Friday, May 24, 2013

Steve Rhodes at The Beachwood

would like your attention for a few minutes while he explains how things work in Chicago.  

For the record, I am a fan of Steve -- both his dedication as a reporter and his muscularity as a writer -- and have met him a few times IRL.  I also have friends who work in the CPS system and I come a family of dedicated teachers and administrators. 
In a better world, too, we wouldn't need an elected school board. It's an issue I was once agnostic on, in part because I hadn't really researched the arguments well enough to have what I felt would be a valid opinion. But like many, I now believe that, given Chicago's political culture and the nature of City Hall, it's abundantly necessary. I happen to favor mayoral control of the schools - though I could be persuaded otherwise. But a board appointed by a mayor is a joke. What's the point of having a board, then? Maybe the formula should be mayoral control, which basically means hiring the superintendent, with an elected board. Checks and balances, because yesterday six unelected board members, an unelected superintendent and a mayor overruled an entire city.
This plan is mad, and for the next year and more we'll be seeing a steady stream of stories recounting one disaster after the next. Children will be hurt. And neighborhoods will be see more devastation.
And at some point, a new CPS administration will come in and tell us that the previous administration did it all wrong, just like this one is saying now. They all say that so they can have their own claim to greatness as they stamp their ticket for the next job. Each succeeding administration, of course, is comprised of people from the same political circle. They're all pals, and they never speak up in real time. (The real question, then, is where were you, David Vitale?) But we'll be told the status quo is no longer acceptable, as it was in the day when they closed 50 schools. And they'll ask where the parents and teachers were. Well, we saw where they were yesterday, and where they've been all along, begging for mercy, pleading for reason, crying for justice, believing that facts could win the day. But this is Chicago. Brute force wins the day here. This is not a fact-based community.
Also for the record it would be fair to say that, broadly speaking, the syndrome he describes played no small part in my decision to move away.

Nothing but sad going on here.

No comments: