Update: School Reform, Chicago Style
Chicagoans like to brag / express shame about just how awful things can get in city government when money and power are involved. Education is no exception. School board discussions are nearly always held behind closed doors, and the votes are almost always unanimous. Until recently, kids of powerful families could get "clouted" into the best schools no matter how many others wanted to get in. The latest examples include pretty eye-opening free-and reduced cost lunch fraud -- 20, 40, and even 60 percent more families signed up for FRL than for welfare, according to the Tribune. Then there are the halfway house residents paid $25 to show up at a school closing hearing and protest in favor of the district's plan. Last but not least, check out the map and story from Chicago magazine which describes an uncomfortably close relationship between candidates and elected officials and gang members. Want to run for city council and have any chance of winning? You have to meet with a panel of gang members first. Only in Chicago? We like to think so, but of course it's not true.