In the Business of Schooling | Letters | Chicago Reader

In the Business of Schooling 

Dear Reader,

Ben Joravsky continues to do a fine job exposing the hypocrisy and dirty lies of the Chicago Public Schools board of education in their march to destroy public education in the city. His latest article, "Careful What You Ask For" [The Works, June 10], shows that Mayor Daley's Renaissance 2010 to privatize the schools isn't about closing "failing" schools and making something better. They are even turning successful schools like Haugan into charter schools to get rid of unions, kick out poor kids, and serve wealthy developers. In the article schools CEO Arne Duncan claims that CPS gives charter schools dollar for dollar what all schools get, "so it's really not about saving [the system] money." The charter schools, which are run by private entities that are either profit or nonprofit, operate on much less public money, thus they receive less oversight and are less accountable to cumbersome CPS bureaucracy. All the charter schools I'm familiar with must do extensive fund-raising and are primarily supported by businesses. There was even an article in the Chicago Tribune about a year ago in which many potential bidders to run charter schools in the city said there wasn't enough money to do it. Charter schools are obviously big-business operations run by those with the right political connections and access to plenty of cash. That's why billionaires like Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates and former junk-bond convict Michael Milken are big into the privatization of education. Just like Bush says it's all about democracy and freedom in Iraq, Duncan a la Daley says it's all about the kids and a better future. But a better future for whom?

James Nolan

Uptown

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