Thursday, April 11, 2013

Michelle Goes to Chicago, Misses the Point Entirely

The Walton Family Visits a Charter School 

In what could be described as a textbook case of the right church but the wrong pew, First Lady Michelle Obama visited Chicago the other day. Yes, Chicago, the city where her husband's old friend and former Chief of Staff, Mayor Rahm Emanuel drew up a plan right out of Milton Friedman's Shock Doctrine playbook to close 50 public schools then quickly disappeared with his privately educated kids on a skiing vacation and left the announcement to his "cleaner" Barbara Byrd Bennett.  (When you hear the word cleaner think "Mike" from Breaking Bad or "Winston Wolf" from Pulp Fiction) No, Michelle wasn't there to advocate for the kids whose schools are being closed -- some kids who now will face a 10 block walk through a Great Lakes Gaza Strip of hood thugs, drug dealers and wandering homeless people in various states of inebriation and mental illness. Michelle was in Chicago to talk about gun safety and compare herself to 15 year old Hadia Pendleton who'd performed at the inauguration and was gunned down the next week by two gang morons thinking she was a member of a rival gang, which of course she wasn't. Yes Michelle said flat out that she was Hadiya, growing up in the same circumstances except that she (Michelle Obama) was allowed to grow up. Hard to criticize her for an anti-gun violence message especially when people like Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell are curling up into some post-Confederacy fetal alcohol position promising to filibuster any attempts at meaningful gun control legislation. Of course the two moonshiners from Kentucky might think differently if their kids or grandkids had been slaughtered by an insane 20 year old in an elementary school somewhere but for now they are playing their second amendment card against the desires of 90 plus % of Americans. So, good for Michelle Obama going to her old neighborhood and visiting a school who's buried 8 of its students this year due to gun violence. I wish I could congratulate her but I can't. She gave Rahm Emanuel a big hug on the speaker's podium and proceeded to make her point while ignoring a larger point that Emanuel and his corporate sponsors in for profit "ed reform" were all very relieved to have ignored. Rahmbo's plan  to close these schools is going to displace 30 thousand kids and cut more holes into communities that are barely holding it together as it is. 

In a manner eerily similar to the way European imperialists barged into Africa and carved up the place to suit their own desires, ignoring traditional tribal boundaries and long standing borders so Emanuel's plan is going to throw kids from neighborhoods inhabited by warring gangs into the same schools. The plan will also force kids from the neighborhood of Gang A to cross into the neighborhood of Gang B. If you've  ever spent a minute talking with urban kids who have to survive this kind of turf situation they will tell you very quickly the most basic lesson of survival is to stay out of places where you've got no business. In short, don't go where you don't belong. You learn where these places by are experience and from your community. But in the profit driven world of the white billionaires who are looking to become I don't know what -- Godzillionaires? these kinds of nuts and bolts realities are the hobgoblin of the little people. The people pushing "school reform" know their interest in education is pure bullshit and they prove it when they engage in this kind of ill advised, and wholly reckless decision making. And true to form, they always hire some "house negro" like Barbara Byrd Bennett, Beverly Hall or Corey Booker  or even own dearly deflated James Williams to remove themselves from  the hands on dirty work so that nobody can call them out for their overt racism. Why, a  person of color made these decisions, what ever do you mean by calling us racist? they'll sniff in their best Scarlett O'Hara voice slightly addled by mint juleps and juice. And to her manifest discredit, cleaner Byrd puffed herself up with all the haughty indignation of the damned dead and guilty to give Chicagoans a "how dare you"  when they called her a sell out. Well, Maam, folks aren't buying it. When Byrd Bennett tried to wax indignant that people were calling her school closing racist, parents in the audience shouted back "They Are!" 

So good for Michelle Obama going to Chicago to talk about putting an end to gun violence. And shame on her, her husband and their pal the Mayor for trying ignoring the horrific side effects of the bitter yet profitable medicine their billionaire pals are pushing on Chicago's communities and their schools. Yes, Michelle, unlike Hadia, you were allowed to grow up. Now you need to wake up. Tell your husband his RtTT and his old sidekick are setting up more Hadiyas to take a bullet meant for someone else simply by trying to walk to school. It's not rocket science. 


  1. Peg... back from Opt-Out 2.0 :)April 13, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    You are "right on.." again, Sean.
    I can't even imagine what happens to people when they get power over others. It seems as though they lose their humanity and become sociopaths. Their own children are probably so protected that they don't get wet in a rain storm. Yet they subject other people's children to all sorts of unthinkable dangers and crappy situations. Ugh!

    I met and spent some time with Karen Lewis and a dozen of her Chicago teachers. Karen is fantastic, and the teachers are totally supportive. They are at "war" with Rhamnoballs and his scarey team of ethically challenged prevaricators.
    That school district is about ten times bigger than our Buffalo District, and they have at least that many times the problems. They do have a very strong union that reaches out to the communities and holds meetings and activities every week.
    I think that we will be hearing a lot from them before the 50 schools are abandoned and those communities are torn apart.

    Just an aside... the Department of Education in D.C. looks like a prison, and when you open the door you are greeted by armed security guards who take their jobs very seriously. It is the most unwelcoming place in that wonderful city...a reflection on the guy who acts as boss-man there.

    Michelle had me fooled. I thought she really cared about everyone's children, but I guess she's just a politician using every opportunity for a photo-op. It is disgraceful that she likened herself to Hadia.

    Keep doin' what you do so well!
    Thanks for keeping the fire burning :)

  2. And right here in Buffalo: Say Yes, through their manipulations and consultants have crafted an "earned autonomy" model of budgeting. They are doing a little voodoo with per-pupil budgeting combined with NYS test assessment scores. This will artificially force smaller schools in the city to become poorer and less sufficiently staffed. It is a plan devised by Eli Broad and his reformy Say Yes minions like the consulting firm of Cross and Joftus who hired our Sup't, hired and PAYS FOR our mysterious and intriguing new Deputy Sup't, wrote the job descriptions for the myriad new Central Office jobs, will most likely hire the new people, etc. etc....
    Our Sup't, Deputy, Say Yes, et al. have no connection to Buffalo. They are radically handing over our district to the Broadies and other reform models and our Board of Ed is either asleep at the wheel or too dumb to know what is happening right in front of them.

    Bottom Line: our smaller schools will be closing soon, based on voodoo data, just like Chicago. Will Michelle Obama visit us, too, when our students are hurting?

  3. I just posted this on Ravitch:
    "The data is the lipstick on the pig of poverty. Every eduphilanthropist knows this, but continues to pump money into the manufacture of data because that is how fortunes are made. Children in poverty suffer from the data demonization of teachers."

    Might I add that our Sup't and Deputy, and Say Yes,and Cross and Joftus, and Oshei, and Community Foundation, and M&T, and Wilmers, and Promise Neighborhood, and Johns Hopkins, and the Chameleons, and John King, and Bob Bennett, and Hannya Boulos, and Sam Radford, and the DPCC, know this also.

    1. You are right as usual PH, they all do know it. Sadly, the BoE does not and the media does not scratch the surface asking any questions or informing the public about what is really going on. Instead the News provides free publicity and spin. They call on their go-to expert Hannya - she without credentials or experience in education. And the article in the News this week just lets King make the ridiculous connection of blaming SIG schools "lack of results" on Bflo teachers not agreeing to an appr immediately. Now, wouldn't a real journalist ask why he is making such a claim? And we know that King is salivating over the chance to deny any Waterfront improvement plan he sees so he can hand that real estate over to the Chameleons. The BoE should be curious as to why plans for schools like Build, Harriet Tubman, and others get approved by NYSED and Waterfront keeps getting shot down. King comes into town like a big tough guy, threatening to revoke their registration, all the while knowing he will hand deliver that school to his charter friends, the Chameleons.

  4. You are soooo GOOD!!!
    Great post on Diane's blog. I love it!

    I had two opportunities to talk to Diane in D.C. She is very down to earth and unassuming...easy to like a lot.

  5. I love the way the Commissioner is never seen in Buffalo without his point man, Bob Bennett. It is like Bob Bennett knows Little King cannot be trusted to speak for too long without making a fool of himself. Puppet and Master, those two!
    Last fall, when the Board refused to give either Waterfront or East to the Chameleons, the Chameleons were quite ticked off about it. After a bit of a public beatdown,t hey said that State Ed had asked them to come and consult about developing charters in Buffalo. The circle is being completed now. The steps to completion are:

    1. Bordeaux Bob Wilmers buys the chartery, pistol packin'JAWS for Buffalo.

    2. In 2011, JAWS offers Waterfront, along with three other schools to Polowitz, the head Chameleon. It's written into the minutes of the West Buffalo Charter School. Stinky backroom deal.

    3. Amber Dixon, who couldn't be purchased or bought, says NO to that rotten deal after Jaws is bought out.

    4. Polowitz and the other wealthy charter/privatizers decide to take East and Waterfront on their own. Proposals are written. The public is considered too stupid to care. Not so!

    5. Real folks say NO to Chameleons and speak up. Chameleons shut down temporarily but indicate that they have friends in high places, like King and Bennett. "We'll be back", they hissed on the way out the door.

    6. No plan for Waterfront is acceptable to King now. He and Bob want their conversion charter. No one onthe Board even questions this. No one on the Board even wonders why other plans are accepted but NOTHING that Waterfront submits to State can be accepted.

    6. Our Superintendent, don't give a ****, just like that Honey Badger! She's busy bathing in the smooth milk of "Say Yes". After all, she need not care! Say Yes hired her, hired/pays for Guinn, planned the reorganization of City Hall, wrote the many recent administrative job postings. She can afford to be aloof! After the many administrative new hires are purchased, only two people will have access to her lair. Everyone else must pass thorough the Guinn Cerebus. Stay classy, Pam! You'll be moving on to a better job in no time!
    And we'll be stuck with a sticky, Broadie mess on our hands. Oh, and might I say thank you to the lame-o's on the Board of Ed? What a mess you have created by not even being competent enough to hire a Superintendent.
    Can I get a "Say Yes"!, y'all?


  6. I'll bet the Chameleons are busier than ever working for the candidates who favor charter school management groups...lots of money for them if they can take over the BOE .

    Regarding the Waterfront School...there are not a half dozen parents who favor turning that school over to the charter businesses. It will totally be due John King's ego and lack of experience if he takes the registration and turns that wonderful school over to the group of lawyers, businessmen and investors...(no educators).

    Three hundred children will be transferred out of the Waterfront School because of class size limitations per the proposal submitted by the Chameleon group. The Waterfront students will most certainly not benefit from being ripped out of their school, away from their friends and teachers because democracy no longer exists for them due to the dictatorial actions of the pseudo-leaders in Albany ( and D.C.).

    The public will pay for the charter school, but will have no voice in any phase of its operation because it will be a private business.

    If the Chameleons fail , ( lack of experience and no educators), the building will not revert to the BOE because their lawyers know how to write leases and contracts perfectly.

    If Sam Radford really had the welfare of the children in mind, he would not be joining the those who intend to complete the destruction of communities that are bonded together by the schools (and churches) that are the centers of their family activities. Sam loves Sam.

    New York State is not thriving because of the political appointees who are not qualified to perform the duties required by the positions they hold. Ignorance prevails at the top levels , and their political cronies have helped them to 'circle the wagons'. That is why so many stupid mistakes have cost so much in human resources as well as money. Our children do deserve better.

    The "reformers" have no clue about what they are "reforming", but as long as it "pays", it is all good.