Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Rahm Emanuel: Symbol of a Sick America - NationofChange

Rahm Emanuel: Symbol of a Sick America - NationofChange:

Rahm Emanuel: Symbol of a Sick America 





 America’s is a sickness of the mind, the unwavering belief by people in power that free-market capitalism will somehow work for everyone.

As with a virus that refuses to die, the effects are insidious, because the very rich have convinced themselves that they made it on their own, and that others have only themselves to blame if they are poor.
Rahm Emanuel is Mayor 1%. He speaks a politician’s words to entice many Chicagoans to vote for him, but his actions are on behalf of his friends and colleagues in the business world.
Snubbing the Needs of Average People
The author of Mayor 1%Kari Lydersen, tells the story of Helen Morley, a resident of the southwest side of Chicago and a regular patient at one of the mental health clinics closed by Mayor Emanuel. At Chicago’s 175th birthday party in 2012, Morley pleaded, “Mayor Emanuel, please don’t close our clinics! We’re going to die…There’s nowhere else to go.” Emanuel ignored her. According to Lydersen, Morley and others believed that the mayor “didn’t understand the role these specific clinics played in their lives and the difficulty they would have traveling to other locations.”
The same can be said for Chicago’s shuttered public schools, once the vital centers of their communities. The state of Illinois cut education spendingby a greater percentage than any other state in fiscal 2012, and for 2013 it was third-worst in percentage cuts per student. Privatizers rushed in and blamed the public system. As a result, 50 neighborhood schools were closed in Chicago, opening the way for charter schools, which take taxpayer money but have little accountability to the public and an obligation only to their investors. In the end, 2,000 public school employees were fired by Emanuel, including over 1,000 teachers.
Parent Ronald Brooks, whose daughter’s school Lafayette was shut down,spoke in the aftermath of the mayor’s action: “Lafayette was more than a school. It was an institution….the heart and soul of our community.”
Lafayette, which was reportedly underutilized, was replaced by a selectivepublicly-funded contract arts school with approximately the sameenrollment as before the closing.
Cozying Up to Cronies
According to the Chicago Tribune, “The mayor regularly courts his benefactors behind closed doors..” Nearly 60 percent of his 103 donors received “contracts, zoning changes, business permits, pension work, board appointments, regulatory help or some other tangible benefit.”
Democracy Now cites a report by the International Business Times which found that Emanuel uses no-bid, no-contract voucher payments to quietly pass along money to his contributors. It was also reported by the Chicago Tribune that the lawyers for Chicago’s infamous parking meter deal contributed over $100,000 to Emanuel’s campaign chest. City attorneys touted the ‘benefits’ of the deal.
In another egregious episode, Mayor Emanuel appointed Deborah Quazzo, a managing partner at GSV Advisors, to the Chicago Board of Education. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Quazzo’s business affiliates subsequently tripled their business with the public schools. Tellingly, GSV founder Michael Moe related his goal for the future: “An education revolution in which public schools outsource to private vendors such critical tasks as teaching math, educating disabled students, even writing report cards.”
Making Deals that Send Our Tax Dollars to Wall Street
Rahm Emanuel has made Chicago look good for tourists, sprucing up the downtown (Loop) business district, adding retail stores and office space. But the funding comes at the expense of average citizens. The mayor’s plan for a South Loop hotel and basketball arena is using Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds (our tax money, meant for blighted neighborhoods), and stands to enrich a hedge fund that contributed to Rahm’s campaign fund and then invested in the hotel as the deal was being finalized.
According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Emanuel has borrowed high-interest money that won’t come due until he’s out of office. For example, instead of paying $120.8 million in bonds owed now, he refinanced, thus adding another $228.8 million in interest over 30 years. Like Mayor Daley before him, Rahm hides the costs until someone else is around to take the blame.
Even the vital area of pre-K education is set up to benefit big business, with progressive-sounding social impact bonds likely to double the profits of Goldman Sachs and other investors in the next few years. Said Chicago reporter Rick Perlstein: “[The mayor] struck a deal with a bunch of investment banks to use the preschoolers of Chicago as collateral..” The deal was arranged with little debate, and with little understanding of the long-term risk.
And what about Chicago’s (and Illinois’) massive deficit? In recent years the state’s largest corporations have been paying only about a third of their required state taxesThreats to leave the city seem empty in one of the nation’s busiest trading centers. Yet Mayor Emanuel opposes even a tiny tax on the quadrillion dollar business of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, whose profit margin in recent years has been higher than any of the top 100 companies in the nation.
His Legacy
The mayor claimed credit for a minimum wage increase, even though he didn’t act until the State of Illinois began putting the plan in place. He took credit for a longer school day for the kids, but he didn’t provide the necessary funding. He took credit for coal-burning power plant closings that resulted largely from neighborhood activism.
Like its mayor, Chicago has two faces. The rest of the nation sees the glitz and glamour of Chicago’s magnificent downtown, but the city’s south and west sides, according to urban analyst Daniel Hertz, are more dangerous than in the 1990s. This is part of the sickness: a persistent inequality, more-so of wealth than of income, that plagues America and manifests itself in the questionable dealings of a man like Rahm Emanuel. He may best be remembered as the privatizer of Chicago and, as Perlstein suggested, “a strikingly corrupt mayor.”Rahm Emanuel: Symbol of a Sick America - NationofChange:





Ohio Politics Now: Amid test concerns, state to allow some schools to create their own | The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio Politics Now: Amid test concerns, state to allow some schools to create their own | The Columbus Dispatch:

Ohio Politics Now: Amid test concerns, state to allow some schools to create their own




The tests linked to Common Core standards have been under fire from educators and parents who are concerned with glitches and the amount of time it takes to prepare for and take the tests.


 A look at what’s happening in Ohio politics and policy today:

The state is starting a pilot program to allow 15 schools and districts to develop their own standardized testingamid complaints that the current system isn’t working, Dispatch reporter Catherine Candisky writes. “The Innovative Learning Pilot is the latest effort by state officials to alter, scale back or dump tests that cost about $50 million to develop and administer, and first given to students last month.”
The tests linked to Common Core standards have been under fire from educators and parents who are concerned with glitches and the amount of time it takes to prepare for and take the tests.
The state already has a 28-person committee looking at the tests while state schools Superintendent Richard Ross has recommended a decrease in the number of hours testing.Ohio Politics Now: Amid test concerns, state to allow some schools to create their own | The Columbus Dispatch:

Some Details on the Senate-proposed ESEA Reauthorization | deutsch29

Some Details on the Senate-proposed ESEA Reauthorization | deutsch29:

Some Details on the Senate-proposed ESEA Reauthorization








 On April 7, 2015, the Senate education committee announced the following as part of a press release:

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 7 – Senate education committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced a bipartisan agreement on fixing “No Child Left Behind.” They scheduled committee action on their agreement and any amendments to begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 14.
The result of the Lamar-Murray collaboration on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization (the latest version of which is renamed No Child Left Behind) is this 600-page document entitled, The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015.
I read the first 136 pages of the act, which I refer to below as the Alexander-Murray reauthorization.
I am aware that when the document goes before the Senate education committee, it could well be amended. But for now, in this post, I offer my observations on key points in those first 136 pages as they appear in the draft version of Alexander’s and Murray’s draft as linked above.
The first construction I noticed was that the Alexander-Murray reauthorization document does not include the controversial name, No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) (pg. 4). Yes, the table of contents to be revised is the NCLB table of contents. (To view the complete NCLB document, click here.) However, the original name of the legislation, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, is the name that Alexander and Murray use.
I will still use NCLB for the sake of clarity.
Section 1001 of NCLB (“statement of purpose”) is lengthy and included details such as, “holding schools, local educational agencies, and States accountable for improving the academic achievement of all students, and identifying and turning around low-performing schools that have failed to provide a high-quality education to their students…” and “providing greater decision making authority and flexibility to schools and teachers in exchange for greater responsibility for student performance.”
The Alexander-Murray reauthorization “statement of purpose” is not nearly so detailed:
The purpose of this title is to ensure that all children have a fair, equitable, and significant opportunity to receive a high-quality education that prepares them for postsecondary education or the workforce, without the need for postsecondary remediation, and to close educational achievement gaps.
The Alexander-Murray reauthorization deletes NCLB Section 1003– the one about “school improvement” and which includes language such as, “the State educational agency shall allocate not less than 95 percent of that amount directly to local educational agencies for schools identified for school improvement, corrective action, and restructuring.”
The Alexander-Murray reauthorization also removes NCLB Sections 1111 through Some Details on the Senate-proposed ESEA Reauthorization | deutsch29:


Big Education Ape: The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (Summary of the Bill) Fixing “No Child Left Behind”  http://bit.ly/1GlmiDp

Big Education Ape: Bipartisan Agreement on Fixing “No Child Left Behind” Sch Committee Action for 10 a.m. Tuesday, ... http://bit.ly/1Glj4jn

For more details on the bill:
Click here for the legislation.

Big Education Ape: National Day of Action April 8 Overhaul ESEA/NCLB: Less Testing More Learning FairTest http://bit.ly/1P8A9PZ

Big Education Ape: Join April 8 national call-in day to #CutFedTests | Parents Across America http://bit.ly/1GV0xtf

Big Education Ape: NEA - Educators to spring into Wave of Action on eve of 50th anniversary of ESEA http://bit.ly/1ah1ore

Big Education Ape: Get Out The Pitchforks - The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 #ESEA http://bit.ly/1y1ZLZs

AFT President Weingarten on Today's Chicago Election | American Federation of Teachers

AFT President Weingarten on Today's Chicago Election | American Federation of Teachers:

AFT President Weingarten on Today's Chicago Election











WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the results of today's election in Chicago.
"Runoffs carry a special message for re-elected leaders: Voters are willing to give them a second chance. Tonight Mayor Emanuel was given that chance by an electorate that is willing to believe his humbled promise that 'he can do better,' but does not want him to forget that education policies have to change.

"Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia ran a principled and spirited campaign on behalf of the children, the families and the citizens of Chicago's forgotten neighborhoods. He became the standard-bearer for hard-working Chicagoans who want good jobs and safe neighborhoods with thriving, not closed, public schools.
"The mayor now has a chance to reverse some of the damage felt by neighborhoods in Chicago. As we congratulate him tonight, we urge him to start by reinvesting in the communities he unnecessarily gutted by closing schools he could have chosen to fix and make the hub of neighborhoods.
"He can start tomorrow by pledging to meet with KOCO, the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, the Chicago Teachers Union and others—working with them to identify and foster the services the neighborhood needs for kids and families. And speaking of CTU and UIC United Faculty, we urge him to start working with, rather than fighting with the educators of this great city.

"Across the nation, cities are increasingly returning to their role as this country's economic engines: In Chicago and elsewhere, we must collaborate to compete, for our cities, our schools, our economy and our children to thrive.
"We are still watching the aldermanic races, but between the plebiscite on an elected school board and a number of new seats held by pro-public education policymakers, Chicago will be governed by a different, and more pro-public education legislature."
# # # #
The AFT represents 1.6 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.
- See more at: http://www.aft.org/press-release/aft-president-weingarten-todays-chicago-election#sthash.1AfhRuxj.dpuf



Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 4/7/15


Special Nite Cap - Catch Up on Today's Post 4/7/15


Special Nite Cap 

CORPORATE ED REFORM


AFT President Weingarten on Today's Chicago Election | American Federation of Teachers
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Get Out The Pitchforks - The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015
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Big Education Ape: The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (Summary of the Bill) Fixing “No Child Left Behind” http://bit.ly/1GlmiDp

Big Education Ape: Bipartisan Agreement on Fixing “No Child Left Behind” Sch Committee Action for 10 a.m. Tuesday, ... http://bit.ly/1Glj4jn

For more details on the bill:
Click here for the legislation.

Big Education Ape: National Day of Action April 8 Overhaul ESEA/NCLB: Less Testing More Learning FairTest http://bit.ly/1P8A9PZ

Big Education Ape: Join April 8 national call-in day to #CutFedTests | Parents Across America http://bit.ly/1GV0xtf

Big Education Ape: NEA - Educators to spring into Wave of Action on eve of 50th anniversary of ESEA http://bit.ly/1ah1ore

Big Education Ape: Get Out The Pitchforks - The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 #ESEA http://bit.ly/1y1ZLZs


2015 National Conference – Chicago

The Countdown to Chicago Has Begun!

The Network For Public Education | 2015 National Conference – Chicago 

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