"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Who is Monitoring Duncan's CPS Charter Goon Squads?

No one.

And no one dare dare report incidents like strip searches, or else end up as did whistleblower teacher, Meg Sullivan. Here is just a intro snippet from the Sun-Times's extensive round-up on the latest disasters within the Chicago Miracle:
BY ROSALIND ROSSI Education Reporter
Three high school girls, taken into a washroom one at a time by an off-duty Chicago police officer, told to drop their pants, squat and cough -- all in the hunt for a cigarette lighter that was never found.

Student grades bumped up a notch -- including Fs converted to Ds.

Dozens of student absences that mysteriously evaporated from report cards.

These are the charges that are now swirling around a charter school, one of dozens of new schools started under Mayor Daley's Renaissance 2010 initiative -- an approach touted by President-elect Barack Obama as he tapped Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan to be the nation's next U.S. Secretary of Education.

Chicago Public School officials say they investigated the allegations involving ASPIRA Early College Charter High School, and that two administrators and the off-duty Chicago police officer who was acting as a school security guard have been "disciplined'' and left the school as a result.

But the whistleblower in the case questions whether CPS acted thoroughly and swiftly enough, whether grades and attendance were ever fully corrected, and whether anyone is truly monitoring CPS charter schools.

"I was sick to my stomach about it,'' said teacher Meg Sullivan. "Is nothing sacred - not even children?''

'What else is going on?'
Sullivan said she complained in June to both ASPIRA of Illinois, which operates Early College High and three other charter schools, and to the CPS Office of New Schools, which oversees Renaissance 2010 schools. She said nothing much happened until she stood up publicly at the August School Board meeting.

Sullivan said it took ASPIRA five months to take any action against Principal Jose Velazquez, but ASPIRA fired her within days of her complaints to ASPIRA and CPS. She is pursuing a retaliatory discharge action against ASPIRA.

"I was fired within five days, and I didn't do anything but look out for the interests of the children,'' said Sullivan. "If I wasn't willing to risk my job, nothing would have happened.

"It makes me wonder what else is going on in these charter schools?''

This week, the office of CPS's inspector general opened its own investigation into grade-changing and alleged attendance tampering at ASPIRA Early College. Plus, CPS officials are now trying to determine if they acted as quickly as they could have, a CPS spokesman said.

Meanwhile, a federal lawsuit is expected to be filed Thursday against the off-duty police officer and ASPIRA of Illinois on behalf of two of three girls whom lawyers James Fennerty and Robert Ludemann say were illegally "strip searched'' on Dec. 20, 2007, during the opening year of ASPIRA Early College High, then located at 3729 W. Leland. . . .

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