Rahm Vs. Arne

Politico picks up on one of the Emanuel quotes slamming Arne Duncan in last week’s Jonathan Alter piece, in which Emanuel complains about the current teacher contract:  ‘I know what the teachers got, and I know what the politicians got… But I don’t know what the kids got.’  Of course, we all know it was City Hall, not CPS, making the deal, and that Daley wasn’t the first supposedly reform-minded mayor to cut a deal with labor (Bloomberg did much the same thing to Kline in New York City.)


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  • meh...there is no feud between Emanuel and Duncan. These two creeps are all about turning public education into a for-profit venture. They're on the same team- the 1%ers. They both understand they have to shoot off at the mouth from time to time in order to appear to be tough and/or independent. They could care less about truly improving urban education. Anybody who works with children knows that.

  • It will be very interesting to see how Duncan's rhetoric changes after the election in November. Currently Duncan has trotted out the RESPECT initiative which he crowed about to Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. (See my blog for more details and links to the three interviews on-line www.everyteacherleftbehindblog.com) He and his basketball buddy Obama have not done right by teachers and they look as if they are back-pedaling as they head toward the fall election.

    Emanuel, well he is all about saving money so he can pay ASUL and all the other edu-capitalists. Evidently he has no interest in another term, mayor of Chicago may well be just a stepping stone... to where I have no idea. it just doesn't make sense to slam his way through office. Look where it got him in D.C.

  • Completely AGREE that Obama / Duncan are trying to make up for 3 years of teacher bashing, all of a sudden sounding like THEIR policies have not been the MOST toxic to education in the last 3 years.
    TOO LATE ! They did not stick up when that East coast district fired every teacher, or any number of other policies that Duncan has imported nationwide after failing with them in Chicago. I don't have any problems with memory .... and in Nov., I'm NOT voting for Obama.

  • In reply to 30-Yr. Vet:

    If not Obama, then which candidate? I am sure Willard Romney will be best friends with the unions, right?

  • Name the first politician who truly understands that a free public education is the backbone of America. But now profits come first. We all will pay for this soon.

  • In reply to livefreechicago:

    Profits? What profits?

  • In reply to Donn:

    Noble as well as the entire hysteric media created charter school movement be the next Enron/Worldcom...but on a far more heart wrenching scale Donn.

    Legislate parenting.

  • In reply to district299reader:


  • In reply to district299reader:


    Actually, "heart wrenching" makes more sense: to hurt something by twisting it.

    Of course the rant of which it was a part is simply nonsensical.

    There are no for-profit charter schools in Chicago.

    Every politician understands that "a free public education is the backbone of America." That's why we spend over $5 billion a year to operate schools in this city.

    The charter school movement is the next Enron? Please, grow up.

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    The basic elements of white collar crime are incentive,opportunity,rationalization and capability...
    combined with a lack of oversight...Enron.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Profits? Ask Juan Rangel about his salary. Ask yourself when Wall St. has ever invested so heavily in anything that didnt eventually promise a significant return.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    His salary has been reported in the neighborhood of $300K. Not quite Wall Street standards I am afraid.

  • In reply to WestLooper:

    No, not Wall Street standards. But significantly more than the CPS CEO salary. CPS CEO manages 600+ schools. Juan Rangel manages 12 schools. Hmm.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Is JCB underpaid or is JR overpaid?

  • In reply to WestLooper:

    I choose all of the above. Both JC Blizzard and Juan Rangel are both overpaid. I suspect you are too, WestLooper.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You realize that UNO does more than operate charter schools, right? The organization has been around since 1984, 13 years before the first charter school opened in Chicago.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I just don't get why money folks like Penny Pritzker get so involed in "public" education? What drives these people? Can dots be connected?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Penny isn't interested in education or the lives of children. She is a blue blood who owns a vast amount of property. She, like the other Wall St. "benefactors" see public education as the next big cash cow. They will rape the system for whatever they can, and walk away trillionaires. When will Americans learn to distrust the obscenely wealthy. They are capitalists first and Americans last.

  • A tweet just received from the home of Rahm's vile 'secret sauce' factory. When will this travesty end?

    As of this morning, Noble seniors have earned over 4,000 college acceptance letters.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Why does the "sauce" have to be secret? Because there would be outrage if the public found out how charters have gamed the system and cooked the books.

    These are essentially magnet schools that have been turned over to eduprenuers. If the students at Noble were educated by real teachers (not 26 year olds who will quit in a few years) they would probably achieve at a much higher level.

  • In reply to Donn:

    City colleges of Chicago, Moraine Valley Community College,
    Chicago state university, University of Illinois all three branches,
    Grambling state University, Jackson state University, Howard University,
    Hampton Institute, Jackson state University. Selected Hampton .
    Bogan IB student ACT score 30 4.3 Gpa. Nine letters of
    acceptance and a full academic ride.
    Nice to see the alternate school system thought up a new
    marketing gimmick.

  • In reply to Donn:

    That is great! What percentage of the 4,000 letters were to 4 year universites?

  • You're smart Donn...and you appeared out
    of no where...all of sudden ...minister/paid plant like...please don't track my IP...I've got mouths to feed and cant afford working in a Noble environment.

    Four CEO's and countless curriculums/reform initiatives later...

    I was born to do this.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Can I get paid? I may need to tone down the sarcasm to get paid. Do I just invoice Rahm, or some shady privatization contractor?

  • Donn is actually doing his side a disservice by being such an vehement fanboy/lackey. He is defending the undefendable and has been so thoroughly eviscerated that he is now reduced to chanting the weak mantra of "Noble St, Noble St, Noble St." Given that Noble St. has achieved mediocre results despite countless unfair advantages, Donn will soon have not one leg to stand on. Nevertheless, he will continue to regurgitate the baseless bs fed to him by Master Emanuel.

    I do enjoy his dumb posts though. It is good for those of us who actually choose to work with children to have such ignorant and vocal opposition. Like Dr. Cheatham and JC Blizzard he will continue to spout inanities. The public is catching on even if the Trib isn't.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I was not moved to respond before to Donn the commentor - who's obviously a smart, educated, engaged, and connected guy or gal - but it's become very clear that he or she has never, ever had to teach a group of 30+ students or sped students in a general CPS school and ensure each student learns. That, at least, frames his or her pov.

  • I've still got my 7/63 and watch the walls crumble with glee in your "corporate" nirvana from my lofty corner classroom overlooking bronzville...you'll see Glass Stegall again.

    Why didn't you become a teacher?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Hi ACT and ambition.
    I would be bored with the repetition of teaching full time. Plus who really enjoys other peoples teenagers all day five days a week?

  • In reply to Donn:

    You really have no idea what it is that teachers do each day if you consider what they do is "repetition".

  • In reply to Donn:

    Noble Street teachers LOVE their students 5 days a week plus some Saturdays. The deficit of love provided by regular CPS teahers destroys countless lives.

  • I'm getting paid to teach kids Donn!
    Can you get me a residency waiver so my kids don't have to go to Noble?

  • The master plan is working!

  • In reply to Donn:

    Yes, CTU's master plan to reveal the vacancy of Emanuel/Brizard/Duncan's bogus privatization agenda is coming to fruition. The public doesn't support corporate reform. Even the astroturfers have begun to pack it in under CTU's onslaught of truth. The eduprenuers may have a few more puppets in the Illinois Houe, but the masses can see through the schemes and lies of the 1%.

  • And no one can remove you from the class without fear of reprisal Donn...welcome to CPS!

  • Headache299
    And why are charters regularly reported on Market Watch?

  • I think Donn is a valuable addition to this blog, and of course I don’t agree with many of his arguments. His perspectives reflect those of many educated citizens in our city and nation. As to the issue of whether or not there is a direct profit motive in relation to charter schools or for that matter voucher proposals I think the question is somewhat more complex than has been discussed so far. Clearly, promoting charter schools for the Gates Foundation is not based on making more money; I think we all know that Mr. Gates and his wife can find far more lucrative investments than that as they have proven.

    What this is about is ideology, it’s about a core value in American society that argues that there is a direct correlation between effectiveness of any entity and market competition. Therefore, in the minds of many corporate leaders and a number of economists the introduction of multiple forms of educational ventures is simply a positive good. This drive is based in good part by the decline in the fortunes of the United States as a world economic power and the fiscal pressures that public education bring on governments on state and local levels. The assumption is all will be well or at least better if there is increased competition to drive down costs and a big part of that cost factor are teachers wages. I believe this is a deeply flawed perspective and as you can imagine I am going to tell you all why.

    It’s flawed because our nation has been through this all before. As we all should be aware when our nation was created and the Constitution written there is zero federal role in relation to education. That is not because the states were already doing it, it was because education was not viewed as a public process, it was a private process for those who could afford it and needed to be literate in order to run both commercial and agricultural businesses. With the rise of industrialization and the need for greater innovation that system simply could not provide the numbers of literate and mathematically competent individuals necessary to drive our rising economy.

    In the early 1800s the private sector tried to fill this role and the original charter schools were created on the east coast and some were given funds by the various legislatures of the states. As I have pointed out before the very first publicly funded school in Chicago was in effect as charter school that the Chicago Council paid tuition to for some children whose families could not afford the tuition. This approach proved to be a failure and it lead to the creation of the common school on our nation’s east coast.

    Like the failure of our nation’s early attempt to create a privately based education system with various funding mechanisms for the poor, so too will the current movement towards privatization via charters and vouchers ultimately fail. It will fail because education is an expensive proposition and it is very difficult if not impossible to create a reasonable rate of return on private investments without massive public subsides to these schools. We see this today in relation to the for-profit private college system that lives off federally guaranteed student loans and publicly supported grants to students. So in order to balance the books eventually funds will be reduced that are provided to these privatized schools and many will collapse.

    Unfortunately, I believe that traditional public schools in many areas of our nation will have to be destroyed and the charter/voucher options will have to collapse under their own economic dynamics before the current waive of privatization ends. Since I am rapidly approaching 60 years old I do not expect to live long enough to see this process to its conclusion. Right now there are almost no for-profit educational management organizations (EMOs) that are actually making money. There are textbook publishing (including e-textbooks), testing, and information technology firms that are making money, however. But they make their money from both privatized schools and traditional schools. They are wisely staying out of actually running EMOs.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I have a simpler, much less "corporate" analogy for the motivations of school reformers: Trench warfare in WWI.
    Trench warfare became so bad that leaders were willing to try just about anything to change the style of warfare.
    The CTU have become trench warfare experts. Their idea of improvement is to make life somewhat better for everyone in the trenches. That was acceptable to society when the people in power believed that fundamentally all those poor brown and black people were less capable than the white folk. But now the same progressive belief system that accepted Obama as a suitable president does not accept the status quo in the schools system. Many CTU members seem to take comfort in believing that most school reformers are the same wackados who watch Fox News. Sorry, we're sane and, more often than not, left-leaning.
    CTU members are also not experts in building effective low income schools. Very few educators have demonstrated that ability. CTU members are in a position to have highly informed opinions. But these opinions, for several understandable reasons, also tend to be biased and myopic. Life in the trench is hard.
    CTU's job one is to protect it's members. But the rest of society doesn't rely on a school paycheck and doesn't have risk in advocating change.
    I don't know anyone who believes the primary problem is union teachers who don't work hard enough. Many teachers tend to automatically translate any push to reform into a personal attack. In fact, many of the narratives I read here and elsewhere about "corporate privatization" explain the lack of support for teachers unions from across the political spectrum. There's a choice between the Klonsky-esque echo chamber and looking more closely at the real people and organizations that are part of Chicago school reform.

  • Rod,

    The funny thing is that one can argue that the deregulation of the 80s led to our decline as a world economic power.

    Neoliberalism is a flawed perspective because it is based on the idea of fairness and the assumption that we are all starting from an equal footing. Through open markets, competition, and privatization it consolidates power and wealth.

    The deregulation of schools via charters ultimately does the same thing. As the charter industry grows we're seeing more and more proof that they are being selective in order to increase efficiency (i.e. scores). When controlled for socioeconomic status, charters are about equal to what we already have. Basically it's not working because education is not a business, it's more complicated due to our diversity and history, but the ideology of those in charge is treating it like it is.

    I think the Gates' heart is in the right place, but ultimately they are not experts in education policy, but they do command a lot of influence and respect. If you look at their track record in regards to the small schools movement in which they were largely a part of, when the research came out showing that they weren't effective (in the US), they pulled out. Meaning that many small schools that started were now going to lose their Gates Foundation funding. Essentially they are experimenting with our kids in order to solve a seriously complicated issue without seeming to understand the collateral damages they may cause.

  • Good discussion Eric and Rod,

    I understand ideology is involved to a certain extent. Are profits also involved? I see so many stories about these charter school "founders," "CEOs," and various co-workers making 5 times the salary of a principal. There seem to be a number of education "consultant" firms and technology firms, etc, popping up every day. Many of them connected to the already well - connected. Seems like I read not too long ago that one of the Pritzkers recently opened a real estate company that was to work to find space for new schools. Others have mentioned here that many of these schools or school groups are listed on Market Watch, etc. I recall Chris Whittle of the Edison Schools saying many years ago that education was going to be the next avenue to open up to business. With all of this, is it mainly about ideology? No snarkiness intended nor needed in reply. Just enjoying this discussion and would like some clarification.

  • In reply to tayale2:

    At this point in time the EMOs that are in the for profit K-12 sector are not making money and the not for profit entities, which are the vast majority, can't legally generate a profit. Since tayale2 references Edision it is worth discussing, its stock was publicly traded on the NASDAQ for four years. The company reported only one profitable quarter while it was publicly traded.After reaching a high of close to USD$40 per share in early 2001, shares fell to 14 cents. Also in 2001, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged that Edison failed to disclose that as much as 41 percent of its revenue that year consisted of money that it never saw: $154 million. By 2002, Edison was courting Roger Milliken for a possible bailout. The company was eventually taken private in 2003, in a buyout facilitated by Liberty Partners on behalf of the Florida Retirement System, which handles pension investments for the state's public school teachers; The deal valued the company at $180 million or $1.76 per share. The three pension fund trustees at the time that endorsed the deal were: Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist, Florida Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, and Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

    Edison is now privately held, but it is believed widely that has not made a profit for the last 4 years and has been relying heavily on Liberty Partners for financial support. Over the last few years, Liberty Partners has replaced the senior leadership in hopes for making the company profitable, if they are now making money it can't be much.

    But tayale2's point about salaries for officials in privatized schools is of course not an illegitimate concern at all. But if we look at the salary levels for controlling officials of charter school networks and compare them to Superintendents of comparable sized traditional public school districts, you will find that the public school Superintendents will on average make more money.

    For example in 2010 Nobel Street Charter School CEO Michael Milkie was being paid $208,576 in total compensation. At that time Nobel Street Charter had an enrollment of 5,200 students. [see http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/chicago/education-and-literacy/noble-network-of-charter-schools-in-chicago-il-15100] A reasonable comparison would be with Joliet Township High School District 204's Superintendent who in 2010 was Paul Swanstrom. The district's enrollment was 5,800 and the Superintendent's total compensation was $269,929.

    While your average teacher might think $208,576 is a pile of money its actually not for someone who runs an educational operation the size of Nobel Street based on average salaries around Illinois. Mr. Milkie was paid 22.8% less than the Superintendent of Joliet Township High School District 204 and Nobel Street's standardized test scores are somewhat better than those of District 204. When I left my job as a senior officer with a Chicago based commodities firm in May 1992 to teach at Calumet High School I was in fact making more in total compensation inclusive of bonus payments than either Mr. Milkie or Swanstrom were in 2010. (And yes my colleagues at the firm thought I was insane.)

    Don't get me wrong I am not saying that there have not been cases where charter school administrators or for that matter Superintendent's of tradition public school districts have not pilfered funds, but those cases are actually pretty rare. Privatized school leaders are not walking around with bags of cash under each arm on their way to the bank, nor are they monks living on bread and water either.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to tayale2:

    There are so many parallels between the "open competition" in public education today and the healthcare market of the past 30 years. And, look where that's got us with healthcare. Hmmm.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The best health care system in the world?

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    For some. Tiers again? Access?

  • In reply to tayale2:


    I think your question is absolutely part of the discussion. Many times money is the main issue when talking about charters, which in my opinion fails to address the issue in it's entirety.

    People adopt an ideology because they believe they know what is the right way. Inherent in that is power, and the way we keep power in this country is through political influence via money. This is why Gates Foundation is able to have influence. Privatization (reframed as "choice") is a way to get public funds for private goods. The neoliberal ideology believes that everything should be privatized and the ultimate goal is to maximize profits. Efficiency. Kids aren't machines or markets, and education is extremely complex when you take into account all of the diverse backgrounds.

    It doesn't take into account the common good, which is essential when we talk about public education. In theory, we want all kids to succeed so they can contribute to our system with knowledge, taxes, etc.

    On top of that we have businessmen and a business mindset taking over education. We have a CEO instead of a superintendent. Our states have to "Race to the Top" to compete for funding. We are used to 6-figure salaries for businessmen, this is the norm, it is also the norm that teachers will not make 6-figures because they are public sector workers who get our tax dollars.

    Many of us would be shocked if a public school official other than CEO made as much as Juan Rangel (UNO=9 schools), who interesting to note, makes more than Rahm and Brizard (CPS=675 schools). I'm all for him making money, but on the condition that his schools are successful and all of our kids have access to that success since he gets public funding, which is not the case if we talk about lotteries, counseling out, and push outs.

    There are serious gender implications in the attack on public education and teachers. Our country values the idea of a savvy businessman (typically men) while it devalues the professionality and expertise of teachers (typically women).

  • In reply to Eric:

    Thank you. I wonder why no one mentions the mysogyny.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Cause it would make them question themselves.

  • fb_avatar

    What is the date that you are told on whether or not your are being renewed for next school year? Can someone help? Thanks!

  • In reply to CPS Teacher:

    I think principals had to turn their list into CPS a couple of weeks ago.

  • In reply to CPS Teacher:

    You will not be notified until May.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I know of teachers who were not notified until the last day of school.

  • These broad comments lack context.

    Charters are supported to find better models for failed urban education systems. The classic public school model with union teachers works fine for the middle class and better. Charters may have alternate models for atypical middle class youth. But few people believe Naperville students need public school choice.

    Many in the CTU seem to have gotten intellectually numb to the pitiful condition of most CPS schools. It's easier to believe it's about ideology than addressing the cognitive dissonance associated with difficult change.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Charters are not a solution for most poor kids- they filter and kick out most students who are ever so-slightly difficult. They are essentially public parochial schools. There is no reason that magnet and selective enrollment schools- not charters- could not be utilized to meet the needs of most charter students. They are more innovative, stable, and educationally sound. Charter students attending magnets would have more experienced teachers and an education that goes beyond charters' test prep mania.

    The real motives behind charters are breaking the union, reducing costs, and eventually turning urban public education into a for-profit venture. If you trust Wall St. investors with our schools and children you are very naive.

  • In reply to Donn:


    Take a failing school like Calumet or Fenger, apply the
    business model, fire every adult in the building. Install
    new teachers a new administration and remove the troublemakers
    and what do you get. You get chaos ,this not from the media but from
    the weak and idealistic teachers who jumped ship for a better birth.
    The alternate school network is worst .They just adapted the old
    Catholic school model of discipline added to a quick push out for those students
    The sainted teachers could not handle. Or the old sixth grade trick
    When they realize that little Sally is really an idiot and dump her
    to a real public school.
    The Public school model works best of all. Select the students
    Hand pick the unionized teachers enforce discipline and academic
    Policies and what do you get? Young, Nothhside Prep ,Payton
    Jones and Brooks. Install IB programs in neighborhood schools
    and you get Kids with ACT scores of 30.

  • In reply to Donn:

    They only lack context cause you fail to see I've addressed Gates, charters, UNO, CEO, and our Mayor, all within the context of Chicago public education.

    Charters are the resulting compromise of Democrats to Republicans who wanted vouchers (by the way, these don't work either, see Milwaukee).

    They were also originally intended to be free of bureaucracy to allow them to be innovative, but little to no innovation has come from them, and academically, in general, they are not outperforming what we already had.

    One positive in my opinion is how they are able to raise funds from the private sector. These funds are seriously needed throughout the entire system. The problem is that they come with strings attached. They want business-like efficiency like 100% graduation rates. That's just unrealistic, unless you push out the bad seeds, which goes against equality and the common good, two major tenets of the US.

    This is why people are sooo pissed. The money they get would have been better spent on fixing the schools that were already underfunded. There are serious consequences when schools are closed and kids have to cross through unfamiliar neighborhoods or gang territories to get to a new school.

  • I think there are a lot of noble causes that attract the attention of philanthropic groups. Someone has a better idea to cure the ills of the world, and attempting to improve urban education seems to be one of those. I know that many who contribute to this blog must think that they have a better way or a better idea. It seems that the ones opening schools are the ones who have convinced others that they have a better and more innovative way of running a school. I suppose that's the same deal with vendors, who purport to make a profit - they have convinced educators that their goods and services are better and more innovative than the schmo who just walked out the door. To the victor belongs the spoils.

  • In reply to LTwain:


    I don't pretend to know the solution, but I do know what is wrong. No one has convinced the educators that charters are better. Their voice is rarely heard or listened to in CPS initiatives.

    The problem is that the educators (and parents) have been removed from the decision-making and conversation, in order to listen to the philanthropists. Would you get a physical from someone whose only qualification is that they are successful in banking?

    Look at the major gains made in medical research. Billions of philanthropic dollars are a major reason, but at the end of the day, doctors and scientists are the ones in charge of the direction, research, testing, and implementation behind that money.

    Why should non-educators run education?
    Teachers are the only ones in this conversation that are qualified and credentialed to educate. Maybe we could get better teachers by making the credentialing process stricter, but charter advocates have made it easier to get into teaching through alternative certification programs.

    I saw an ad on the bus that said "WANT TO BE A TEACHER?" which had a bullet point that read "Take accelerated classes." Would anyone allow accelerated classes to certify a cop, lawyer, nurse, or doctor?

  • The kids got 5 years of stability. With what your doing we're facing year after year of instability. Arne didn't get such a bad deal.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Stability is not important to CPS. In less than two years we have had PM's supported by PPs based on BP's which need the help of CRS that is facilitated by the CFP which has been nudged over by CC but before that can be assessed, teachers will have to deal with the PARCC and QI3 which just happened.

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