Should The Duncan VIP List Be Public?

All week we’ve been reading about the list that Duncan et al kept to keep track of VIP and other requests for help with competitive CPS schools, but so far at least no one’s said how the list finally got out (my guess is that it was Pickens) or whose names besides a handful of VIPs are on it.  I’ve heard a number of reasons for not releasing it, including concern for the kids whose parents or friends may have weighed in on their behalf.  And I can certainly understand why the Tribune, the only folks who seem to have the document, don’t want to give up a treasure trove of information.  But I can’t imagine that it won’t eventually get out — perhaps sooner than later — and if I were CPS I’d get it out ASAP and let this story peak and fade.    The list makes everyone look bad, even if there was no undue influence put on principals.  And I’m guessing that at some point soon there will also be pressure on the Tribune to share what they have rather than maximize their competitive advantage.  


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  • Yes, a rule in public relations is to tell the truth right away. It hits the media and is gone. If you lie or stretch it out, it festers in the news and makes everyone look back.

    I don't know...I'm wishing Arnie would come back and fix this whole Chicago schools mess.

  • Yes, the list should be made public. As the addage goes, "sunshine is the best disinfectant." I don't know if the kids would be harmed. I think we'd be amazed at how quickly children and youth come into the knowledge that their parents have clout, and can pull strings to get what they want. Just like it's valuable to learn lessons of power and politics as youngsters, its also necessary to learn lessons of cause and effect, consequences of our actions and ethics.

  • I would pay to see those lists. : )

    Last year a friend got into a highly regarded magnet off the "wait list" early in the summer (June). Her number was in the upper 30s. At that same school's open house the next year, I stood next to a man who asked how high into the wait list they've ever gone. The principal responded that it was an unusual year, due to the economy and people leaving the city. So, the principal said they went as high as 24 and that they accepted people as late as September.

    I just swallowed and turned around and left. Of course, there could have been race-based criteria at that point? This person's memory could be off? Not sure. Quite possible. They may not have wanted to admit that such a highly sought-after school would have to go so high into the waitlist. That's another possibility.

    But I would have loved to have seen the list to know the truth.

  • more names on the VIP list, including some who say they don't remember making any calls and those who think there's nothing wrong with making an extra effort.,0,5387658.column

  • if there's nothing wrong with the lists then why is david pickens gone all of a sudden?,minniefield-cut-CPS-budget-cuts-032710.article

  • former trib honcho james warren says that parents are going to do whatever they can to get their kids into popular schools and that the list is no big deal... only later coming down on duncan's failure to clean up the system and the underlying problems regarding chicago schools

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I think my problem here is with the parents on these lists. Kids should make "it" on their own merits alone...whether it's acceptance to a particular school, a grade, or a job. I believe a parents job is to give kids the tools to succeed and instill in them their own drive, and let the kids flourish (or fail sometimes) all on their own. Shame on these parents for not doing their jobs and not believing in their children.

  • In reply to jtithof:

    I meant "a parent's job"

  • In reply to jtithof:

    Washington Post's Valerie Strauss bucks trend and addresses magnet school mess and links to Democracy Now segment featuring Pauline Lipman and Jitu Brown

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Where's the meat?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    What a mess....I'm just glad it's all coming to light.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    edweek has an AP story here about the situation, quoting dick simpson and others saying that as long as there was nothing heavy handed duncan will be ok politically.

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