” reach the signature of Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard (written as “Jean Clu Bry”) you have gone a bit too far. Back up and choose either of the two available links: the sentence chunk “our website and for the first time the public will be able to utilize interactive tools” or (www.cps.edu/budget). Note: Do not enter this last information into a general internet search because you will not be easily led to the 2013 budget. However, entering “cps.edu/budget” into a search from the CPS home page will eventually lead to what you need to begin as well.

    With me so far? Good. Click the third rectangle to the left entitled “Interactive Reports.” You are ready!


  • In reply to district299reader:

    Libraries have Internet access. Are there a lot of people without Internet access who would want to read the CPS budget? Finally, does killing trees to print budget books seems like a good way to spend scarce CPS dollars?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I am the last to kill trees, but there is a need for a CPS paper budget because it is complicated and detailed. This could be done by request with a fee charged. Excel/online files are difficult to use and to trace. Also, it is easy to change online documents.
    When you know you have to print one, you know you will be held accountable for what you put in it. Imagine trying to print the CPS budget from a library printer!
    You cannot go through an online CPS budget, with a fine tooth comb. CPS may be counting on this!

  • CEO Brizard to Mayor Rahm: Look what I found!


  • Alexander and this blog have been the object of much hostile (and sometimes outlandish) criticism on the Substance News web site about which he is quite understandably defensive.

    And yet it is quite disappointing to read the lead for this thread. Alexander's provocation and ribbing of George Schmidt (which one can bet will be returned) completely overshadows the story of the budget. Rather, the story (like the thread title) becomes about George Schmidt.

    Frankly, Jesse Sharkey was a better choice for the interview. He has grown into the job quite well.

    For those who think--like Bob above--that George would have "made mince meat out of Cawley," I must disagree.

    First, while we'll never know for sure, I suspect that George would have been on his best behavior. He knows he represents the Union; moreover, after having been blacklisted by the media for two decades, he wouldn't have ruined his chances at ever being brought back.

    Secondly, although George is undoubtedly the most studied person the Union could find on the budget, the interview did not go into technical details. Jesse actually spoke for less than 3 minutes of the 15:10 minute segment, and he was never cut off. Granted, George would have gone on until he got cut off, but that would have happened. He wouldn't have had much more time than what Jesse did.

    Sadly, this is not the discussion we should be having. A more artful moderator would have provoked his readers to consider what this budget says about this city's priorities for educating its children.

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    As I watched the program, I found Cawley to be conciliatory as well as Sharkey. Maybe that was their point-purpose and WTTW did not know this. Lenz’ comment about who to believe was appropriate. However, as the media is starting to investigate the budget, (CPS paying police instead of instructional costs, charters getting more as they produce less, 94 more talent management folks to be hired as teachers and aides are laid off, facility supplies and repair funds and engineers pulled from neighborhood schools to destroy/crumble them further; one should believe Sharkey over Cawley.

    Cawley takes reserves to pay for LSD now, how will he pay next year?—He should be made responsible for this answer-and be held to it.

    As for George, WTTW should just invite him ALONE to their program to speak as an expert on the CPS budget. Not as CTU rep or to debate, just as a well-educated factual source on the CPS budget. WTTW has experts from UC and other media all the time—why not George?

    As a Chicago citizen and tax-payer, I would like to hear and be presented with truths about the CPS budget. George would present facts that he could prove; why would he not? George would not blow such a great opportunity to get out the truth.

    CPS gets plenty media time to present their budget and facts. As an expert here, he should get a fair shot at presenting his evaluation and history of the CPS budget. What is CPS so afraid of?

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    Dear Danaidh.

    I didn't time the discussion so I thank you for pointing that
    out for us.Both Union and Board just spewed out talking
    points.This is July already.By now the union must know
    how some schools plan to expand the longer day.In one case
    I know of the better day will be the return of that venerable course
    called study hall.I think George would have pointed that out
    and ask Mr Cawley for specific examples of this mythical
    better day.Even I would have done that.

  • Rahm’s Evil Never Sleeps


  • In reply to district299reader:

    Rahmney’s Education Policy


  • WOW==what a great read! This is worth your time--every union member must read it.
    I am going to make copies, distribute this and email it as well to friends, family and neighbors.


  • 94 more CPS talent management folks to be hired -- What is the purpose for this huge increase in HR employment? Will these workers be there to assure that MORE tenured teachers are released under the new REACH system? Two years and your out?!

  • More backwards priorities - instead of hiring nearly 100 new people to work in human resources, let's try providing much-needed resources to humans who working at teaching, learning and growing in our city's classrooms.

  • fb_avatar

    As expected, not one reference to the displaced, laid off and "honorably terminated" from either CPS or CTU. They are the collateral damage and will be thrown on the table as a bargaining chip, when needed. Let's allow the current employees to save themselves while the displaced teachers sit in the corner and be happy. The silence of all parties involved (CTU, CPS and mainstream media) is deafening. Being rid of the displaced might be the one point on which all parties agree. Just wait and see.

  • If the CTU fails to negotiate the rehiring of the displaced teachers, the ‘saved’ teachers will lose everything, and they will deserve it because they didn’t fight for those pushed into unemployment through no cause of their own…

    If a teacher is terminated, even with superior ratings and a proven track record of improving the stupid test scores, then no matter what is negotiated, all will be lost for every teacher, as they will be the termination target in the next round.

  • ask mr brooklyn if he cares. seems like he is attacking anyone that knows anything about cps corruption rather than his harvard masters.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Thank you for elevating the level of discussion here. BTW, Harvard is pretty far from Brooklyn.

  • He received his BA from Stanford University and his Master's in Education Policy from Harvard University.

  • It would be easy to dismiss Russo's screed as mere bombast, but it goes much deeper than that. Russo, despite his churlish claim that he was "not taking sides" [2], has always served as a mouthpiece for the policies and ideas of the powerful. When I and several PESJA colleagues were a little more pointed in our criticisms of Russo on Twitter, he took exception. Speaking only for my interactions, Russo accused me of misplaced anger (there's anger, but it isn't misplaced). When I reminded him of his continual kowtowing to power he wrote "you obviously don't read my blog or know my views the labels dont fit." Russo's assertion (much to my chagrin) is patently false, not only do I occasionally read his blog, I periodically post comments there.

    [2] PURE's Julie Woestehoff's response to Russo on this gets to the heart of the matter. She says 'You can't claim you're "not taking sides" when you call one side of the debate "reform opponents" and "reform critics." Deb Meier correctly comments about your "reformy types" that "they have the daily regular media as their constant blog site."'

  • PBS,

    Thanks to viewers like you,
    the following censored program contains no singing cats.

    No dancing babies.

    No dramatic chipmunks.

    And no one gets
    hit with the truth

    Thanks to viewers like you,
    and guests like Tim Cawley
    the best censored shows on television…
    …are also the best censored shows
    on the internet.

    Help us keep it that way.

    Give to your
    PBS station today.

    It’s as easy as clicking
    the “Donate” button.


  • All you George apologists, like he is any better. Look, I never agree with Chris R. on anything he has to say in any forum at all but i know for a fact he posted on substance news in the comments section and his comment was pulled. He used his full name and i can only assume his proper email, yet George pulled the comment. it wasn't mean spirited, factually incorrect or anything. what goes around comes around, George, and as long as you act like a petulant child then the adults in the media will want nothing to do with you.

    Hey Bob, if your crazy uncle wanted to take you for a long drive off a short cliff, would you jump onboard?

  • Frank.
    I had 5 uncles who were real men.If they wanted to go to hell
    I would drive them

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