Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Guzzardi's bill would limit charter expansion. Sends INCS into panic mode.

Rep. Will Guzzardi calling for limits on the expansion of privately-run charters in IL
The charter hustlers at INCS are in panic mode. Until recently, they've been riding a wave of rapid expansion of privately-run charter schools even as seats in many of their charters remain unfilled and while hundreds of neighborhood public schools are being closed or severely underfunded.

INCS sent out a mass mailing Friday, warning their base that...
On Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at 2:00 pm, Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), will debate HB3567, a bill that will place a 10-year or longer ban on charter public schools across the state. This bill will limit the educational options of Illinois' families, and disproportionately affect communities currently without high-quality open-enrollment public schools. Thousands of children and families across Illinois need your help to stop this harmful bill.
The INCS letter is misleading. HB3567 doesn't place a 10-year ban (or any ban) on charters. It doesn't call for the closing of a single charter school in the state. Nor does it "limit the education options" of a single student. Rather, the bill is aimed at restricting the unlimited expansion of privately-run charters in districts that can't afford to build or operate them. The bulk of Illinois’ 857 school districts would not be affected. In 2016, ISBE reported 32 school districts on the financial watch list — the state’s worst rating — and another 61 a step above on the financial early warning list.

Lauren FitzPatrick, writes in the Sun-Times:
The bill introduced Friday by state Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, would block the opening of any new charter campuses in any school districts with the Illinois State Board of Education’s two lowest financial ratings. The Chicago Public Schools system has been on that list for years.
 “Our priority must be investing in the schools we have,“ Guzzardi said Monday outside Prosser Career Academy High School on the Northwest Side, where he was accompanied by other lawmakers, members of the Chicago Teachers Union and parents from the neighborhood.
“If your district is broke, take care of the schools you have before you open new schools,” Guzzardi said. “This isn’t about shutting down any charter schools that are already here.”
Rep. Guzzardi is right, as usual.

His bill would also constrain Gov. Rauner's appointed State Charter Commission from overruling local school districts who turn down applications for new charter schools they don't want or can't afford.

It's significant that Guzzardi made his pitch for the new bill on the street outside of Prosser Career Academy. Despite neighborhood protests,  Noble Charter Network opened a franchise directly across the street from Prosser, hoping to recruit Prosser's best students.

I suppose, INCS expected to continue charter expansion unabated, especially with Trump in the White House and Betsy DeVos running the DOE. But proponents of uncapped charter expansion were defeated by Massachusetts voters last November, despite spending million of dollars to pass their expansion proposition.

IL needs to follow their lead. Guzzardi's bill is a good one and needs to be supported.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Questions that don't answer

Questions -- What the hell is a "deputy governor" and how many does IL really need? Don't we elect a Lt. Gov.?  How did Leslie Munger get the job when we are already cursed with Rauner-appointed Deputy Gov. Olin "Trey" Childress III? And how does Munger, who was thrashed in her last election bid by Rauner-critic Susana Mendoza, get off writing letters to the S-T calling for more unconstitutional pension theft as the "key to solving CPS funding problems"?

What is DT's one and only favorite public employees union? Why it's the FOP of course, whose boss, Dean Angelo Sr. is  attending an alt-right summit meeting today in D.C. with the Trumpies. I doubt they will concern themselves much with the blockbuster report on classified FBI documents that reveal the feds have quietly investigated U.S. law enforcement links to white supremacy and racism in America.

Question #3 is for CNN. How do you reconcile this story, Trump correctly cites rising crime rates in cities with Steinberg's column in today's S-T, "Trump twists crime numbers to demonize immigrants"? Better question might be -- how do you sleep at night?

WEEKEND QUOTABLES 'Move fast and break things...'

Bannon: "Move fast and break things" 
Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
“We have got to have the guts to take on the insurance companies and the drug companies and move forward toward a Medicare-for-all, single-payer program, And I’ll be introducing legislation shortly to do that.” -- All In with Chris Hayes
Chicago Ald. Roderick Sawyer
"I just don't know what value he [Paul Vallas] adds to this university, that's my concern. I don't even know what a crisis intervention specialist means." -- Chicago Tribune
 Allyson Moloney, a K-4 special education teacher
“All of our paraprofessionals are tied up with testing. Even our ‘specials’ teachers — gym and tech — are tied up with PARCC testing. We don’t have a lot of extra bodies that can help us out.” -- Sun-Times
Reince Priebus
"I'm not in any trouble." -- Politico
Nicole Jorwic, dir. of rights policy for the Arc, an advocacy organization for people with intellectual disabilities 
We would hope that in his future rulings, Judge Gorsuch would see that the purpose of IDEA is to help students with disabilities achieve more meaningful progress that can ultimately lead to their success and full life in their communities." -- New York Times
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)
“By appointing Mr. Severino to enforce the life-saving protections that he has made his personal mission to dismantle, the Trump administration has once again put the fox in charge of the hen house." -- LGBTQ Nation
Gwenda Blair, Trump biographer 
...said of Trump’s supporters: “They voted for a guy who could fix it, the CEO, on The Apprentice for 10 years, who could make a deal with anybody.”  -- Guardian

Friday, March 24, 2017

Diane Ravitch and Kevin Coval are our guests today on Hitting Left.

Diane Ravitch
First batter up on the Klonsky Brothers, Hitting Left show this morning is ed activist, historian, and author Diane Ravitch. Diane's latest book, "Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools" is a must read.

You can follow her daily blog here. I do.

She and I will be talking about vouchers, charters, and the Trump/DeVos "choice" offensive which aims at nothing less that putting the final nail in the coffin of public education.

Hitting in the clean-up spot will be in-studio guest, Chicago poet Kevin Coval. He's bringing with him a young Louder Than a Bomb poet.

Kevin Coval
Kevin is the co-founder of LTAB, the world's largest poetry festival, which exploded on the Chicago scene back in 2001 and has grown exponentially since then. He's the is the editor of "The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop". His 8th book, “A People’s History of Chicago" came out earlier this month. It's a collection of 77 poems representing the city’s 77 diverse neighborhoods and the people within them.

You can hear it all live on WLPN 105.5 FM Chicago, this morning at 11 a.m. CDT, streaming at lumpenradio.com or listen to the podcast at your leisure on Liberated Syndication.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Rauner appointment of Vallas will take CSU from frying pan into the fire.

“When it comes to paying contractors, the sky is the limit; when it comes to financing the basic functions of the state, the coffers are empty.” ― Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
If you want to see how disaster capitalism works in real time, watch for shock-and-awe Gov. Bruce Rauner to appoint Paul Vallas as head of predominantly-black Chicago State University.

Vallas may have cost Quinn the election.
Driven to its knees after years of corrupt leadership and deprivation of adequate funding by state leaders, CSU is now set up for privatization, dismemberment and final burial by a governor bent on destroying everything public in public education. And who better to lead the way to the academic graveyard than Vallas, the master of disaster himself?

If it was up to the voters, he couldn't be elected dog-catcher. Vallas, the faux Democrat whose selection as Pat Quinn's running mate was a major factor in Quinn's loss to Rauner in the gov's race, is one of the most despised figures in the field of education. As I recall, he even lost his own primary run for governor to none other than Rod Blagojevich. From Chicago to Philly, to New Orleans, to Haiti, to Chile, and Bridgeport, he has left chaos, and division in his wake.

His top-down, school reform approach, pushing so-called "choice", privatization and busting teacher unions, puts him on par with Trump and Betsy DeVos. 

His appointment comes at a time when his former partner in Synesi Associates, Gary Solomon, is on his way to prison, along with Barbara Byrd-Bennett in the SUPES corruption scandal. Synesi is one of the indicted companies that hired Byrd-Bennett as a consultant, in return for her support in obtaining millions of dollars in CPS no-bid contracts. Vallas not only hired Solomon and his companies when he worked in Philadelphia, but brought Solomon with him to New Orleans.

Vallas is no more qualified to run a university than he was to run a public schools system. In fact, the governor of CT tried to pass a special dispensation and failed after a state superior court judge ruled that Vallas did not complete a state-mandated school leadership program and was therefore not qualified to be superintendent of Bridgeport. He was then run out of town by voters.

I'm hoping CSU faculty and students will rally in opposition to Rauner's appointment.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Yesterday was a travel day, so I was unable to post Weekend Quotables. So today, it's just plain Quotables.

White House OMB Director Mick Mulvaney
Mick Mulvaney on after-school programs that feed kids
"The way we justified it was: these programs are going to help these kids do better in school and get better jobs. And we can’t prove that that’s happening.” -- Undark
James Comey
In his opening statement, Comey confirmed -- for the first time publicly -- that the FBI was investigating "the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election," an inquiry which includes "individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts." -- CNN
Author and journalist Masha Gessen
“The danger of having these two unhinged, power-hungry men at their respective nuclear buttons cannot be overestimated.” -- POLITICO
Rep Luis Gutierrez on being handcuffed at ICE's Chicago office
"It shows you what happens with a system that is run by bullies" #DNlive 
Donald Trump
 "You don’t understand, he can hear everything we’re saying! Obama can even hear my thoughts! I have to get it out!" -- The Onion

Friday, March 17, 2017


The neighborhoods of the south side in 1919. The borders were sharply drawn as black and white workers competed for jobs in the packing houses and factories. 
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but rather the lighting of a fire." -- W.B. Yeats
That's my favorite quote from my favorite Irish poet. This morning, we're trying to keep the fire burning while as we celebrate St. Patrick's Day. We're doing our Klonsky Brothers radio show as always, live from  the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago. It's a great day to talk about politics in our city of immigrants, labor battles, and the birthplace of neighborhood community organizing.

Going back to the 1830s, Bridgeport has been an enclave of the city's huge Irish working-class immigrant population and the power base for five Chicago mayors. The Daley family whose political machine, built on racism and patronage, ran the city out of the 11th Ward, for more than half a century.

It was here that as a young man, former Mayor Richard J. Daley ran with the notorious, racist Hamburg Gang that terrorized the black community and other newly-arrived immigrants, and was active in the deadly 1919 race riots. 

William Butler Yeats
Over the years, the more affluent "lace curtain" Irish began to move south to Morgan Park while Bridgeport has in recent years, become much more diverse with many Mexican immigrant families settling here along with younger white middle-class techies, artists and professionals. 

While former Mayor Richard M. Daley left and headed to more upscale digs nearer the lake, the 11th Ward Democratic party, which is headquartered near 36th Street and Halsted, remains a stronghold of the Daley family today, represented by Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson and his uncle, Committeeman John P. Daley

This from Sneed's column yesterday:
• Paddy blab: A tale of two Patricks. Sneed is told Patrick Daley, the son of Richie and his late wife, Maggie, may be moving back to the hood where his first cousin, Patrick Thompson, is now the alderman of the old Daley bastion of Bridgeport.
Is Patrick Daley hoping to establish a political base for a future run for office?
“No. He bought a fixer-upper,” said a Daley source. “Word is he is moving in, but it could be with the intent to flip it,” he said.
Sign of the times in Bridgeport. Brother Fred and I will be prepping for today's show at Jackelope Coffee and Tea house this morning. Old man Daley must be rolling over in his grave at the very thought.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Chicago and its public schools have become profit centers for privatizers

I don't think so. 
Under our last two mayors, the city of Chicago and Chicago public schools have become centers of privatization. All public space from parking spaces, to red-light cameras, to trash collection, to the highways and skyways have become fair game for the privatizers.

The move to privatize everything public, to erode all public space and public decision-making comes as a reaction to the real and sometimes manufactured financial and other crises which have shaken cities from New Orleans, Detroit and now Chicago.

The pains of privatization have taken their greatest toll on public education, turning schools into profit centers mired in corruption and waste and impacting everything from the way we teach to the way we test. Relationships between students and their teachers have been torn apart with the massive closing of neighborhood schools and replacing them with networks of privately-managed charters.

Things will only get worse with the election of privateer Donald Trump and the appointment "choice" fanatic Betsy DeVos and Secretary of Education.

The privatization of CPS has been a disaster. It has further expanded racial segregation. It has led to union busting and the degradation of teachers and school staff. Schools under the management of Aramark and SodexoMagic have been left filthy and disgusting. They are also charging CPS $80M to oversee custodial work instead of custodians reporting to school principals through their union at no cost.

Privatization has also meant massive corruption leading to the great SUPES scandal and the conviction of former CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett who is on her way to prison.

The latest moves by autocratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his hand-picked schools chief Forrest Claypool, to expand the privatization of custodial and building management services, has been met with resistance from school principals, parents and labor unions.

One of those unions is local143 of the International Union of Operating Engineers. Union Pres. Bill Iacullo will be our in-studio guest this Friday on Hitting Left. He will be joined by two of the city's top progressive political campaign strategists and communications specialists, Joanna Klonsky and Brian Sleet.

Tune in to Klonsky Bros. Hitting Left Radio, 105.5 FM, streaming live at 11 a.m. on Lumpen Radio.