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

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Huberman Moves to Fix Violence That Duncan Plan Made Worse

While Chicago Schools CEO, Ron Huberman, was Director of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications for Chicago, he signed 130 purchase vouchers. The largest one for $2.25 million was also the one that he did not bother to review. And now it is the subject of a scathing report by the City of Chicago's Inspector General, as reported four days ago by the Sun-Times:

Chicago schools chief Ron Huberman -- Mayor Daley's former corruption-fighting chief of staff -- is being accused of a "significant management failure" that set the stage for alleged contract irregularities at the city's 911 center that cost taxpayers $2.25 million.

In an explosive new report, the city inspector general's office characterizes Huberman as so derelict in the oversight of a contract with Motorola while he was executive director of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications that he should be suspended if he still worked for the city. . . .

So now as CEO of CPS, Huberman is glad to be focused on another contract, this one worth $60 million over 2 years for a data system and intervention program to identify and assist 10,000 of over 400,000 Chicago school students who are thought to be most at risk for violent attack or murder. As a real data hound, Huberman's office has studied 500 of the recent youth shootings in Chicago, and Huberman sees a pattern. From the NYTimes:
From the study of the 500 shootings, Mr. Huberman said, officials know that deadly violent outbursts are not truly random. The students at highest risk of violence, by statistics, are most likely to be black, male, without a stable living environment, in special education, skipping an average of 42 percent of school days at neighborhood and alternative schools, and having a record of in-school behavioral flare-ups that is about eight times higher than the average student.
And poor? One must wonder what kind of correlation exists between Huberman's list, which avoids the criterion of poverty entirely, and the the list of Chicago's poorest 10,000 segregated high school children.

Another interesting correlation would be to determine the relationship between the rash of beatings, shootings, and deaths to the plan to create apartheid corporate charter schools, fire teachers, and displace tens of thousands of school children. George Schmidt at Substance News has been reporting on this, and now comes this AP story today and this at HuffPo:
. . . .Since 2005, dozens of Chicago's public schools have been closed and thousands of students reassigned to campuses outside their neighborhoods – and often across gang lines – as part of Renaissance 2010, a program launched by Mayor Richard Daley when Duncan was Chicago Public Schools chief.

While the plan has resulted in replacing failing and low-enrollment schools with charter schools and smaller campuses, it has also led to a surge in violence that has increasingly turned deadly, many activists, parents and students say.

Before the 2006 school year, an average of 10-15 public school students were fatally shot each year. That soared to 24 deadly shootings in the 2006-07 school year, 23 deaths and 211 shootings in the 2007-08 school year and 34 deaths and 290 shootings last school year.

Few deaths have occurred on school grounds, but activists say it's no coincidence that violence spiked after the school closures.

"You have a trail of blood and tears ever since they launched (Renaissance 2010)," said Tio Hardiman, director of the anti-violence organization CeaseFire Illinois. "There's a history of violence associated with moving kids from one area to another."

Albert, an honor roll student at Christian Fenger Academy High School, was attacked on Sept. 24 when he got caught up in a mob of teens about six block from school. Video shows him curled up on the sidewalk, as fellow teens kick him and hit him with splintered railroad ties. So far, four teens have been charged in his death.

Students and prosecutors say the fight was part of an long-running dispute between neighborhood teens and those from Altgeld Gardens, a public housing complex about five miles away in one of the city's poorest neighborhoods and where Obama got his start as a community organizer in the 1980s.

When the high school closest to Altgeld Gardens was converted to a military academy several years ago, many area students transferred to Fenger.

Chicago police have acknowledged that Albert's slaying was related to the mixing of students from different neighborhoods, but they didn't respond to questions from The Associated Press about whether the violent deaths were related to school closings.

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