CPS’ Pay for Success. Putting a face on it. Sadie Stockdale.

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Chicago Public School has adopted the Pay for Success program funded with Social Impact Bonds.

As I have written here before, Social Impact Bonds partner investors and corporate philanthropies in profit-making ventures in the public sector.

In a post written for this blog, special education advocate and activist Bev Johns wrote:

Pay for Success has been used in Utah to prevent 99 percent of children supposedly headed for special education from actually being identified for special education, and paid Goldman Sachs and other investors for each child NOT placed in special education. This is a huge financial incentive to NOT identify children as needing special education, and there is absolutely no research stating 99 percent of students in special education should not be there.

In Chicago, Pay for Success may allow Goldman Sachs to double its investment, depending on how many students are NOT identified for special education.

And Catalyst reported:

When the first cohort of students enters kindergarten, CPS will begin paying the lenders for each fewer child who needs special education services when compared to the control group. CPS will pay $9,100 per child annually, an amount that increases by 1 percent each year.

Just to be clear: Goldman Sachs, a giant Wall Street investment firm, will receive over $9000 every year for each identified child that does not receive special education services at CPS.

When Sadie Stockdale came to CPS from her previous work at Teach for America where she was Director of Recruitment she came to do Goldman Sachs’ work.

From Sadie’s Linked In resume:


I thought you might want to see the name and face and past of the current education policy advisor to the Mayor.

Chicago students walk out. “This is your building. They can’t do this to you,” says their teacher, Tim Meegan.

Roosevelt teacher Tim Meegan teaches democracy to his students on the street. Roosevelt students teach democracy to CPS.

Most of Roosevelt students are categorized as low-income.

But they know how to use social media.

They know how to organize themselves brilliantly.

And they know what democracy looks like.

CPS took nearly a million dollars from the school last July.

Last week the principal announced more staffing cuts.

Yesterday the Roosevelt students walked out.

Though Roosevelt had been on probation for several years, students said the school was on an upswing.

“Everything is improving,” said junior Gabriel Virella. “It’s worth fighting for.”

Senior Katya Borja, who participated in the walkout, said she and her classmates collectively achieved the highest ACT score Roosevelt had received in six years.

“We’re showing support for our teachers,” said Borja. “They don’t deserve this.”

The students also had another audience in mind when they staged their walkout: the mayor.

“This is more for Rahm [Emanuel] to see what he’s doing to the schools,” said student protester Erik Hernandez.

“This is a board that truly listens.” Open meetings with a Q and A can be so pesky.


Newly unelected CPS board president Frank Clark.

If the bully boys on the CPS board are going to shut up former acting board president Jesse Ruiz, why would we expect anything different from them when parents try to speak?

This un-elected group normally displays less internal dissension than the NEA board of directors voting on a presidential endorsement.

At a recent board meeting Ruiz had the temerity to quietly ask a question about the state’s charter commission. “I don’t know what our position is, in trying to reform, or frankly eliminate it.”

Newly unelected board president Frank Clark shot Ruiz a glance.

“With respect to this particular organization, Jesse, the more appropriate response I could give is not focused specifically on a particular type of school, selective enrollment, open enrollment,” Clark said. “The policy position that I advocate instead for this board favors quality schools. It’s a complex issue. We’re here to listen, to learn and ultimately decide.”

“Frank, that’s not my question,” Ruiz quickly responded. “My question is what is our position on the Illinois Charter Commission.”

For a school board discussion, that might be called nuclear war.


I guess Jesse Ruiz is still pissed about being so compliant to the Mayor’s wishes all these years and then getting passed over when the Mayor chose Clark to run the board.

I would be careful about talking stuff to Clark, Mr. Ruiz. I hear the Mayor’s got people.

The latest news is that President Clark has changed the rules about parents testifying at CPS board meetings.

Open meetings with a Q and A can be so pesky.

Araceli Escobedo approached the Board of Education last week, as she had before, to talk about options on the Southwest Side where she and her five children live.

She knew she had just two minutes to say her piece, and brought an interpreter so she could speak more comfortably in her native Spanish.

 But just over two minutes into the speech and interpretation, Escobedo was cut off by board secretary Estella Beltran.

“Ms. Escobedo, Ms. Escobedo, thank you for your comments,” Beltran said. “It’s past your two minutes. . . . Our next speaker, please.”

Escobedo was caught by surprise. She was not alone. Complaints erupted about how public speakers were treated at the monthly meeting Tuesday as parents and teachers lamented a sudden change of public participation rules:

  • Each registered group was told Tuesday morning they had to choose just one designated speaker, though at past meetings, they could name two or more.
  • Right at the time limit, a security guard bent the microphone away and escorted the speaker from the podium, a new strictness that did not go unnoticed.
  • And no extra time was allotted for anyone needing English interpretation.

The Sun-Times reported that when CPS board president Frank Clark told those who had just been cut off from speaking, “This is a board that truly listen,” laughter broke out.

Bev Johns: CPS deserves a failing grade for special education.

Kristine Maylee from CTU speaks out against special ed cuts at a rally held across from the CPS loop office on August 26, 2015. (Photo by Max Herman)

Kristine Mayle from CTU speaks out against special ed cuts at a rally held across from the CPS loop office on August 26, 2015. (Photo by Max Herman, Catalyst)

– Bev Johns. Bev is a Special Education advocate and activist. She writes frequently for us.

CPS deserves a failing grade for special education.

In addition to saving money, there is the long-term push to abolish special ed almost completely. CPS’s stated goal is to place every child in the regular ed class (rather than the Least Restrictive Environment for an INDIVIDUAL child along the REQUIRED Continuum of Alternative Placements).

Some schools are using Response to Intervention (RTI), now oftencalled MTSS -Multi-Tiered System of Support, INSTEAD of special ed as students and their parents have NO legal rights under RTI.

So CPS is trying to do the absolute minimum required by IDEA, each child’s IEP, and State regulations and sometimes trying to avoid even those minimums.

Special education is all about meeting the individualized needs of ONE student, not trying to do the absolute minimum to meet the narrowest possible interpretation of Federal and State law and regulation.

CPS is NOT even doing the absolute minimum required.

Although it was required to be in place 5 years ago, CPS has absolutely no rule on Work Load for Special Educators (Section 226.735 of the State regs: “In order to provide students with IEPs the free, appropriate education to which they are entitled, each entity subject to this Part shall adopt a plan specifying limits on the work load of its special educators so that all services required required under students’ IEPs, as well as all needed ancillary and support services, can be provided at the requisite level of intensity.”)

CPS says it is increasing special education class size because its class sizes were smaller than “state standards.” Those state numbers are only a starting point: the absolute maximum numbers of students that can be in a class.

In fact the State regs further restrict special ed class size in three ways:

(1) “[These numbers] notwithstanding, class size shall be limited according to the needs of the students for individualized instruction and services.”

(2) “In the formation of special education classes, consideration shall be given to the age of the students, the nature and severity of their disabilities, the educational needs of the students”

(3) “The maximum class sizes….shall, if necessary, be further restricted at the local level to account for the activities and services in which the affected educators participate in order to provide students with IEPs the free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment to which they are entitled.”

Certainly CPS must provide what is written in a student’s IEP, but an IEP cannot cover everything a child needs.

That is why we have Federal and State regulations.

Mark Brown in the Chicago Sun-Times says one goal is to “move more special ed students into regular classrooms.”

The goal of special ed law and regulations is a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) for an INDIVIDUAL student along the required Continuum of Alternative Placements.

Where a student is educated is the last decision that the IEP Team (consisting of a student’s parents/guardians, teachers, related services personnel, person who can commit services, and sometimes the student) makes.

No administrator, no school board, no informal school policy can overrule that IEP Team decision.

CPS CEO Forrest Claypool says he will strictly follow special education law and regs “as well as best practices.”

If he truly means to do that, he has a very long way to go.

Tim Meegan: Teaching Civics and fighting for democracy in Chicago.


-By Tim Meegan. Tim is a National Board Certified Teacher at Chicago’s Roosevelt High School. He narrowly lost in a 2015 race for 33rd Ward alderman against the Democratic Machine’s candidate, Deb Mell.

This morning I got an email from a Roosevelt graduate.  She’s a freshman at Monmouth College.  She writes:

Good Morning Mr. Meegan

Just wanted to let you know that a lot that I was taught in your AP Human Geo class has been very helpful here. Thanks for being an awesome teacher.

I hope everything is going well!!


Unfortunately due to budget cuts I no longer teach this class.  It’s been cut, one more in a long line of electives and AP classes.   At Roosevelt we are trapped in a vice grip, fighting to attract students while the curriculum is narrowed.  Starving schools are working harder and the test is the whip. 

So now I’m teaching Civics, which is fitting since I lost to Deb Mell and have some experience in Chicago style democracy.  I’m a big fan of democracy.  It’s messy and expensive, but it reflects the will of the people…usually.  In the last election cycle I learned that sometimes people power beats money power.  Rahm learned it too. That’s why he opposes an elected school board.

Recently the Tribune published commentary from Peter Cunningham entitled “Chicago, be Wary of an Elected School Board.”  This, from the newspaper that wishes for hurricanes and Mussolini-like powers for the CPS CEO.  I’ll leave it to someone else to pick apart his paper thin argument.  I have lessons to plan, and Civics is all about democracy. 

In order to teach democracy you have to go back to the founders, and of course you have to incorporate Common Core.  The standards tell you students should examine primary sources and make them relevant to their lives.  When planning I couldn’t help but notice how relevant some of the material is to the question of an elected board. An end to mayoral control will be better for us all.  In “Common Sense” Thomas Paine addresses the point:

“In England a king hath little more to do than to make war and give away places; which in plain terms, is to impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears. A pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed eight hundred thousand sterling a year for, and worshipped into the bargain! Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.”

On mayoral control of CPS he might say:

“In Chicago the mayor has little more to do than to close schools and privatize everything; which in plain terms is to impoverish the city and turn it upside down.  How fortunate is Rahm to be a millionaire and have an ironclad pension and be thanked for his service!  Of more worth is one honest man to our city and in the sight of God, than all the appointed officials that ever lived.”

Consider John Locke.  He believed all people had natural, inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property.  The government’s job was to protect those rights, and if it did not the people had the right to rebel.

What might John Locke say about democracy for the Board of Education?

“Whenever the Board of Education endeavor to take away, and privatize the schools of the people, or reduce the schools to servitude under arbitrary test scores, the Board put themselves into a state of war with the schools, who therefore are absolved from obedience to the Board.  Whenever the Board of Education breaks this fundamental rule of mankind; whether through fear, ignorance, or corruption, take away, and hand over our schools to any appointed power over our futures, freedoms, and the public trust; By this breach of trust they forfeit the power we have put into their hands, for the improvement of public schools, and it becomes our right for the people to democratically elect the Board of Education.”

Duncan, Mazany, JC, BBB, Ruiz, Claypool.  Would there really be more instability with an elected board?  Could there possibly be more corruption?  Would teachers be working without a contract right now?  Wouldn’t an elected board be a better steward of taxpayer dollars in this financial crisis?  How would “Mussolini-like powers” improve the situation?

Would parents have to hunger strike over a month in order to have a say in what their neighborhood school looks like? 

In the 33rd ward, 89.79% voted Yes to an elected school board.  Even in my ward, that’s a majority.  We, the people of Chicago, have the inalienable right to elect our school Board.  And we have the inalienable right to rebel if we can’t.  Don’t believe me?  Just ask Mussolini.  Whatever became of him anyway?

CTU sues CPS. AUSL schools show a pattern of racial discrimination. African American teachers were targeted.

Wednesday, on behalf of the CTU and our members, another class action lawsuit was filed challenging the five turnarounds in 2013 and the ones from 2011 forward, including what is covered in a pending class action law suit.

“There are overlaps and we are going to move to join the two suits and to certify this class as well. We are seeking relief from 2011 forward and are looking back to the turnarounds from inception to prove they are discriminatory on the basis of race,” CTU attorney Robin Potter told me.

“Both cases are assigned to Judge Ellis.”

“We used new data and incorporated the allegations and data from our pending suit challenging the 2012 turnarounds, which show the ongoing pattern and practice of systemic race discrimination.  Check out the allegations regarding Chalmers. Criminals they are.  Also, we link up privatization – AUSL wanted these schools and so it went. They would not have done this in white neighborhoods.” said Potter

The percentage of African American teachers that were displaced is 59-81% or an average of 73% is much higher than the 25% rates of African Americans in the tenured teacher or teacher population across CPS.  

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AUSL Operated Schools

Turnarounds from 2006 to Present

A – Bethune Elementary School B – Bradwell Elementary School C – Casals Elementary School D – Curtis Elementary School E – Deneen Elementary School    F – Dulles Elementary School G – Fuller Elementary School H – Harvard Elementary SchoolI – Herzl Elementary School J – Howe Elementary School           K – Johnson Elementary School L – Marquette Elementary School M – Morton Elementary School N – Orr Elementary School O – Phillips Elementary School P – Piccolo Elementary School Q – Sherman Elementary School R – Stagg Elementary School

CPS OSI Operated Schools

1 – Rainey High School 2 – Fulton Elementary School 3 – Copernicus Elementary School 4 – Fenger High School 5 – Marshall High School 6 – Chicago Vocational Career Academy 7 – Tilden High School 8 – Smith Elementary School 9 – Woodson Elementary School


The Forrest Claypool gimmick. The first thing they do is paint their office.


First thing: Kudos to my bro for his prognostication.

Two weeks ago he predicted that the new CEO at CPS, Forrest Claypool, would hand out banker boxes to the Byrd-Bennett crew and show them the door.

Some cynics might claim that this was an easy prediction since the new boss will always bring in his own people after firing the old ones.

Not all will be smart enough to claim it as a budget cut to be used in contract negotiations with the teachers union.

This is Claypool’s modus operandi.

Wherever he goes, the playbook has been the same. Start by cutting the heck out of your own executive budget. Then move on to the tougher job of challenging costly union work rules.

Now Claypool is bringing to CPS the strategy he executed at the Chicago Park District, the CTA and during two stints as former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s chief of staff. Claypool had planned to do the same as Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s chief of staff before the resignation of CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett altered the game plan.

It’s like, what is the first thing a new principal does when they come into a building?

Paint their office. Even when the old principal only lasted a year and painted the office when they got hired.

One day at lunch a bunch of us were talking in the teachers lounge. How would our work be different if there was no central office?

Nothing would be worse, we all agreed. In fact, our work would be better because it would give us more time to focus on teaching and less hoops to jump through.

Some of the jobs Claypool is claiming to get rid of?

Chief incubation officer and director-talent generalist.

As goofy as these job titles are, don’t be fooled.

The first has to do with charter schools and the second is the latest name for Human Resources.

Is Claypool getting rid of those jobs? Not likely.

Changing job titles? Probably.

My old board changed the assistant superintendent for curriculum to the director of student learning.

A budget cut?


Money just changed budget lines.

My old board changed the assistant superintendent for personnel to human resource director.

Same switch of money to a different budget line.

Now human resource directors are called talent generalists.

For those who can decipher a school district budget, and believe me when I tell you that the CTU has those people, we will see soon enough that this is all smoke and mirrors.

Claypool will hire his own incubator and call it something else.

This is all to impress the media and to justify blowing up any progress in bargaining with the teachers.

In the end, CTU president Karen Lewis is right.

As usual.

Claypool will have to stop playing games and bargain seriously.

And one way or the other, as long as we have collective bargaining and a union, the teachers will get a contract.

“CPS’s tragic shortcoming over the years has been its penchant for distortion and deception, and its well-earned lack of credibility in all corners of this State.”



James C. Franczek
Franczek Radelet P.C.
300 South Wacker Drive
Suite 3400
Chicago, IL 60606-6785

Dear Mr. Franczek:

The Chicago Teachers Union has directed that I promptly respond to the maliciously false letter you issued today purporting to justify the decision by Chicago Public Schools to precipitously withdraw from its proposed one-year contract extension.

The misstatements in your letter are profound and disturbing. As you know, our last meeting on July 30 ended on the verge of an agreement pending resolution of two issues. President Lewis then met with the Mayor on August 2 to hear the Mayor’s concerns. As we entered the room to resume negotiations today, CPS immediately withdrew the entire extension proposal without bothering to hear the Union’s response, and now falsely suggests that we were at impasse.

How far were we apart? The Union had proposed that for one year a small subgroup of tenured teachers be added to the much larger group who, in the event of economic layoffs unrelated to pedagogy, would be laid off in order of seniority. Already, CPS currently provides over 80% of tenured teachers such protections. To contend that this small addition for a single year would “irreparably undermine the effectiveness of our evaluation system” is flatly untrue – though we had not in any event concluded our negotiations on this subject.

And the remaining issue? The Union’s proposal that CPS commit $10 million to a community-based anti-violence initiative at 20 local schools – a proposal your team heartily endorsed from the moment it was raised, and required only agreement on where to secure the funding. You now call it “an issue that divides us,” but you know better.

Your misstatements continue with the false claim that we disagreed over matters about which total agreement was already achieved. Most particularly, you claim we “have disagreement” over pension pick-up, when you know that CPS had proposed, and the Union had agreed, that CPS would maintain the pension pickup for another year. How can you claim this issue divides us when the CPS itself proposed to maintain it?

CPS’s tragic shortcoming over the years has been its penchant for distortion and deception, and its well-earned lack of credibility in all corners of this State. Regrettably, once again CPS proves true to form in making more specious claims to support its perceived short term interests.

Sadly, CPS walks away from agreements that the Union was prepared to accept and submit to membership ratification, including no increase to base salaries, a commitment to achieve significant healthcare cost savings, mutually agreed reforms to evaluation practices, grading practices and student testing, plus CPS’s promises not to unilaterally open new charter schools, not to close more neighborhood schools or to impose disruptive school turnarounds – agreements CPS now throws out the window.

After four months of bargaining over an extension agreement that CPS requested and proposed to the Union, it has evidently decided to seek confrontation rather than compromise, setting us directly onto a collision course. We have no doubt that CPS will now seek to impose a 7% educator pay cut, destroy more neighborhood schools, and continue its ranking and sorting of teachers and children by unproven educational methods – all at the expense of CPS students and the dedicated professionals who educate them.

Robert E. Bloch
CTU General Counsel


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