Education ‘reform’

A parent and attorney cross-examines Penny Pritzker, billionaire member of the Chicago Board of Education. (She was Obama’s finance chair.) Via Diane Ravitch:

Farmer is a trial lawyer. He describes how he bristled when he heard an interview on the radio in which Pritzker described what Chicago students need: enough skills in reading, mathematics, and science to be productive members of the workforce. Why no mention of the arts, of music, of physical education, he wondered.


So he cross-examined Pritzker in absentia. Her own children attend the University of Chicago Lab School. Mayor Rahm Emanuel sends his children there too. Arne Duncan is a graduate.


Farmer points out that the Lab School has a rich curriculum, not preparation for the workforce. Children there get the arts and physical education there every day. The Lab School has a beautiful library, and Pritzker is raising money to make it even grander and more beautiful. He asks the absent Pritzker, “Do you know that 160 public schools in Chicago don’t have a library?”


The Lab School has seven teachers of the arts. In a high school that Pritzker voted to close, there was not a single arts teacher.


Matt Farmer goes on to quote the director of the Lab School, who opposes standardized testing and insists upon a rich curriculum. The statement by the Lab School’s director about the importance of the union bring the assembled teachers to their feet, roaring and applauding.


I hope Penny Pritzker and Rahm Emanual watch this video. People who have the good fortune to send their children to elite private schools should do whatever they can to spread the same advantages to other people’s children. When they are members of the board of education and the mayor, they have a special responsibility to do what is right for the children in their care. If they inflict policies on other people’s children that are unacceptable for their own children, they should be ashamed.

7 thoughts on “Education ‘reform’

  1. It has always been us (99%) against them (1%). The rich (1%) are different than us (99%). Always have been. And always will be until the 99% does something about wealth inequality. Which in a ‘republic’ is quite doable. Especially one with a Constitution which gives the people the power of taxation.

  2. If they inflict policies on other people’s children that are unacceptable for their own children, they should be:

    a. ashamed
    b. put against a wall
    c. stoned
    d. pilloried
    e. tarred and feathered and driven across the land
    f. all of the above

    The class war has been over for years. We lost.

  3. A couple of things; the US is a representative democracy or was until the last 50 years. Under democracy we have the ability to define our destiny. Under a Republic, where only certain people are allowed to be legislators (i.e., millionaires and their lackeys) we do not. Americans must reclaim our citizenship and our thereby our democracy by kicking money out of the equation or we are doomed to be slaves or as Ms. Pritzker states it “productive members of the workforce.”

    Second, I would love to hear a ‘journalist’ say, “that’s all well and good, but would you answer MY question.?”

  4. I can’t get over this one. Amazing comments, Matt. You say Penny was Barry’s finance chair. Esplainsalot. And you did this in Rahm’s fiefdom? But why are you punching Jesse in the face?

    This is what a Democratic party with balls would be saying. But Penny’s got them in her purse, so don’t hold your breath.

  5. IIRC Penny was a Chicago Bankster with dubious business entanglements. Her involvement with Teh One was a huge red flag for me back in 2008.

  6. Ron, the US has always been a representative democratic republic. Always. It was less democratic than it became when more people were granted the right to vote, first all males, then black males, and, finally all women.

    Now, however, as can happen in any representative government, those with wealth can buy the politicians. Partially this was brought about by making running for office ever more expensive. There’s a reason why so many fought tooth and nail to prevent publicly paid election campaigns: They wanted to be able to influence government to work they felt it should, and that was to have it make laws which favored them and their ability to make and especially keep wealth.

    Now, those who can buy the politicians are fighting tooth and nail to limit those who can vote, and especially to limit the vote of those who are in lower economic levels. Creating laws which make many of those people felons, and thus, in many states, unable to vote is one sure way. Creating hoops to jump through in order to vote is another.

    Now, making education less effective and in many ways limiting the ability of those with less money to rise in the economy is important in limiting the competition for their own offspring to get the remaining good jobs. Hence all this emphasis on public schools turning out good drones. Forcing teachers to be less creative is one means to that end. Their goal is good, uncreative drones turning out good, dependable drones who do not think for themselves, but follow orders extremely well.

    This must not do done to their own children.

  7. A parent and attorney cross-examines Penny Pritzker, billionaire member of the Chicago Board of Education. (She was Obama’s finance chair.) Via Diane Ravitch: Farmer is a trial lawyer. He describes how he bristled when .
    ………..
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