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10/26/2009

Daley's CPS Control Questioned

A PRECINCT7 EXCLUSIVE 

  State Senator James Meeks (D-Chicago) will introduce a bill in Springfield this week to take away control of the Chicago Public Schools from the Mayor's office.  The Reverend Senator Meeks, the pastor of the 20,000-member Salem Baptist Church, says he was moved to act after the beating death of 17 year old Fenger High School Student Derrion Albert.   Meeks says the larger problem at Fenger and virtually every other all-black or all-latino high school is that 95% of the students perform below grade level.

  In 1995, the General Assembly passed and Governor Jim Edgar signed a bill giving Mayor Daley sole authority over the Chicago Public Schools system, the third largest in the country.   The Mayor not only appoints the school board, he also names the Chief Executive Officer.  Neither of the last two  CEO's he has appointed (Arne Duncan and Ron Huberman) were professional educators.   Meeks wants a return to the system with nonpolitical educators in charge.

   A 17 or 18 year old attending a Chicago Public High School was 3 or 4 years old when Daley took over the system.  Most CPS high schoolers are kids whose entire formal educations have occurred in the system controlled by the Mayor.   Meeks points to the high percentage of high school students who cannot read at a fifth grade level and the horrific 60% drop out rate among African-American males as evidence of Daley's failures, and says,  "There needs to be a discussion about whether or not Mayor Daley's control of the schools has run its course".

   At groundbreakings for new buildings and other events the Mayor and his CEO's laud "improving test scores" and the fact that since 1995, there has been relative peace (no strikes) between CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union.  But minority lawmakers, who have whispered concerns about Daley's control for years, suspect the higher test scores are "juiced" when results are added from the new, college prep magnet schools that have attracted city kids who in years past would have attended private or parochial academies.    Meeks says test scores in general attendance elementary and high schools in the worst neighborhoods are as bad as they have ever been.  And he says the "labor peace" has allowed the CTU to resist any effort to fire unqualified teachers who are mostly assigned to the worst schools.

  Meeks says he will file his bill in the Senate during this week's veto session but does not expect committee hearings on it until January.

Comments

Now that people are out of work, they can watch Daley strip the city bare. We need to take away the power Daley has, he is a tyrant. We also need term limits.

Sen. Meeks should focus on getting the black community to stop the violence. Seems strange that this is only a problem in the black communities. Dont see any of this going on in the white communities like Orland Park, New Lenox. Sen Meeks should be showing the people in the inner city how to live amongst one another without killing innocent people.

Call me a racist but the cold hard truth hurts!!

Why is it we only hear about violence in the black areas?

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