UNO Charter Schools Reform Chairman Resigns Abruptly After 3 Months!

UNO Charter Schools Reform Chairman Resigns Abruptly After 3 Months!

Imagine that – UNO Reform Chairman Resigns Abruptly After 3 Months! Well folks, somehow that news just doesn’t surprise me and the official statement by Martin Cabrera Jr. that he was leaving “because of a difference of philosophy and mission” was not only expected by me but something of a validation in what I had posted before. In short, so long as CEO Juan Rangel was left at the helm of the politically influential United Neighborhood Organization and its Charter School System, things just weren’t ever going to change there.

That’s the difference of philosophy isn’t it?

But Juan Rangel was allowed to stay at the helm because of his tight ties to clout; i.e. Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, City of Chicago Alderman Edward M. Burke and an oblivious Governor Pat Quinn. Of course the political arrangement between these people has always been something of a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” as Juan Rangel is one hell of political fundraiser and has resisted using his political influence to turn the tables on the Old Guard Aldermen who still maintain control over wards with mostly Hispanic populations.

Call it what you will, but I call it the Chicago Way of Doing Business.

And doing business is what it has been all about before it was discovered that two brothers of former UNO executive Miguel d’Escoto had received some $8.5 million dollars worth of business  from a $98 million school construction state grant. The grant, which according to the Chicago Sun-Times, “is the largest subsidy in the country to a charter operator” and does not include the tens of millions of dollars from the Chicago Public School System to educate mostly Hispanic students.

This despite the fact the Chicago Public School System must deal with millions upon millions of dollars in budget deficits and forced into having to close many of their neighborhood schools this year.

I don’t know folks, but I don’t think brand new charter schools are really all that necessary when there is more than enough space available in empty school buildings. And what about this latest furor surrounding pension payments as UNO have allegedly not contributed their fair share into the Teachers Pension Fund despite receiving millions from both the State of Illinois and the Chicago Public Schools?

Seems to me the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) want to have their cake and eat it too. But I have a real problem with a Charter School System that educates Latino’s exclusively and then demands excessive public tax dollars to do so. The way I see it, since UNO is a for profit charter school system they should be bound by the very same funding rules other parochial and/or private schools operate under.

Look I don’t have a problem with Hispanics wanting to but separate but equal, but that isn’t how this works. They should be charging tuition just like their counterparts must do. And if they don’t like it, well there are plenty of empty school buildings waiting to be repopulated under the Chicago Public Schools umbrella. And if they want to use their political clout to get school district lines redrawn to ensure those schools are for Hispanics only, well, I am sure good old Eddy Burke and Maddy will be more than happy to help.

But don’t burden the taxpayers of the state in the process. And that is exactly what they are doing. They are siphoning-off funds from both the Chicago Public Schools as well as every other school district in the State of Illinois.

Matter of fact NO “for profit charter school system” should be subsidized by the taxpayer. They are private institutions and if the wealthy and politically influential people like the Pritzker Family want to partake in the business they can also establish endowments for the needy they choose to bestow a charter education upon. And believe me the Pritzker Family can more than afford it given the slap on the hand Penny Pritzker got for her part in the sub-prime mess.

Of course I suppose that a for profit education and being Commerce Secretary are, um, synergies?

But if after you read the Rick Perlstein expose’ on Penny Pritzker’s Commerce Part One and Part Two and you don’t agree with me that there is something very interesting as to why Penny Pritzker is bent on pushing Charter Schools, well then I guess you just don’t understand how they operate. Or want to.

But here is the bottom-line folks, for profit charter schools aren’t the end all to be all. At least not when it comes to providing an overwhelmingly better education despite the media hype. There really doesn’t seem to be any definitive data or proof supporting the notion that charter schools are any better at providing a quality education over that of a public school.

Let’s face it a  great school is a great school and a bad school is a bad school. And providing a quality education almost always invariably comes down to the investment made in the quality of the teachers and the resources given them to do their jobs! But don’t try to convince UNO or other for profit school systems otherwise because they know better right?

Well at least they get that whole clout and nepotism part right.

And there is a lot of money in that!

Isn’t there?


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