Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Blogs Are On The Case

There are several blogs discussing the Tribune article (once again, thanks for that Christmas morning present Trib).

Check out Dr. Homeslice here.

Check out Edpresso here.

UPDATE: Way back on 9/11/06 I said this:

To save $3,ooo, a teacher would have to save $125 a pay period for the next 24 checks they receive. For $4,000, the amount goes to $167 for the next 24 pay periods.
Now it is 7 pay periods later. We only have 17 pay periods left before we need our own strike fund in our bank accounts.

How much do you need to save between now and then? To have $3000, you need to save $176 every two weeks. To have $4000, you need to save $235 every two weeks.

Why isn't our union telling us to do this?

Merry Christmas...And Let's Strike?

Thanks Tribune! What do I read on Christmas morning? More strike talk.

A quick quote from the Dec. 25th Tribune story:

What is clear is that this early strike talk is making district officials and teachers nervous as they head into contract negotiations early next year. The current four-year contract will expire on June 30, about a month after teachers and assistants elect a slate of union officers.

"There's a lot of unhappy teachers out there," said Tom Stonis, a social studies teacher at Fenger High School on the Far South Side. "And there's a little buzz going on that if we don't get what we want, we're going to go on strike. But I'm not going to be around next year ... because of the strike possibilities. It's not worth it to me to go out on strike in this district."
I have talked about the possibility of a strike here, here, and here.

What model will it follow? Detroit (god forbid)?

What say you?

Monday, December 25, 2006

James Brown - Prisoner of Love/Please Please Please

Rest in Peace Godfather.

No comment is necessary, but watching this video is required.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Alexander and the gang at District 299 are talking about who may or not be the best principal in CPS.

I, if I may be so bold, think this is an unanswerable question. How can anyone know who doesn't work there? My principal is doing great after only a few months, but how can I know who is best if I don't work there?

Instead, I think a better question is what attributes, what policies are implemented, that makes a principal good or bad?

In other words, what kind of principal would you like to work for? What is it that makes a good principal great? I think even most principals would like to know.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Barack Obama on Monday Night Football

Saturday, December 09, 2006


I thought the headline should read like a check, because that is how much CPS put in the pocket of James Levin and Tru-Link Fence.

I know the outrage is shrill. To the point that if James Levin was encountered in a dark alley...Well let's just say I hope he doesn't encounter a teacher.

The headlines at the Tribune said James Levin of Tru-Link Fence (a business in Skokie, not even in Chicago paying taxes) bilked CPS for millions of dollars.

You need to read deeper into the article. Turns out the scandal is not just that he got the contracts (worth 2.87 million) to build fences, in my humble opinion (IMHO) it was the overbilling of $207,000 for snow removal that gets my goat.

The day this story came out, I, and everyone I talked to, was outraged. The conversation centered around the idea of what could we do for the children of Chicago with 2.87 million dollars.

But let's put that aside.

I will assume the best here. He got the contracts (fraudulently of course) but let's assume he did the work for the amount billed.

It is the $207,000 that sticks in my craw.

That is 100 classrooms outfitted with the latest technology including an LCD projector and screen. 100 classrooms.

How about pencil sharpeners? High end, groovy pencil sharpeners are $24.99 each. For $207,000 I could put a brand new sharpener in about 8280 classrooms. 8280 classrooms.

What did you need this year? What did you spend your precious $100 on? Hey, let's kick in the nice $50.00 "gift card" CPS sent to the teachers. (This, despite that the average amount spent by a teacher on class supplies is $522.) What could you have done for your building with $207,000?

Seriously, if I could have handed you $207,000 for your building, what would you have done with it? Methinks it would not involve paying Mr. Levin for work not done.

Check out this anonymous comment from over at Russo's District 299 blog (and keep in mind that Russo posted this on December 7 and as of this writing on December 9, there has been only one comment about this 2.87 million dollar scandal):

Levin couldn't have defrauded CPS without help from CPS. Who gives a snow removal contract to a fence company and then lets them overcharge them by a quarter of a million bucks? Of course the guy who hands out the CPS contracts is the brother of the Streets & San guy who hands out contracts. And of course the Mayor knows nothing. But the Civic Committee wants to cut more teachers and use charter schools to trim the CPS budget. Fogedaboudit.
Here is a tidbit for all of you to chew on from the Tribune, and I quote: "According to his plea agreement, Levin, 47, learned of the fraud in 2001 from an unnamed co-schemer who oversaw Tru-line's work for the schools." The bold face is mine.

So I ask you, in all seriousness, who is the "unnamed co-schemer"?

Who is the "unnamed co-schemer" who robbed 100 classrooms of LCD projectors?

Who is the "unnamed co-schemer" who robbed over 8,000 classrooms of a pencil sharpener?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John Lennon

Two weeks to go...

Friday, December 01, 2006

And You Thought We Had It Tough

The gunmen came at night to drag Mohammed Halim away from his home, in front of his crying children and his wife begging for mercy.

The 46-year-old schoolteacher tried to reassure his family that he would return safely. But his life was over, he was part-disembowelled and then torn apart with his arms and legs tied to motorbikes, the remains put on display as a warning to others against defying Taliban orders to stop educating girls.
Full story here.
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