Arrested Development

Arrested Development

The Day of Action and Arrested Again

By Bob George of the #Chicago15 and Betsy L. Angert | Originally Published at EmpathyEducates. November 20, 2014

Why is it that the future of our children can only be seen as a case of “arrested development” and why is it that parents who fight for the rights of our young are repeatedly arrested?

[Again!] Perhaps the answer can be found in a few short sentences, In Chicago alone, funding for traditional schools was cut by seventy-two [72] million dollars in the 2014 budget. Concurrently, an increase of [72] million dollars was budgeted for privately run charter and contract schools. Two months were added to the fiscal year to help cover an $862 million shortfall. Isn’t that amazing. How could that be? Is it just another “arrested development.”

Juggle the books. Mess with the fiscal calendar year and move the children out of their neighborhood schools. What does it matter? It doesn’t if all you care about is your personal investment. But if you care about the children, if you care about justice, and equal education, then you stand for integrity and an end to degradation. You stand with Parents, Grandparents, Teachers, and community members from across Chicago, all of whom gathered today outside of Rahm Emanuel’s office and spoke to the issue that is before they were arrested.

The protesters spoke of Dirty Deals. These are brewing throughout the nation. Still…

No other School district in the country came close to CPS in relying so heavily on this exotic financial product. In fact, market data show the district issued more auction-rate bonds than most cities, more than the state of California.

In recent years, Public School Districts were burned by the Great Recession. Countless turned to bankers. In doing so, as The Chicago Tribune observed, School Boards “Borrowed Trouble.” A series of Dirty Deals ensued and continue. Is there a way to end this? The Refund Project tells us not only “How Wall Street’s Predatory Deals Hurt Taxpayers.” But also, with hope in their eyes the Project expounds on “What We Can Do About It.” It begins with the need to renegotiate our communities’ relationship with Wall Street so that we can provide residents with the services they deserve. We can do this by implementing common sense reforms.” And did we mention as Parents do “End Toxic Swaps! Invest in Our Children’s Future.” “Create 50 Sustainable Community Schools.” And that is just the beginning!

Stop what has been for the last six or more years arrests and deleterious developments. Curtail or better yet permanently end Credit Default Swaps. This is Risky business. Take it from the people, Chicago school officials can no longer bet heavily on exotic bond deals. These will not save money. Nor will a certificate promising debt repayment buy an excellent education.

A Chicago Tribune analysis was not needed to tell us that “the deals are likely to add $100 million to the district’s debt burden.”

Ask the Chicago citizens, especially those who sat outside the Mayor’s office on November 20, 2014. Before they were arrested the #Chicago15 chanted “These dollars were intended for our Babies, for their community schools, and yes, for their education.” Windfall profits do not provide for the children. Sustainable Community Schools do, and that is why we insist that there be no more risky bank negotiations.

We, the people ask the Mayor and the School Board to sue the lending institutions, nullify the existing contracts to renegotiate the agreements. Return the excess profits to our children and authentically institute the newly available “fifth option.”

Yes. Let us end the arrests and the Dirty Deal bank developments! No more quests for cheap money! These only lead to costly bond deals and do nothing for our children.

School Improvement Grant money would create fifty vibrant community based, open enrollment neighborhood schools. Imagine what that might mean for a child’s education. To revitalize their schools is to build a solid foundation!

Just ask the Parents, Teachers students and community members who work together to create warm, safe, loving, and local learning locations.

They will tell you that it is time to honor “the law of finance: Nothing is free! If the offer looks to good to believe, it is! Auction-rate bonds were always a risky development. [Chicago, please watch the How auction-rate bond deals burned Chicago Public Schools video and learn a necessary lesson!]

Invest in our babies. Provide the young with the schools all children deserve. And please let us provide an equal excellent education. It is time to do more than arrest our citizens. Let us develop a healthy and sustainable community school investment. What does that mean? Oh Mayor, please tell us that it is you asking.

  • Undertake a comprehensive needs assessment—
    done in partnership with parents, educators, students and community members—so that local solutions are tailored to local problems,
  • Implement research-based instructional and educational reforms,
  • Address essential social, emotional and physical needs of students, and
  • Recognize parent, student, and community leadership as key to sustainable student success.

References and Resources…

Videos of the Event…


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