Thursday, May 23, 2013

Remember When Rahm Emanuel Was The Worst Thing About DC? Well, Of Course, Now He's The Worst Thing About Chicago


If you're interested in the space where education policy, politics and humor come together, you should be checking out frequently. The site is premised on that fact that "behind every faddish, jargon-filled plan is a dirty little scheme that ends up making somebody a lot of money. The scary thing is that these fools are winning, and the only way to fight back is to expose the edushysters for the hypocritical charlatans that they are." This week they have a depraved Rahm Emanuel in their sites.
The final “vote” on which Chicago Public Schools to shutter may be a done deal, but the implications of the largest single school closure in US history will be felt well beyond the Windy City. Mayor Emanuel, who has long tethered his political fortunes to hedge-funded education reform, now has poll numbers hovering near the bottom of Lake Michigan. Meanwhile, the Chicago media has suddenly awakened and is practicing, once again, the long-lost art of journalism. And Chicago charter school fever is beginning to look an awful lot like old-fashioned Illinois-style “pay to play” corruption. In other words, on this bad news bears day, my outlook is decidedly wine-box-half-full…

The white course

Let’s start with Mayor Emanuel’s poll numbers. Did I say they were in Lake Michigan? I meant living on Lake Shore drive in a million dollar plus unit with great lake views. A recent poll found that the only voters left who unabashedly approve of the mayor’s education reform agenda are wealthy whites who live in the city’s lakefront wards. Six in ten Chicagoans oppose Rahm’s school closure plan, while a full 75% say they don’t like his vision for education in the city. Of voters with children who attend the Chicago Public Schools, just 9% said they side with the mayor in the debate over how to improve the schools. Fifty-four percent said they now side with the Chicago Teachers Union.

Welcome back, journalists. We’ve missed you!

The past few weeks have seen the kind of reporting that’s all too rare in today’s Walton-funded era of achievement gaptivism. Check out, for example, this “fact check” prepared by a local public radio station in which reporters examine the justifications being given for the mass school closings-- and debunk virtually all of them. Even the Chicago Tribune, which just weeks ago ran an editorial trumpeting the results of a pro-charter push poll, got in on the action. The Trib dug deep into official documents to dispute many of the claims being made by Mayor Emanuel et al and revealed once again just how dependent hedge-funded “reform” is on a lax and fawning press.

Pay for play

Meanwhile reporters at the Chicago Sun Times have been busy digging up the dirt on the state’s largest charter school operator: UNO Charter Schools. It turns out that Illinois’ new favorite past-time, *crushing* the achievement gap by constructing shiny academies of excellence and innovation, looks an awful lot like the state’s old favorite past-time: cash-fueled corruption.

Race to the top

The disproportionate impact of school closings on minority students has already resulted in multiple law suits. But could it finally prompt a conversation on the great white elephant in the room: the overwhelming whiteousness of the education reform movement vs: the communities that reformers are intent on improving? Based on this intriguing tweet from Teach for America CEO Matt Kramer, I’d say the chances are good.

We are so over

In case you missed it, opposition to the school closings in Chicago even precipitated an education reform break up. I’m talking, of course, about the recent decision by the University of Chicago chapter of Students for Education Reform to divorce their national organization. In this Dear John letter, the Chicago students hint at their discomfort with being the fresh Chicago faces of SFER’s national agenda. As for what that agenda is, I will say only that SFER is likely the only grassroots student group in the country to be funded by the Walton Foundation.

Even Republicans are pissed

And now a gratuitous shout out to my favorite Windy City blog: Chicago Public Fools.This Chicago Public Schools mom is representative of the astonishing diversity of voices that are now questioning the city’s education reform mantra. In this post, Red in a Blue City, she fillets would-be school privatizers like lake trout.
If this is all just over your head, just think of it like this-- Rahm and his Wall Street buddies are steering America towards Greece... without the warm Mediterranean breezes and the delicious fresh food. The prospects for children of working class kids is-- horrifying. "With Greece suffering the biggest economic depression in decades," writes ZeroHedge, "all so a few rich men can preserve their wealth and not have their EUR-denominated savings wiped out (even if the alternative means finally being able to rebalance externally using the Drachma instead of forcing internal rebalancing via unemployment and plunging wages), it was only a matter of time before we found out just how humiliating the conversion of the entire economy to a "gray," non-tax paying one would be for the citizens of Greece."
As the NYT reports, in just the past two years, the numbers of Greeks engaging in prostitution as a last course source of income has more than doubled: according to the National Center for Social Research, the number of people selling sex has surged 150 percent in the last two years.

Furthermore, with every business in which there is exploding "competition" and rich client scarcity, it is not just any prostitution, but very deflationary prostitution:
“Five euros only, just 5 euros,” whispered Maria, a young prostitute with sunken cheeks and bedraggled hair, as she pitched herself forward from the shadows of a graffiti-riddled alley in central Athens on a recent weeknight.

Many prostitutes have been selling their services for as little as 10 to 15 euros, a price that has shrunk along with the income of clients afflicted by the crisis. Many more prostitutes are taking greater health risks by having unprotected sex, which sells for a premium. Still more are subject to violence and rape.

Now a new menace has arisen: a type of crystal methamphetamine called shisha, after the Turkish water pipe, but otherwise known as poor man’s cocaine, brewed from barbiturates and other ingredients including alcohol, chlorine and even battery acid.
And with a surge in prostitution come the drugs, and the danger of an epidemic of blood-transmitted diseases, like HIV.
...Unfortunately for the country which is terrified to just say no to Europe due to the indoctrinated dread of what would happen if it left the Eurozone, this is only the beginning as the problem is far deeper, and it goes to the root of everything: an entire generation going to waste.

But while the Greek still soaring unemployment rate is no surprise to anyone, it is the youth unemployment that is the problem. And as the Telegraph reports, in some areas of Greece, youth unemployment has now hit an inconceivable 75%.
And all this Austerity, whether in Greece or Chicago, "just so the 0.001% uberwealthy can continue to get richer and richer courtesy of a year after year of flawed monetary and fiscal policy, even as the real world around them burns." What we need are more Penny Pritzkers in Obama's cabinet.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home