Sob Stories, Union Hypocrisy

Sob Stories, Union Hypocrisy

Seriously, these school closing stories.  Does every media outlet in Chicago have to do them?  I guess so. Also:  More budget cut anecdotes — in news coverage and in the comments.  And:  Emanuel is in Israel, and Lewis suddenly wants CPS to be popular like the Cubs — after having spent the past year bashing its management.

She blames budget cuts and school closings and gang violence on City Hall, which is of course her right.  But observers like me blame her for future enrollment drops and educator departures caused by her relentless (and sometimes ridiculous) teardown of everyone involved with the school system who isn’t a classroom teacher. CPS doesn’t get popular like the Cubs while one of its biggest players is spending all her time complaining to the press about how badly run the team is.


School year ends with sit-in at one school Chicago Tribune:  For the most part, the school year ended Wednesday without a hitch, although a small group of activists staged a sit-in for several hours at one of the schools being closed by the Chicago Public Schools.

Pepper Spray At Elementary School Sends 9 Kids To Hospital Chicagoist:  “This was an unfortunate accident and school officials took the appropriate steps this afternoon,” Chicago Public Schools spokesman Becky Carroll told NBC.

As school shuts, kids worry about what’s next Tribune: After 119 years, school’s out forever at West Pullman Elementary. On Wednesday, seventh-grader Willie Cooper and his classmates walked out of the Far South Side school, one of 49 elementary schools the city is shutting down, for the last time.

A child’s view of CPS’s historic school closings: ‘I just don’t get it, I don’t get it at all’ Sun Times:  The emotional note would describe how one child felt to be swept up in one of the nation’s largest mass school closings, starting Wednesday with King and 27 other Chicago Public Schools. Fighting tears, she, like many other children Wednesday, called her school a second home. Parents, teachers and children across the city shared the pain.

Final hours at Bontemps Elementary WBEZ: Principal Allen Mosley did not stay home from school the day he fell down the stairs at home. He showed up to school with a broken rib.


Shoesmith Principal Cuts Science Program to Pay for Toilet PaperDNAI: Kenwood elementary school is also losing Spanish after CPS slashed $66,000 from budget.

Brown: New CPS budgeting formula means real cuts — and pain — at schools Chicago Sun-Times:  Lost in the continued angst over school closings, many surviving Chicago Public Schools are facing painful budget cuts that may end up eliminating more jobs and disrupting more students than did even the closings. These cuts coincide with introduction …

CPS Inspector General probes school-lunch deal Crain’s Chicago Business:  For the second time in two years, Chicago Public Schools’ $100-million-a-year food-services operation is being probed for alleged improprieties. School officials are confirming that they’ve asked CPS Inspector General James Sullivan to review a recent …


Lewis: Loyalty to public schools should rival that of Cubs fans WBEZ:Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis wants people to rally around the city’s public schools like loyal Chicago Cubs fans.

The unexcused absence??? Chicago Sun-Times: Translation: Rahm was skiing in Utah when the Chicago Public Schools board announced in March that they would be shutting 54 schools. ◇ Translation 2: Rahm is now conveniently in Israel with a bevy of celebs.



Pass or Fail for the Chicago Public Schools? Chicago Tribune: The newsmaker onstage at Tuesday evening’s Chicago Forward was Chicago Public Schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett. But at the center of her discussion with Editorial Page Editor Bruce Dold were questions Chicagoans and others had about the future of

Teacher Training & Evaluation WTTW:   Dozens of Chicago Public Schools close for the last time — and hundreds of teachers may not return. Read a report on national teacher quality.

Filed under: Daily News Roundup


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  • Gosh, you seem so alien and disconnected from the Chicago education scene.

  • Karen Lewis dosen't make policy. She didnt close 50 schools or slash budgets 25% across the board. This was city hall. If she is wrong russo, give a counter argument. She speaks the truth and because her platform allows for that to happen dosent mean she is "bashing management" CPS lies in every press release, investigate russo you have a platform too.

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    Agreed, Sticky Fingers. Russo likes to throw bombs at the CTU and Lewis for being critical of the CPS, but as you correctly point out, she ain't lyin'

    But every time I ask for evidence of what problems the CTU or Lewis are responsible for he does not respond.

    How about it Alex? What exactly is Lewis responsible for in this fiasco, and when has she ever lied about how screwed up CPS is?

  • Alexander,

    Have you forgotten Rahm's "the teachers gave the kids the shaft", the refusal to give negotiated raises, but found $70 million to give to the CPD (new practice), Rahm's behind the scenes (tough guy) moves to change State laws on teacher strikes, and continuing efforts to take over the pension fund, BBB's lies about providing resources for kids, as CPS closes schools, fires staff, and cuts school budgets, and the steady drumbeat from Rahm's plutocrat friends, who are obsessed with the "evil union bosses" ( being immersed in the corporate world leaves them clueless about democratic processes that elect people like Karen Lewis). Your expression, "relentless teardown" is much better suited to City Hall's treatment of public school teachers.

  • You have a link to your quote of Rahm saying "the teachers gave the kids the shaft"?

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    Certainly Donn:

  • Do you really think Lewis is responsible for future enrollment drops?! CPS is doing it's best at this right now by being totally and completely incompetent at running a school district having NOTHING to do with the CTU. I love it when folks give undue power to the union and our representatives. If we really had that much influence do you think we'd be in the situation we're in right now? Think what you like about Karen Lewis. Feel your White guilt because because she's calling out the White men in power (truthfully). Call her names. But don't blame her or the city's teachers for the district's woes. When you do that it just reminds everyone here that you know next to nothing about how things actually work around here.

  • What a long strange trip it's been. Best of wishes and luck to my brothers and sisters who work everyday in Chicago classrooms. Who chose this profession, not as an opportunity to gain wealth but because somewhere in our past the actions and dedication of a teacher impacted us in a way that made us chose this profession for ourselves. Those of us who have been around to see a countless barrage of programs all professing to be the proverbial silver bullet for urban education all the while asking and advocating for real change. May you share the pride of what we do everyday and the impact we make. This is Russo's blog and therefore a place for his opinion but the commentary about an overzealous news media covering school closings while countless children are displaced and people now become unemployed is just too much opinion for me. "Seriously, these school closing stories. Does every media outlet in Chicago have to do them?" That's just a little too low for me. Adios.

  • Alex, we know you're just a blogster, but why did you have to choose Weekly World News legend Ed Anger to emulate as a journalist? Shoot higher, Beardo.

    Second of all, you've previously admitted your all about getting more website hits. Charter eduprenuers, "reformers", and their supporters are a small demographic, while teachers and supporters of real education are a much larger group.

    I know, I know, poke 'em with a cyber stick, and watch them react. It may get you page views, but it isn't moral. Have you considered including mugshots, or "click thru" top ten lists, or even porno on your blog? They are all proven ways to increase views and would be much more ethical than your played-out schtick.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I think it's old too. The removed attitude, sarcasm, and digs are not substitutes for actually providing some analysis and trying to get a feel for what's going with the stakeholders in this debate. Thankfully there are some commenters that post valuable information and analysis.

    And I think Karen Lewis was trying to make the point that we should spend some of our energy as a city making sure that the next generation is provided a good education and that communities are supported. How on earth can anyone claim that CPS, the Board of Ed and our Mayor are doing this? Yes, there are budgets to contend with, but it sure as heck didn't have to go down like this.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Well said. 2 out of every three posts go days with no responses anymore, unless Russo himself tries to goose them up so it looks like someone read them and commented.

    Myself, if you had a point of view with any analysis behind it, I might respect it and move on but as it stands, many of the people who used to contribute information and viewpoints of value have long ago been chased out - from the system where they (not you) reported backstage goings-on, or from this forum, of which you are as poor a moderator as you are a commentator, and allow vitriol that matches or surpasses your own, again in an attempt to give the appearance that intelligent converse is occurring. At this point, I only check in and scan the comment feed on the right hand column to see if Retired Principal or Rod have spoken up on an issue, and will stop to read their comments. Most of the rest, and all from you, Alex is just ire fueling the fire...

  • Karen Lewis' speech to the City Club was a stomach turning racist rant. She argued that City taxpayers won't pay more property tax because most property owners are white and white people don't want to pay to educate black and brown children. She also apparently believes that all white people are rich white racists who hate "black and brown" people. Apparently this is how she begins her "honest conversation" about race. Her presumption is as breathtaking as her racism is dispiriting.

  • "stomach-turning racist rant"... if that actually "turned your stomach" you most be frequently nauseous and if that was a "racist rant" then I can't imagine what hyperbole you would utilize if you heard David Duke or some random member of the Nazi Party or National Front speak.

    Seriously, can we take it easy with the phony shock and spastic exaggerations? Casting her speech as the most extreme thing you ever heard is silly.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    She dabbled in comedy, I hear a little George Carlin influence in her speeches...and she's absolutely right by the way. Truth hurts.

  • Good lord man . . . if you have to wait for Nazis to come to power to speak out against racism, we're in big effin' trouble. It should all be stomach-turning to us.

    Call this woman out for ill that she does. She has become a divisive leader pitting white people against black and brown people. . . God only knows what feelings she attributes to them for the yellow and pink folks. Really now speak out about this base and dishonest discourse. It's a lie and it's disgusting.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You're freaking out by calling this racism... relax. You have to learn to address issues with some restraint. When you act extremely outraged at everything, you sound like Glen Beck.

    Look, if you have frank discussions with many white people you will hear them say they shouldn't have to subsidize poor (generally black and Latino) schools. That part is true.

    She has helped unite parents, teachers, and activists of all races across the city. Your buddy Emanuel is the one desperately hanging on to his dwindling, divisive, wealthy, AND white power base.

    If you want to take a stand against lies, you might want to start with the countless lies perpetrated by CPS/Emanuel.

  • People with money pay for private school, and then again for poor kids to go to public school. It's understandable that most don't want to pay more taxes to schools than they do already. It's not just a white vs. minority issue either. Plenty of minorities in Chicago are doing well and don't want to send their children to CPS.
    Calling that racists, on the eve of a two month teacher vacation, is an out-of-touch joke. Everyone else works full time to support their families.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Ah, yes my vacation. I forgot how easy teachers have it. That must be why so many leave the profession before 3 years. Oh, and if you hate your full-time job so much I can get you hooked up with a pretty good teacher prep program so you can slack-off like the rest of us teachers. But that would mean actually working with kids instead of using them to justify your out-of-touch politics or policy ideas. Any day you want to come see what it's like to manage a class of 30 teenagers AND teach them something meaningful all while supporting their social and emotional needs you let me know, my classroom is always open.

  • In reply to Evan Velleman:

    If you can't handle it, quit. Don't pay a representative to keep others from doing the job that needs to be done.

  • In reply to Donn:

    If "racist" doesn't suit you, how does "classist" sound? It's pretty clear that the 1% cares little for the 47%, especially by City Hall. By the way, Donn, your job seems to allow you alot of time to blog. Any openings??

  • In reply to Donn:

    You see Donn, I can handle it and do every day. My point was not that I can't handle teaching but that YOU, most likely, can't handle teaching. So, you shouldn't be talking about how teachers have it easy and all the "real" people work for a living. Like I said my room is always open. Come on down and see what it really takes to teach.

    Secondly, Karen Lewis does nothing to keep me from doing my job. In fact, she's one of the only people in this city that I can count on to fight for the things that make doing my job less complicated, more effective, and rewarding. Now, Rahm is another story. he is an elected representative who has made doing my job much more difficult. So, maybe you could help me figure out how to stop him from getting paid so he can get out of my way so I can teach. Let me know if you have any ideas.

  • In reply to Evan Velleman:

    "Patient: Doctor, you only see patients four and a half hours a day. You take three months vacation every year. Maybe if you spent more time with your patients ,their condition would improve".

    "Doctor: How dare you! Why don't you become a doctor is you know so much! It's hard being a doctor. It's not about how much I work, but how much I care! Go away now, I need to meet with my union representative."

    Why is the logic that is absurd for every other professions acceptable for union teachers?

  • In reply to Donn:

    Let's apply the serenity prayer to Donn's POV.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Donn doess thiss boguss scenarioo applyy too yourr allegedd familyy memberss whoo workk inn CPSS??

  • In reply to Donn:

    Donn is advocating for doctors to cram in 8 appointments an hour. Doctors should work all year and be on call 24-7 because emergencies can happen anytime. Diagnosis and analysis should occur after hours or while the doctor is at home. More is better.

    Your analogy is DUMB.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Two month vacation ... are you insane??? With teaching summer school and having professional development to remain up to date, few teachers have more than the 4 weeks many long term employees get, and much of that time they spend preparing for the coming school year. And most of them spend their own money buying supplies that CPS is too cash strapped to provide and students are too poor to pay for themselves. Teachers are subsidizing public education because the tax payers are too short sighted to invest the necessary dollars to maintain a world class education system. Ultimately, your children will pay as the US continues to decline when measured against other nations.

  • Donn's getting feisty now, can't handle all of this he is resorting to baseless & ignorant insults. How much is Rahmbo paying you to troll on're probably over on Second City Cop spouting off stuff too. Proud little internet warrior you are.

  • huffington post column asks if KJL went too far this time

    When Karen ("Rich White People") Lewis speaks, Chicago listens... and responds @rebootillinois

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    That came from "Reboot Illinois" an organization founded by Anne Griffin and funded solely by the "hedge-fund expert."

    And I care what they think of Karen Lewis, why?

  • In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    So much of this obscure crap would just circle the drain if Alex didn't so desire to promote it with no criticism or analysis.

  • I see the staff has been notified for the school closings, but what about those losing positions from the school based budget firings? Do they know? When will they find out?

  • The Dept of Libraries posted of list of welcoming schools that are accepting resumes. But do the librarians who are losing their jobs due to the school budget know if they have been eliminated?

  • In reply to Cleo:

    A young friend of mine was pretty much told that there would be no place for her. Luckily this young person didn't wait around to be told twice, after several years of occupying precarious and part-time position has landed a plum job in a school district whose schools actually have media centers, whereas the previous location barely had books.

    I predict the same fate for others, especially those in buildings where the library real estate had already been co-opted for classrooms. The common practice, at least on the Southwest Side, of making 2-4 classrooms out of the auditoriums, gymnasiums and libraries will be exacerbated by forcing schools to double up, especially when so many are not actually as 'underutilized' as they have been portrayed in the media.

    Not heart-rending enough for you yet, Russo? Just wait.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The Chicagoan middle-class families with school-aged children will now follow. Out to the functioning 'burbs or other cities.

  • In reply to Cleo:

    Hi Cleo are you the hs librian at the sw side agricultural school?
    I think I know you. Did you lose your job? Are you looking for another one? Good luck with that. How many jobs were lost at the ag school?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    not the ag, central. I don't know. I don't know if all teachers/librarians/APs/counselors have been informed. I know some were but I have heard some principals have been told to keep quiet until an official letter is sent. The media seems to be only talking about the school closings and not those who will lose positions due to school based budgeting.

  • Hi Donn,
    Tuesday at 3 p.m., I'm done for the summer. 8 whole weeks of nothing. I'll sleep until noon, drink cosmos by the side of my pool, go shopping, and of course, I'll spend every dime in the suburbs, not the city because I love to stick it to the man. I'm gonna go out to eat and complain about how hard my job is to anyone who will listen. I'll take my kids to the park and the beach and bbq with friends. I will even go on vacation to Italy or something, maybe Jamaica and Alaska too on my large salary. I'll go to Barnes and Noble, and buy trashy books to read. Won't go near the professional book section. I'll drink lots of lattes.
    The entire time, I'll be laughing at the "working stiffs" of the nation too.

  • In reply to teacherparent:

    ...Wait a sec teacherparent, you just revealed yourself to be one of Donn's spawn.

  • Headache299
    Would it surprise anyone if Donn actually lived in Brooklyn and that his real name is Alex?!

  • Donn's for-real. I think. Represents a lot of Chicagoans. I believe.

  • Satire baby, satire.

  • 20 more Chicago schools face last day of classes - Chicago Sun-Times

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