Busy week coming up. There's a vigil for public schools in Chicago on Tuesday night at the Chicago Temple.
The following night, the appointed CPS Board is going to vote on the new charter schools, less than a year after closing fifty neighborhood schools because of a manufactured "utilization" crisis. We really have no way to vote for the board, in spite of the fact that it is a taxing body, so we're sort of reduced to vigils, but vigils are important so I'm going.
Also on Wednesday night there's Gulen 101 Session One, With Sharon Higgins, the webinar series that will begin to explain to people the connection between a number of Chicago charter schools and a secretive transnational Turkish social movement led by a self-styled, self-exiled imam--who incidentally is also one of protagonists of the current meltdown in the Turkish government and civil society. The webinar is booked to capacity with people from all over the world, but we hope to make some video available after the event. I will personally send copies to all of the legislators and alderpeople who have been on the receiving end of awards and junkets and donations and grooming from this highly organized group. As I mentioned above, the CPS Board meeting will be going on at the same time.
ISBE is having a two-day meeting this week as well, and we're asking for people to go if they can. The state board is going to vote on an invisible proposal to raise the class size limits in special education, which as you know, will work out nicely for Chicago, having moved thousands of special ed students hither and yon and God only knows who's keeping track of what. As you know, one of the current bedrocks of ed reform is that class size doesn't matter, and it therefore must be especially true that special ed class size doesn't matter, and that the optimum school setting is one where there is one teacher (on screen) and thousands of the low-incidence special needs kids that the charter schools basically don't serve, as well as the high-incidence ones they don't serve well.
Then on Thursday night, we'll be out in lovely suburban Batavia to co-sponsor the Charter Expansion Forum. We'll be hearing about the latest research in charter schools and talking about what to do moving forward with the highly undemocratic, ALEC-inspired, almost invisible State Charter School Commission, the one that installed a Gulen school into the city last year over the protests of community members and even the appointed CPS Board, which usually hands out the patronage in this town by order of the Mayor, not some committee. The suburbs, with their elected school boards, have not been subject to as great an assault by privatizers as we have here in the fertile fields of Chicago, but it's all coming. They also had to deal with that plainly grift-based virtual charter chain just a few months ago, so they understand the stakes.