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Education Mon Jul 20 2009
Chicago schools reporter and publisher of Substance News George Schmidt documents the utter failure of Mayor Daley's public schools to serve special needs kids. The Mayor's hostile takeover of the Chicago Public Schools with the 1995 Amendatory Act made him a hero with Mayors around the country and his "taming" of the Teachers Union an idol to education reformers who think privatizing education is the only way to improve it. Arne Duncan's tenure at the schools earned him a promotion to be the nation's top education bureaucrat. Why? Because they fired teachers. The only discernible record of the Daley administration is this: performance is little or no better, and the most experienced teachers, particularly if they're Black, have been fired. Congratulations, Team Daley!
Principals, parents, teachers and students across Chicago are growing in the awareness that the Chicago Board of Education, for the past seven years under the leadership of Mayor Richard M. Daley and Michael Scott, has been systematically (and illegally) depriving the city's most deserving children of the public special education services both the law and common decency say they deserve.
The recent revelations that the principal of Prescott Elementary School, Erin Roche, had dumped as many special education programs as possible from his school in his drive to create an "elite" school for the children of a wealthy handful who have been moving into the area is not singular.
The closing of schools with programs for the neediest children, along with massive cuts in special education services and the sabotaging of the IEP process (so that teachers cannot prescribe one-on-one services for children) was a long-term policy of the Duncan administration (2001 - 2009).