dblburger | Chicago Reader

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Re: “Cook County judicial elections stir up unusual public scrutiny

Thanks for the link. It's one one of the most comprehensive evaluation of judges I've seen.

http://voteforjudges.org/wp-content/upload…

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by dblburger on 11/03/2018 at 2:10 PM

Re: “The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill is at war with American exceptionalism and imperialism

Iac,

I see little to nothing in the Bogira article, 'Trying to make separate equal,' to support your eagerness to spend capital funds first and foremost in schools with the highest white populations (or as you call them, 'racially integrated' schools). One study from the article finds that reading and math improvements between 1990 and 1996 were greater in integrated schools than in 'truly disadvantaged' schools. But this comes as no surprise since in the integrated schools *only 7 percent* of the students were from families below the poverty line. Compare that to 70 percent below the poverty line in the 'truly disadvantaged' schools (where more than 90 percent of the students were African American in each of the schools). The study only reinforces what we already know-- that income level and test scores go hand in hand.

Moreover, your defense that schools with the most whites should be 'given priority' when it comes to capital spending doesn't hold up. Specifically, you cite 'desegregated schools' as the goal and justification for spending where the most white kids are. But look at the school district realistically: according to Bogira, 'only 9 percent of CPS's enrollment' is made up of non-Hispanic whites. [1] So if you open half a dozen or so new schools where the white population will be very high (compared to the rest of the district), and in so doing draw a few hundred black kids to each of these schools, my god man-- there's roughly 396,000 school kids in Chicago (2015), [2] and roughly 360,000 of those kids are non-white. Do you see how absurd your 'desegregation' ruse looks? It looks more like a justification for allowing schools in minority communities to fall into disrepair. If capital funds have been made available, and improving schools is a genuine goal, then start repairing faltering boilers, inadequate or broken air conditioning, falling apart windows and doors, leaking pipes, broken water fountains, peeling paint, etc. These things directly affect learning environment (and consequently performance), and lower morale among students and parents.

[1] https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/segr…
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Publ…

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by dblburger on 10/09/2018 at 1:00 PM

Re: “The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill is at war with American exceptionalism and imperialism

JT, the article you chose is basically a criticism against successful capitalists holding office due to the potential for conflicts of interest. I'm not sure if you would call the article anti-capitalist, or socialist, or what, but the only "crime" of the repeatedly elected official is, apparently, being a wealthy businessman and holding office-- which poses a potential conflict of interest. I guess if we could find a way to get rid of all wealthy politicians with potential conflicts of interest it would be a good thing; I'm just not sure how you would go about it. Some kind of commission to disallow certain people from holding public office?

(Incidentally, Ben Joravsky is the lead author of the article you chose.)

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by dblburger on 10/08/2018 at 5:29 PM

Re: “The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill is at war with American exceptionalism and imperialism

Iac,

Your economic worldview never ceases to disappoint. Even when funds are made available, you find a way to *avoid* spending in schools with the highest minority populations. That's called disinvestment. Of course, disinvestment contributes directly to lower enrollment and justification for school closure. Conversely, capital funds could be used to make much needed repairs to faltering boilers, inadequate or broken air conditioning, falling apart windows and doors, leaking pipes, broken water fountains, peeling paint, etc. These things directly affect learning environment (and consequently performance), and lower morale among students and parents. It's indefensible to look away from these needs and propose spending first and foremost in schools that have the largest white population.

5 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by dblburger on 10/08/2018 at 1:54 PM

Re: “The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill is at war with American exceptionalism and imperialism

JT,

Re: Investigative Journalism: Can you share a few of the articles you found compelling.

7 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by dblburger on 10/04/2018 at 2:48 PM

Re: “The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill is at war with American exceptionalism and imperialism

Iac,

What you call 'positive things' are concrete ideas. Recommendations made by the American Heart Association, for instance, are concrete ideas. You wouldn't deny that fact because they don't say exactly how people are going to accomplish the recommendations. Their expertise provides the basis for action. It's up to the public to *advocate* for their implementation (via mandated recess, healthy food vending machines, informative food labels, etc.).

You also know that in 1995 Mayor Daley got the Republican legislature to strip Chicago teachers of their right to bargain for learning conditions-- e.g., things like class size. The law makes it illegal for Chicago teachers to negotiate for anything other than compensation. CTU has advocated for a restoration of broader bargaining rights (e.g., HB1253; Tabares). They are more than eager for the legal right to push for improved learning conditions for Chicago's school kids. If the "reformers" would get out of the way, and the broader rights were restored, I think we'd be a lot closer to realizing the concrete ideas put forth by teachers; the Mayor would have more pressure to seek alternative revenue or else rearrange his spending priorities to accommodate, for instance, the need for adequate wrap around staff. (Sadly, under Rahm, CPS has become the most understaffed school district in Illinois.) [1]

Regarding TIFs, I'm not sure where your figure of $100 million comes from. Last year, a whopping $660 million went into TIF funds. [2] 55% of that is diverted from schools. That's a lot of coin taken from school kids each year.

I bring up the Tribune pol to highlight the fact that the overwhelming majority of Chicago voters disagree with your incredulous claim that teachers don't have concrete ideas for improving education. Not surprisingly, black and Latino voters disagree with you to an even greater extent. Yea, you got it right, they are seeing what's right in front of their eyes.

The obvious concern with the 2019 $989 million capital spending plan is that the Mayor is proposing less than half spending for predominately black or Latino schools as compared to predominately white or mixed schools. [3] There is real concern (but not new concern) that the Mayor's plan will siphon enrollment, and therefore dollars, off many already vulnerable neighborhood schools. The Mayor's track record with black and Latino students is already poor. Take, for instance, the 2016 drastic cuts to special education, replaced by an appeals process. Surprise, the ten schools with highest white population were all successful in their appeals for much needed special education dollars. On the other hand, the ten schools with lowest white population all had their appeals denied. [4]

Your statement that, 'every dollar that goes towards increased compensation is something that would have gone to something else otherwise' is so universally applicable in an economy where scarcity exists that it is practically meaningless. You can just as easily say that every dollar that goes toward muffins on a city official's expense account, or every dollar that goes toward trees, or toward the Mayor's or aldermanic salaries is, as you say, 'something that would have gone to something else otherwise.'

[1] https://troylaraviere.net/2018/06/01/emanu…
[2] http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/p…
[3] https://www.wbez.org/shows/wbez-news/wbez-…
[4] https://troylaraviere.net/2018/05/02/the-c…

9 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by dblburger on 10/04/2018 at 12:47 PM

Re: “The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill is at war with American exceptionalism and imperialism

corrections to my last post:

The priority given to classroom dollars is entirely reflective of the Mayor's priorities when he makes the annual budget.

or that judges' pay takes away from computers, record keeping, storage, technical equipment, etc., which are necessary to the judicial system.

Cheerleading for the mass school closings without critical data seems at the very least, short sighted, and at the most, well, let's just leave it at that.

A 2014 study found that 'only 31 percent of parents support using students' standardized test scores to evaluate teachers.'

7 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by dblburger on 10/04/2018 at 12:37 PM

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