CPS: We won’t invest in struggling schools

They say that if they tell us what they’re doing, we’ll get upset.

What are they doing? Here’s what CPS Chief Operating Officer Tim Cawley told reporters over the phone yesterday: “If we think there’s a chance that a building is going to be closed in the next five to 10 years, if we think it’s unlikely it’s going to continue to be a school, we’re not going to invest in that building.”

Here’s why they don’t want to tell us: “We know increased transparency could potentially lead to increased conflict,” Cawley said. “Somebody sees money going to one school and says, ‘Why not us?'”

Why indeed?

Well, Cawley says they do it to get “the biggest bang for the buck.”

Sure, that’s what public education is all about, after all. That’s the rationale of the power elite who think of school spending as sending money down a “black hole,” or, as the late not-so-great State Sen. “Pate” Philip called it in his push for mayoral control of the schools, a “rat hole.”

The Tribune ran this quote from me:

I think it’s deliberately starving these schools so that they become weaker and weaker before they’re killed off. It shows that they feel absolutely no responsibility toward schools that are struggling. They’re deliberately undermining them.

I called it “appalling.”

I remember a teacher from the Andersen School (now closed) who reported at a CEFTF hearing last year that, as soon as plans were made to open a new LaSalle II magnet school in its building under Renaissance 2010, the building got new tile, new lighting. new window blinds, and new whiteboards. CPS removed the asbestos (remember, bang for the buck!). During the co-location period, the new school received a new library and new washrooms. The drinking fountains in the LaSalle part of the building were fixed, but not on the Andersen side. Students from Andersen were no longer allowed to enter at the main entrance, which was only for LaSalle students.

The student body at Andersen that year was 1% white and 97% low-income. The student body at LaSalle II was 32% white and 60% low-income. You do the math – “bang for the buck,” right?

Meanwhile, the state-mandated Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force ought to call a special meeting to discuss the implications of Cawley’s admission.

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.

Support PURE!
About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.