[I guess perform is a good word here. Like actors perform, trying to make you believe that what you see on stage or screen is real. Performance is measured by how the students also “perform” — on the high stakes tests which permeate the school year. Like the actors at the front of the classroom, the students perform in a way to convince you that what they have done in the past period of time is learn. All the world’s a stage, and all the teachers and students merely actors, and so forth. In the article in Substance News that follows, George Schmidt traces the source of this new bill to the Billionaire Boys Club that is set on transforming education into a privatized fiefdom. Significantly, as the article also shows, City Clerk of Chicago Miguel del Valle is the first mayoral candidate to speak against this “reform.” Del Valle was a consistent participant in the movement to elect Harold Washington mayor in Chicago and, as State Senator in 1988, was a architect of the legislation that created the elected local school councils. And guess what? There is no room for elected local school councils in the privatized fiefdom of the Billionaire Boys Club. Del Valle’s press release can be found on the Substance News site at the end of the article. — Lew Rosenbaum]
Opposes ‘scapegoating’ Chicago teachers… Miguel Del Valle becomes first Chicago mayoral candidate to oppose the ‘Performance Counts’ legislation funded in Illinois by the ‘Billionaire Boys Club‘
George N. Schmidt – December 22, 2010
Chicago City Clerk and mayoral candidate Miguel DelValle has become the first Chicago mayoral candidate to firmly oppose the so-called ‘Performance Counts Act.’ The proposed
legislation was pushed into the lame duck legislative session in Springfield after House Speaker Michael Madigan created a thing called the ‘School Reform Committee’ to fast track the legislation between now and January 6, 2011. Madigan’s enthusiasm for the latest iteration of corporate “school reform” came after a group called “Stand for Children”, based in Oregon, funneled more than $600,000 into the recent election campaigns between October 1, 2010 and November 2, 2010 (election day).
Stand for Children, which only opened its Illinois office in December 2010, contributed $100,000 each in October 2010 to two Democratic legislators who are now on Madigan’s “school reform committee” — Jehan Gordon of Peoria and Keith Farnham. The group’s funding comes almost exclusively from some of the wealthiest people in the USA, although it claims to have a “grass roots” base, and the money that was poured into Illinois politics in October 2010 came from “Stand for Children” offices in Oregon and Massachusetts. When Substance tried to located the Illinois Stand for Children during the first week of December 2010, directory assistance said the group had no phone number in Chicago or Springfield. It is a “501c4” group, meaning it can distribute money without having to reveal the source of its dollars.
Like “Advance Illinois,” which reportedly drafted the proposed act with Stand for Children, Stand for Children claims to be a non-partisan group that’s only interested in what’s best for children. But its ability to make campaign contributions far above anything ordinary teachers might make (Stand for Children was the largest contributor to the re-election campaigns of Jehan Gordon and Keith Farnham) stems from the fact that its money — like the money behind Advance Illinois — comes from millionaires and billionaires.
Michael Madigan’s hastily formed “school reform” committee, which held hearings in Aurora Illinois on December 16 and December 17, 2010, featured “reform” groups, which are massively funded by corporations and foundations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “Advance Illinois” and “Stand for Children” were given preferential treatment during the hearings by both the Democratic co-chair (Linda Chapa La Via) and the Republican co-chair (Roger Eddy), while actual grass roots local groups were snubbed and members of the committee (such as Karen Yarbrough) were allowed to launch into teacher bashing and union busting tirades during the hearings.
Advance Illinois director Robin Steans (the millionaire sister of State Senator Heather Steans) gave the primary testimony on behalf of the bill on both days of the hearings. On the second day of the hearings, she was aided in her testimony by R. Eden Martin, who has been trying to force the privatization of Chicago’s public schools from his position as chairman of the education committee of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. Read the rest of this story and Del Valle’s statement by clicking this link.