Illinois Update 6-2-18: Education, Chicago-style

  • The mother-of-all-scandals at CPS revealed in a Tribune special report

Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel is being forced to answer for yet another Chicago Public Schools (CPS) scandal: sexual abuse of students in schools, reported on in detail yesterday by the Chicago Tribune. Reports by students of abuse were concealed by administrators and those in charge of investigating complaints for years. Continue reading “Illinois Update 6-2-18: Education, Chicago-style”


Coffee Break 3-8-18: A Tale of Two Stories

A Tale of Two (News) Stories


“Nearly a month ago, Rauner infamously declared that he ‘would not do anything different’ in the aftermath of a Legionnaires’ outbreak at the Quincy Veterans’ Home. Since then four residents have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ and new reports keep raising questions about Rauner’s response to the crisis.

Yesterday, Rauner’s administration dodged a legislative committee who wanted to know why the state never acted on a recommendation to replace water pipes back in 2016. After a WBEZ investigative report into the home, which prompted a Rauner stay at the home, his team requested an updated report. And they asked for the plumbing replacement as an ‘emergency project’ since ‘frail, elderly residents at the home (are) still becoming sickened.’

Rauner told Crain’s Chicago this month, ‘We’ve handled it exceptionally well and we would not do anything different.’”

–DGA, quoted in Capitol Fax 2-21-18

There’s plenty of news circulating these days, but not all of it is making front-page headlines in the MSM—or at least, not until the stories themselves are played out.

Below the fold, we consider two stories we’re following, one out of West Virginia, and the other out of Illinois. The first was the West Virginia teachers and service personnel strike, the other is a mystery-tragedy in Quincy, Illinois.  Both serve to illustrate separate-but-related facets of the trend towards “small government”—small in terms of citizen services, that is. Continue reading “Coffee Break 3-8-18: A Tale of Two Stories”

Coffee Break 2-5-18: Public Education

Lest We Forget

DeedSpeakOut has recently joined a Facebook group called “Abandoned Images of Illinois.” Yesterday members posted photos of two abandoned early 20th-century schoolhouses, the Time School in Pike County and another near Clinton (Galilee Road off Rte. 51) in Dewitt County. Continue reading “Coffee Break 2-5-18: Public Education”

Coffee Break 1-29-8: On Public Education

Why I Believe in Public Education


No quotes today; rather, we dedicate this post to two education writers who have in the past few days written or delivered testaments to public education without glossing over the problems public schools are facing:

Jan Ressenger, “Why We Chose Public Schools”

Peter Greene, “For Some Reason” Continue reading “Coffee Break 1-29-8: On Public Education”

HEJE Overview 1-20-18: Education


Ed reforms = failed reforms

What is the ultimate goal of public education? Do we genuinely want our citizens to be able to embrace an active role in American civic life, from neighborhood watch volunteers to Congressional representatives? Is every child in America equally deserving of a good education?

If the answer to these questions is “Yes,” then we’re doing something terribly wrong.


We’re back to our regular HEJE coverage, and today review recent education developments, including: ESSA/NCLB (hint: they’re not all that different); Michigan charters and their funding; rural/urban low minority college attendance; Freezing Baltimore public schools suggest neglect, structural racism and classism; California private schools are subject to zero oversight. Bonus: another piece of poorly-thought-out education legislation from Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s BTIATM. Continue reading “HEJE Overview 1-20-18: Education”

HEJE Overview 11-21-17: Education


“In response to the recent surge of energy on the left, the hedge-funded Democrats increasingly market their agenda items in the language of psuedo-populist reform, while blocking efforts—on housing, education funding, health care, tax policy, and bank regulation—aimed at directly remedying the state’s steepening inequalities of wealth, income, and opportunity.”

–Jennifer Berkshire  on the woes of Democratic ed reformers, writing in the Baffler

DSO: Poverty-remediation efforts: affordable (and integrated) housing, enhanced (public) school funding, single-payer healthcare from pre-cradle to grave, progressive income taxes, a handy Postal bank (and for investment, a state bank in the image of that in North Dakota), not to mention a host of regulations for existing banks—so much could be done.

None of these measures forms part of the doctrine of free markets. But together they would go a long way towards buttressing a free country and citizenry.

It’s a great day for education articles and analyses—meaning that there’s an abundance of disturbing news about education, one of our four HEJE Overview signature areas of coverage. On today’s reading list: The Big Picture on the downsizing of education at the federal level; the Network for Public Education’s just-released study, “Charters and Consequences”; charter school teachers gear up to unionize; our schools’ diversity problem – and a novel solution; Scott Walker and the hollowing-out of public schools in Wisconsin; government schools are not the solution to educational inequality (the view from the other side: vouchers, yeah!). Continue reading “HEJE Overview 11-21-17: Education”

HEJE Overview 11-16-17: Education


From the Senate HELP committee’s hearings on the nomination of Mitchell Zais (of South Carolina) to become undersecretary of Education…

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) asked Zais about his support for vouchers and whether he was aware of recent research about the impact of vouchers on student achievement. Zais responded: “To the best of my knowledge, whenever we give parents an opportunity to choose a school that is the best fit for their children, there are improved outcomes.”

“To which Franken replied: ‘No, that is not true.’ He then cited a New York Times article from earlier this year about three studies of large voucher programs in Indiana, Louisiana and Ohio, which found vouchers negatively affected test results in reading and math. (Franken did not mention a major 2017 study on the nation’s only federally funded voucher program, in Washington, D.C., that showed similar results.) Zais said: ‘I was unaware of those studies that you cited.’”

–as reported by Valerie Strauss, The Answer Sheet, Washington Post

DSO: Should this really come as a surprise to anyone? 

Today’s HEJE Overview returns to Education: teaching, as a profession, is inherently political; the Washington Monthly brouhaha between Thomas Toch (pro-reform) and John Merrow (who’s seen the light) about the Michelle Rhee reformist era in the DCPS; a Philadelphia university faculty member has been studying  poverty among college students; a group of homeless persons, including schoolchildren, is evicted across the street from where the Zuckerbergs will build a private school for—you guessed it—poor students in East Palo Alto (not to be confused with Palo Alto).   Continue reading “HEJE Overview 11-16-17: Education”