George Schmidt on a bunch of stuff

    The NY Times reported the other day:

    Next year, the four pregnancy schools and the last seven New Beginnings centers for students with behavioral problems will be phased out because of low attendance and poor performance.

    We always love to get Chicago's George Schmidt's reaction to things since he has been so accurate in predicting the impact of mayoral control/corporate style management on New York. Due to George's warnings as far back as 2001, Ed Notes opposed Weingarten's call for mayoral control when Giuliani was still nmayor and her total cooperation with BloomKlein since.

    May 28, 2007

    New Yorkers:

    Despite the rhetoric that they are doing all of this "for the sake of the kids," it is likely, unless you put enormous pressure on them, that New York will follow Chicago on this one.

    Here in Chicago, the same kinds of things were done. Programs that were serving children with serious problems were dumped, amid rhetoric about improving things. What was actually done was to dump the kids from the place of last resort. The trick was to repeat, over and over and over, about how this was being done to improve things for those kids, then make sure that nobody studied what happened to the kids who were thrown in the dumpster.

    The same is true of the schools that served pregnant girls. The last thing on the mind of a pregnant thirteen-year-old girl with other problems is making a high score on a standardized test. Ditto getting to "school" every day on time. As a result, of course test scores and attendance are "bad."

    But those schools here in Chicago provided medical, counseling and other services that couldn't be mesured by any simple "matrix" (to use that Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush word the CEO types love). The main points of the schools were to serve both people -- the mother to be and the unborn child. To even talk about the "failure" of these schools in terms of attendance rates and test scores is a little nuts.

    Again here, the key will be to follow the "We've got a study on that" model pioneered here in Chicago.

    Tell the world you're concerned about every kid you're dumping, promise to make sure every kid you're dumping is both tracked and provided with access to better services (across the board), and then ignore those kids.

    Just about every major university in Chicago has collaborated with the Chicago Board of Education in this major form of dishonesty. There are no "studies" and for most of the kids that are dumped, this is a ruthlessly Darwinian move by those who rule the city to purge the system of them (and the social obligation to try and help them solve massive economic, social, educational and personal problems).

    George N. Schmidt
    Editor, Substance

    Addendum: 5/29/07

    One of the things Chicago's corporate media has ignored about all of these localized recreations is that extreme expansion of local administrative overhead.

    Some Chicago high schools that once had one principal and one assistant principal (like Bowen, where I last worked before I was fired and blacklisted) now have three "small schools". That requires one "campus manager" (to coordinate all those operations within one building), three principals, and at least one assistant principal for each of those small schools. Each of those seven people is now being paid (straight salary) more than $100,000 per year.

    That type of "reform" is providing a built-in social and economic base (within a new corporate "reform" bureaucracy) for the Bloombergs (New York City) and Daleys (Chicago) of the world.

    The people who are becoming "principals" in these configurations never believed in their fantasies that they'd be earning $100,000 a year, or that they would be looking at pensions of $80,000 per year just for singing the praises of corporate "school reform" under the fascist model of the "CEO" solution to urban education -- or keeping their mouths shut about how corrupt it is.

    Update on principal salaries:
    One of the things that the imperial mayors want to do is create a distinct class of people, based on salary and prospective pension, that is always at odds, because of simple economics, with everyone else in the school.

    When mayoral control began in 1995, the salary of the averae principal in Chicago was around 25 - 50 percent more than the salary of the average veteran teacher. Over time, the Board of Education tweaked that so that now both principals and assistant principals are being paid between $100,000 and $135,000 per year, while teachers are topping off at $65,000 per year. It seems that when a "teacher" (and this includes principals) gets into six figure incomes and the prospect of a pension based on that, any loyalty to the classroom ends. That's what's happened here in Chicago. The huge salaries are then supplemented, post retirement, with consultancies.

    It's a mini version of the "CEO model" of how things are supposed to work.

    Keep an eye on what's happening in New York, since for all the differences you're still following the Chicago script (including the collaboration of the teachers' union with the worst of corporate "school reform").

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