Posts Tagged ‘Rhee’

PSAT for 5-8-12: Teacher Appreciation Week – what to do and what NOT to do

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

This is National Teacher Appreciation Week. Teachers have been the whipping post for “reformers” for several years now, and the least we can do is take a break from the privatization and teacher-bashing rhetoric to honor teachers honestly and strongly.

So, what did the man in the bully pulpit do? President Obama issued a proclamation declaring this “National Charter Schools Week:” “I call on States and communities to support charter schools and the students they serve.”

No. Don’t do that to teachers. Not this week.

And you might send a stern note to or send a tweet #barackobamashouldhonorteachersandnotcharterschoolsthisweek.

Did you get a “heartfelt e-mail” from Michelle Rhee, asking you to honor teachers this week by clicking on her web site to hear the messages of thanks for teachers from her billions of members? A lot of people did.

You notice that I have not included a link. That’s because the minute you click on any link from Michelle Rhee, sugar-coated as each one is in the gingerbread of her lies about how much she supports “great” teachers, she will add you to her pretend army in her crusade to destroy public schools through privatization, high-stakes testing for students, teachers and schools, charters, vouchers, “virtual school.” She claims several million members already.

Don’t do it. Uh-uh. You can find out all you need to know about Michelle Rhee here and about how is complicit in her efforts by redirecting people to misleading Rhee  petitions (sign if you love teachers, eg) after they have signed someone else’s petition. Rhee pays to do this something like $2 per signature). Read about a PAA member’s efforts to get them to stop here.

And please spread the word about Rhee petitions. Treat them like the virus-loaded messages they are.

What about applauding your local pol for tipping his/her hat to teachers?

Except in rare cases, don’t do that. Please.

Instead, share this message from a Syracuse, NY teacher: “Keep your empty words to yourself. Your actions have already shown us what you really think.”

So, what to do?

I think you know what to do. And now you know what not to do.


PSAT for 3-13-12: Support a QUALITY school day

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Parents across Chicago are ramping up their opposition to Mayor Emanuel’s 7.5 hour school day.

For example, a group of parents from Chicago’s 19th Ward, along with their alderman, Matt O’Shea, organized a community forum last Thursday which attracted over 350 people and was written up by most major news outlets, including a column by the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Brown.

The group prepared their own power point presentation which apparently blew CPS’s typical dog-and-pony show out of the water by raising and then debunking most of CPS’s public statements about why the 7.5 hour day is necessary.

From the 19th Ward Parents’ presentation:

CPS sez: “The rationale behind moving CPS schools to a full school day is clear…our elementary school students are receiving 22% less instructional time than their peers across the country.” (J.C. Brizard email 2/10/12)

The TRUTH: Average U.S. school day is 6.64 hours for elementary schools. CPS school day is currently 5.75 = 14% difference.

CPS sez: “To be clear, we are not claiming – nor have we ever claimed – that 7.5 hours is the national average; rather, 90 minutes of additional instructional time in elementary schools gets Chicago on par with the national average in instructional minutes in elementary school during the year.” Schools On The Line call-in show. 6:45 to 8:00p.m. March 1st WBEZ 91.5FM with BOE member Jesse Ruiz .

The TRUTH: Assuming all schools that are on par with the national average length of day have a 45 minute lunch and recess period and 15 minutes of passing time, this would mean 5 hours and 30 minutes of instructional time, or 30 minutes more than the average CPS elementary school which currently has at least 5 hours of instructional time.

CPS sez: “With a high school graduation rate of only 57% and 7.9% of 11th graders testing college ready, our children cannot afford to wait another day to get the time they need to boost their achievement.”

The TRUTH: Citywide graduation rate, according to the District State Report Card, is 73.8%. 7.4% of high school students were “chronically truant” in 2010-11. 33 CPS high schools have at least 20% of the student body chronically truant. After lengthening their day, MA schools noted a statistically significant negative impact on attendance rates within first two years. (Bouhy, Gamse, Chekoway, Maree and Fox: Evaluation of MA ELT Initiative after 4 years)

CPS sez: “And while some schools are higher performing than others, there are NO schools in the district where more than 90% of 8th graders are meeting college readiness standards.”

The TRUTH: CPS Explore Tests show that 60 schools with 8th grade classes meet or exceed college readiness standards. ISATs: 80.4% of 8th graders currently meet or exceed.

So, for Public Schools Action Tuesday today, please show your support for a better – not necessarily 7.5 hour longer – school day by signing the “Say No to the proposed 7.5 hour day” petition here.

If you are a CPS parent, please also take a couple of minutes to fill out this survey.


Please be aware that the petition site,, piggybacks a petition for Michelle Rhee’s anti-public teacher group, Students First, onto the Chicago parents’  petition with the fraudulent come-on, “Good Teachers Deserve Decent Pay.” Don’t sign it or Michelle will automatically add you to her “membership” list and use your name to raise more funds for her hate group. Many groups around the country have asked to stop driving traffic to Rhee, but so far they have refused.

On a similar note, read more about another nasty interlude with the astroturf group Stand for Children’s resident creep here.

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.