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Getting rid of the wiener on the Fifth Floor.

May 7, 2014

Hot_Dougs

The news hasn’t been great for Rahm this week.

There was the story that his motorcade regularly speeds through school zones and red lights.

His sexist snub of the great Whitney Young High School girls basketball state champions.

One of his top aides contradicted him in Washington testimony about the impact of  his shuttering of the City’s mental health clinics.

The arrest of his fugitive money-laundering Comptroller in Pakistan.

The editorial in the Tribune that called him a “walking personality disorder.”

And that was just THIS week.

But it could have been worse.

Yes. It actually could have been worse than that.

Yesterday DNAinfo broke a story of fraudulent attendance numbers at Benito Juarez High School.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan had visited and praised the school for its success at increasing attendance.

But like most things Arne Duncan, it was a hoax, perpetrated by administrators who juiced the numbers.

Over the last two years, teachers have filed more than a dozen formal complaints with CPS, claiming attendance records had been altered by administrators, according to John Kugler, the Chicago Teachers Union representative for Juarez. The resolution of those complaints is still pending, Kugler said.

“You have students with very, very low attendance miraculously passing all their classes and graduating,” said Enrique Romero, a Juarez social studies teacher who’s been a CPS teacher for 30 years. “It’s really extremely unfair to the kids who come every day and do all the work, because then they have comparable grades.”

Good attendance numbers sure made Rahm and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett look good.

Then today, in typical Chicago style, the whistle blowing teachers got targeted for harassment.

In an email sent to the school’s staff Tuesday morning, Juarez Assistant Principal Laura LeMone wrote, “Please see the latest example of libel that is being put out by three members of the faculty” and included a link to the DNAinfo Chicago story.

“If you disagree with these lies, please be sure your voice is heard,” her email stated. “Our hard work and the accomplishments of our team and students are being overshadowed by this witch hunt.”

LeMone did not respond to a request for comment.

One of the teachers who said she has had attendance records changed by administrators was upset by the email.
“I think it was uncalled for … to call the three teachers who voiced their opinion on matters that happened to them, ‘a witch hunt,'” Spanish teacher Margarita Deluna said. “Now we are being harassed at school. This is extremely sad that our administration promotes harassment among its teachers.”

How did Rahm get lucky with this story of Chicago school corruption and harassment of teachers.

Hot Doug’s.

The owner of the popular north side hotdog joint announced he was closing his shop in October to pursue other opportunities.

THAT became the lead story in the news yesterday.

It saved Rahm from the getting the attention the attendance cheating and teacher harassment story would have ordinarily received.

One political bullet dodged.

But there have been so many others.

That is why CTU President Karen Lewis could claim that with our united effort, “Bozo the Clown could beat Rahm.”

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 7, 2014 10:43 am

    I am stunned. How could this happen in Chicago? Joe Lake, Chicagoland

  2. Dienne permalink
    May 7, 2014 10:55 am

    Why didn’t the boys’ team refuse the honor (ahem) of coming to City Hall until and unless the girls were also invited? C’mon, gentlemen (using the term loosely), where’s your sportsmanship? (For that matter, perhaps they should have refused the “honor” so long as Rahm is mayor, but that’s a different story.)

    In any case, I suppose it’s a hopeful sign that even the slavish Tribune is starting to see Rahmbo’s true colors (and speak about it publicly).

  3. vn8901 permalink
    May 7, 2014 11:56 am

    Actually, Doug said that he is closing his restaurant to pursue permanent retirement. I guess he doesn’t have to rely on the state to honor a promise of a pension. I will miss his unique food. If you haven’t been there yet, get down there before he closes.

  4. KK1978 permalink
    May 7, 2014 7:18 pm

    I’m a regular reader of your blog, Fred, and enjoy your take on Chicago and our public schools, as well as your tireless advocacy for pensions. I’m also a Juarez teacher, and am disheartened to read the ease with which you report alleged wrongdoing as fact. The DNAInfo article states the investigation is on-going, and further, that the attendance policies at Juarez are in line with CPS policies.

    The larger issue is the nature of education’s current data-obsession. The performance metrics CPS imposes on its schools underscore the ever-encroaching wave of corporate education reform with which neighborhood schools must contend. It also points toward the notion that schools are held entirely responsible for students lives outside the school building. Students who are homeless, chronically ill, or who must work to support their families are at the same time to supposed to be fully present and engaged in the classroom.

    Before you hold up the whistle-blowing teachers as heroes and, by default, those who disagree with them as apologists, wait to see what the IG’s investigation reveals.

    • Fred Klonsky permalink*
      May 7, 2014 7:31 pm

      “The larger issue is the nature of education’s current data-obsession. The performance metrics CPS imposes on its schools underscore the ever-encroaching wave of corporate education reform with which neighborhood schools must contend. It also points toward the notion that schools are held entirely responsible for students lives outside the school building. Students who are homeless, chronically ill, or who must work to support their families are at the same time to supposed to be fully present and engaged in the classroom.”

      We agree. It was not my intent to accuse anyone of being an apologist.

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