Please Don’t Steal My Teacher’s Pension by Glen Brown
(an emulation of John Prine’s “Please Don’t Bury Me”)
Woke up this mornin’, wrote another essay
And that unfunded liability, of our State’s pensions
G D G
And that Committee of Chicago, and their greed
So please don’t steal my pension, and make me feel blue
I don’t want to work as a greeter, and meet ‘em ‘til I’m through
G C G
So lower that fundin’ ratio; make the State pay debtors too;
C G D G
Tax the rich and the corporate, and the pensions will accrue
G C G
Don’t be duped by promises, legislators will not keep
Defined-contribution plans are savings that will seep
G C G
There’s a six-trillion-dollar deficit, for holders of such heap
C G D G
A defined-benefit pension plan, is the only way to reap
G C G
Let’s send our legislators, to Afghanistan
Let’s hope that their replacements will do what they can’t
G C G
I met a rep or two, that didn’t understand
C G D G
So I left her my research; without any cash in hand
G C G
Let’s generate more revenue, as fast as we can
A graduated income tax is the answer and best plan
G C G
Let’s redesign the legislators’, lack of attention span
C G D G
Fire all their actuaries, and House’s Confidence Man.
G C G
I’m singin’ you this song, and I’m about to sigh
‘cause Illinois pension reform, will likely be disguised
G C G
We must stand together, against the wealthy and their bids
C G D G
Because-all-parents-need us; so do all of their kids
No time to sit over the coffee this morning.
Anne and I are headed to the Printers’ Row book fair. I think it is named for that daily rag in the tower up Michigan Avenue. But I still call it by the original name.
We have tickets to hear a talk with Art Spiegelman at the Harold Washington Library.
Spiegelman is the cartoonist who drew the graphic novel, Maus.
As readers know, I have played with cartoons here over the past year.
But I am not even in the farm system of the league Spiegelman is in.
He is arguably the inventor of the graphic novel form.
Speaking of art.
The treatment of the WPA murals in the CPS schools that will be closed is still is reverberating.
If it weren’t for the parents at Trumbull, artist and friend Ellen Gradman, other parent activists like Cassie Creswell and this blogger, the murals would be in storage this morning.
We made some noise and the big media got a hold of it and CPS had to back down.
But only for the moment.
The options for those fifty buildings are clear.
Sit and fall into disrepair. Or sold for commercial development.
Here is the problem:
Removing the murals from their locations is desecrating them. They were designed for their location. They are site-specific.
The other thing is that their locations, the buildings themselves, are also works of art. Part of our communities’ cultural inheritance.
The architecture critic Lee Bey writes:
How the plan will impact students and families is the stuff of vigorous public discussion for now and for months to come. But the proposed move places another question on the horizon: What will happen to the closed school buildings, many of which–like Ericson–are remarkable pieces of architecture, often done by the city’s best architects, and are worthy of preservation and reuse?
Late this afternoon, after a flood of media attention, CPS announced that they would agree to Trumbull parents’ requests to delay the removal of the two WPA lunettes that are over the doors in front of the auditorium until after the end of the school year.
Parents expressed concern that the student’s graduation ceremonies would be made even more difficult if the murals, which have always been placed above the auditorium doors, were removed today as planned.
Graduation will be difficult enough since the school is on the Mayor’s closing list.
With a hat tip to artist Ellen Gradman, here is the CPS statement that was issued this afternoon:
Subject: CPS Statement on Murals
From: “Office of Communications, CPS” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: CPS Office of Communications <email@example.com>
“CPS is not removing any murals from any school until the end of the school year. When they are removed, the murals will be placed in protective storage to ensure they are preserved and secure until we determine a new public location for them, most likely in CPS schools.”Becky CarrollChief Communications OfficerChicago Public SchoolsJune 6, 2013
– CPS is partnering with Parma Conservation, a leading painting and mural conservation group, to ensure that the removal and storage of all art from sending schools is handled by professional art conservation experts.
– CPS will coordinate with welcoming schools, school network chiefs and art experts to find a new home for these murals at other schools throughout the district. This will be dependent on the timing of construction completion and availability of qualified art moving and installation vendors.
– CPS will make every effort to have all art reinstalled in welcoming schools by the first day of school, Aug. 26.
There remains a deep concern among conservationists and parents that the murals, many of them created for the specific locations at the schools, will not be appropriately displayed if they ever do find their way to the new schools.
Photo: CPS Chatter.
Is there a free speech storm brewing at Lane Tech?
Here is what I am hearing.
CPS suits apparently sent a directive to Lane (and how many other high schools?) on March 13th, 2013 to remove copies of the graphic novel, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.
Persepolis deals with the Iranian Revolution and issues of intolerance. The author wrote a sequel. An award winning animated movie was made in 2007.
But the staff at Lane Tech’s library were directed to remove the book from their shelves.
I have been told that some students reported the removal of Persepolis in a journalism course. As reporters, those students called CPS central offices to try to find out what had happened and why the books were being removed.
On March 14 Lane staff members received the following email:
Yesterday afternoon, one of the Network Instructional Support Leaders stopped by my office and informed me (per a directive given during the Chief of Schools meeting on March 11) that all ISLs were directed to physically go to each school in the Network by Friday (3/15) to:*Confirm that Persepolis is not in the library,*Confirm that it has not been checked out by a student or teacher,*Confirm with the school principal that it is not being used in any classrooms,*And to collect the autobiographical graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi from all classrooms and the Library.I was not provided a reason for the collection of Persepolis. If I learn more I will inform all staff.
Are there legal issues involved in book banning at CPS?
One teacher shared this:
Board of Education vs. Pico in 1982 states that is illegal to remove a book from a high school library. This, effectively, is a violation of the Freedom of Speech. Board of Education v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853 (1982), was a case in which four Justices of the United States Supreme Court concluded that the First Amendment limits the power of local school boards to remove library books from junior high schools and high schools, four Justices concluded the contrary (with perhaps a few minor exceptions), and one Justice concluded that the Court need not decide the question.
News on social media boards yield that CPS is claiming that there was a set of new books sent to schools and the distributor included copies of this one by mistake. Since CPS hadn’t paid for them, schools were asked to pull the books and send them back. “a mix-up’. The books, in fact, were purchased some years ago by an English teacher when she applied (and received) a grant to pay for them.
More to come. I’m sure
From: Dave Stieber’s blog. Performed at this week’s Louder Than a Bomb, Chicago.
Our skin has become thicker
Thicker from the winters
Thicker from the corruption
The lies and double speak
From sacrifices demanded by our city
The violent sacrifices of our students
Of spirit — Antoine, Terrell, Dre
We know our skin is thicker
It has to be
We know you CPS
Perpetrators of Educational Apartheid
Our Chief Officer
College Acceptance & Persistence?
Those matter less
Standardized test scores that’s what shows a quality school.
Our CEO says
I come from people like you
I am you
We will listen to you
We are with you
She baptizes Englewood with her lies:
Like she did Detroit
We know you CPS
Been to your bogus meetings before
Seen people yell at you about your budget and supposed deficit
Saw your arrogance (no questions while god is speaking)
Heard your disrespect (25% of kids won’t amount to anything to Rahm?)
That Monday night our skin wasn’t thick enough
School field trips
100’s of kids/teachers K-8
On a school night
Going to church
Picture the altar, elevated , on the stage
Only the CPS anointed are allowed on this altar
Protected by position
By the pastors prayers of appropriate worship
Picture the anointed
Faulty dated up
Walton family funded
Bull shitted up
Picture the congregation, coming to pay homage, or bear witness
To repent for their sins
Being from Englewood
They have come to beg for mercy
Their souls must be saved
Forgive us CPS for we have sinned
Is that what you wanted to hear?
You give the people 6 minutes of your holy ear
Confessions of children
“We will find the space you say we have if you let us stay open”
“I’m in the 2nd grade please don’t close my school”
They know their god is a just god
A father says, “I challenge you to let your children walk in our children’s shoes”
Confessions of parents & teachers
Just visit our school —-you will see
You demand confessions
But on your time
Just 6 minutes
Next in line
Still not enough
You must tithe 33% of your schools
No more public schools in, Auburn-Gresham, Woodlawn, Lawndale, Englewood
Let the children walk longer to school
It is in god’s hands now
Make them cross major streets, neighborhood lines, gang lines,
Make them bus
If they want it bad enough they will go
Make them pray about it
God will guide them
But last night in Englewood a thousand people
Realized they were not the sinners
Realized you were just playing
Just playing god
They flipped the script
When you asked for two minutes
They gave you ten seconds
They counted you down
10 all the way to 1
They will not listen
Will not stand by
Will not let this happen
God no longer
The wonderful Chicago poet David Hernandez died this morning from a heart attack. Sad news.
The street art of Chicago’s Vicente Jasso Jr.
The calories in a Peets large latte is the same as in a 12 ounce can of Coke.
They’re not sugar calories. But they are calories just the same. There’s a lot of milk in a large latte, even if it’s non-fat. And calories are calories even if they’re not fat calories.
So this morning I shifted over to a cafe au lait.
It is part of my retiree life-style change of eating more carefully and exercising regularly at a gym and working with a trainer.
But not today. Not on Saturdays.
It is a beautiful morning in Chicago. After enduring a week of cold and gray the sun is shining. The sky is blue. The streets have turned white. Not from snow but from the dusting of salt and chemicals that remains after the melting of our record setting – so far for this year – two inches of snow.
Chicago has a long history of public murals. In the seventies there was even an organization of artists known as the Chicago Mural Movement whose art still can be found on buildings all over the city.
They included activists like John Pitman Weber, William Walker, Mario Castillo and retired Whitney Young High School art teacher Catherine Cajandig.
While street art has never disappeared from the walls in our city, I’ve noticed a lot of ink being given to a new gun in town.
Vicente Jasso Jr.
Vicente is a former student at Telpolchcalli, a Little Village public elementary school.
He is self-taught. And he has adopted the new style of putting large scale prints on walls using art paste.
Contratiempo has an article here.
Here is his Jedi Zapata on Cermak in Chicago from his Facebook page: The Art of Vicente Jasso Jr.
Tomorrow they are predicting sleet, snow and freezing rain.
Today would be a good day to get out and around Little Village and Pilsen to enjoy some art.
Free and open to the public.