The House That Ron Huberman Bought

Posted May 11, 2010 by thatsrightnate
Categories: Caucus of Rank and File Educators, Chicago Public Schools, Ron Huberman, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , ,

The budget belt is tightening in Chicago and the schools are getting squeezed.   Schools will be shoe horn  35 students into a room and many teachers will be losing their jobs, but cheer up because the education business isn’t bleak for everybody.  CPS head Ron Huberman just bought a new $900,000 house.   According to several real estate sites, “LUXURY & ALMOST NEW CONSTRUCTION “GEM” IN THE HEART OF LINCOLN SQUARE! 5 BED/3.1BATH ON XTRA WIDE LOT. CHEF’S KIT W/ VIKING SS APPLIANCES, HUGE ISLAND, CHERRY CABS & EAT-IN KITCHEN+FAM ROOM! HOME FEATURES BRAZILIAN CHERRY HWFS, 3 FIREPLACES, 2 WET BARS, 8 FT SOLID CHERRY DOORS, CRWN MOLDING, 2 W/ D HOOKUP UP & DWN, SECUR/SOUND READY. HUGE DECK OVER GARAGE!WALK 2 PARKS, TRANS & STARBUCKS.”

Now, as schools are being asked to cram 35 students in the room, a little controversy has erupted because the fire code requires 20 square feet per student.   Isn’t it great to know that if Ron wanted to have a teacher hold class in his living room, you could legally seat 20 students in the spacious 18×23 room.  In fact, you could fit another 15 students in the master bathroom.   The house has 3 fireplaces and a whirpool.   The house, which is located at 2031 W. Wilson is in addition to the $400,000  condominium that Huberman has not yet put on the market.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of Rob Huberman’s spacious new home where the man at the top of CPS can stretch out and let the stresses of the day float away.  For lifestyles of the rich and clueless, here’s wishing you cafeteria pizza wishes and dry erase dreams.

Bedroom Information

  • # of Bedrooms (Above Grade): 5

Bedroom #3

  • Size: 22X12
  • On 2nd Level
  • Hardwood Flooring

Living Room

  • Size: 18X23
  • On Main Level
  • Hardwood Flooring

Additional Rooms

  • Family Room
  • Gallery/Foyer
  • Recreation
  • Utility/Laundry Room (1st Floor)
  • Utility/Laundry Room (2nd Floor)
  • Has Basement
  • Full Basement
  • Finished Basement

Additional Room #3

  • Laundry Room
  • Size: 8X14
  • On Lower Level
  • Ceramic Tile Flooring

Equipment

  • Oven/Range
  • Microwave
  • Dishwasher
  • Refrigerator
  • Disposal
  • Humidifier
  • Security System
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Ceiling Fan
  • Whole House Fan
  • Sump Pump

Utility Information

  • Water: Lake Michigan
  • Water: Public
  • Sewer (Public)

Property Features

  • Deck
  • Porch
  • Bar (Wet)

Property Information

  • # of Rooms: 11
  • Ownership: Fee Simple
  • Listing Agent Must Accompany
  • Foreclosure
  • Parcel Identification Number: 14181280020000

Listing Information

  • Possession: Closing
  • Holds Earnest Money: No
  • Foreclosed
  • Seller Concessions: No

Master Bedroom

  • Has Master Bath
  • Size: 22X14
  • On 2nd Level
  • Hardwood Flooring

Bedroom #4

  • Size: 12X12
  • On Lower Level
  • Carpet Flooring

Dining Room

  • Combined with Living Room
  • Size: COMBO
  • On Main Level

Additional Room #1

  • Bedroom #5
  • Size: 14X12
  • On Lower Level
  • Carpet Flooring

Additional Room #4

  • Pantry
  • Size: 6X5
  • On Main Level
  • Hardwood Flooring

Fireplace Information

  • # of Fireplaces: 3
  • In Family Room
  • In Living Room
  • In Basement
  • Wood Burning
  • Attached Fireplace Doors/Screen
  • Gas Logs
  • Gas Starter

Parking Information

  • # of Cars: 2
  • Garage
  • Side Apron
  • Detached Garage
  • 1.5 Car Garage
  • 2 Car Garage
  • Automatic Garage Door Opener(s)
  • On-Site Garage
  • Side Driveway
  • Heated Driveway
  • Other Driveway

Lot Information

  • Less Than .25 Acre
  • Dimensions: 37 X 110

Financial Information

  • Tax: $7,297.11
  • Tax Year: 2008
  • Finance Code: Conventional

Bedroom #2

  • Size: 10X11
  • On 2nd Level
  • Hardwood Flooring

Bathroom Information

  • Master Bath (Full)
  • Whirlpool
  • Separate Shower
  • Bathroom(s) in Basement

Kitchen

  • Eating Area (Table Space)
  • Island
  • Pantry (Butler)
  • Size: 22X23
  • On Main Level
  • Hardwood Flooring

Additional Room #2

  • Recreation Room
  • Size: 18X24
  • On Lower Level
  • Carpet Flooring

Additional Room #5

  • Foyer
  • Size: 4X9
  • On Main Level
  • Other Flooring

Heating & Cooling

  • Gas Heating
  • Central Air Conditioning

Building Information

  • Age: 1-5 Years
  • Aluminum/Vinyl/Steel Siding
  • Concrete Foundation
  • Wood Shake/Shingle Roof

J.P. Morgan Chase Anounces Plans to Launder Tax Payer Money

Posted May 5, 2010 by thatsrightnate
Categories: Charter Schools, JPMorgan Chase, Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

The Chicago Public Schools are facing a financial crisis.  Now, all the evidence points to this being a largely manufactured crisis to pry concessions from their employees and dollars from the state.  One thing is certain and that is that $250 million dollars that should be going to the Chicago Public Schools have been siphoned off this year from property taxes for Mayor Daley’s TIF fund.  This fund is basically his personal nest egg to spend where he sees fit.

One of the beneficiaries of this program is J.P. Morgan Chase.  Now, the use of the TIF fund is generally kept hush hush, but in December of last year, the developer of the $100 million Cabrini-Green redevelopment found himself unable to pay back a construction loan from J.P. Morgan Chase and the city came to the rescue so that he would not have to default on the loan.   The amount that J.P. Morgan Chase made on this deal was in excess of $8,000,000.

J.P. Morgan Chase, which is no stranger to corporate welfare has partnered with the city on a large number of projects using TIF funds and has benefited enormously.  Whether we’re talking about the $50 million Wilson Yard Project or sweetheart deals with individual alderman.   The big question though is what is J.P. Morgan Chase doing with that money that should have been directed to public school students in Chicago?  I’m glad you asked.

Today, J.P. Morgan Chase announced that they would be setting up a $325 million dollar program to fund charter schools.  In the ultimate indignity, public school students are now subsidizing charter schools with J.P. Morgan Chase basically serving as middle man.   With up to 300,000 public school teachers expected to lose their jobs next year and many others making big salary concessions it may be very tempting to live off the credit card a little.   If you are a teacher and you do have to do that, I just hope it’s not a Chase credit card.

Supposed Education Reformers Don’t Do Irony

Posted April 20, 2010 by thatsrightnate
Categories: education reform

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Following the #RTTT channel on Twitter, I’ve noticed that the neo-liberal education reformers who post on there seem terribly deficient in their ability to notice irony.   Maybe that’s why so many people who seem intent on destroying the public  education system as we know it and exacerbating the differences between the haves and have nots always have happy fuzzy bunny names like Education Equality Now or something.  If you want to understand neo-liberal education reform, you have to follow the money and that means following it into dark alleys.   There’s a reason that Goldman-Sachs has been so active in promoting this garbage.   There’s a great deal of money at stake here if you know where to look.

New York: Some supporters of New York Charter schools have been fuming at the thought of an open discussion about charter schools.  Instead they want to blindly raise the charter cap.  In the New York Post today Thomas Carroll cried union conspiracy. I can’t help wondering if it’s his own misdeeds that have him scared.  The main villain in this drama is State Senator Bill Perkins who has called for a public hearing.  In the hearing notice he says, “The purpose of this hearing is to examine the business of charter schools by reviewing their development as a privatized solution to public education.  Towards this end, we will hear from parents, educators, legislators, elected officials, advocates, charter operators, and other relevant authorities at the city and state level.”  Scandalous.  I can see why those education reformers who keep saying we need more accountability would be terrified of such a hearing.

West Virginia: If anything should have reminded this country of the importance of labor unions, it was the explosion at a Massey Coal Mine in West Virginia a few ago.   There was an excellent writeup of the American Legislative Exchange Council and their role in the Massey tragedy.   What the article leaves out is the soulless right wing’s involvement in the education reform movement.  Do a google search on ALEC and education and you get plenty of that terrific free market anti-union chatter.   Don’t be fooled.   They’re against coal miners being unionized just as much as they’re against teachers being unionized.

Florida: Governor Charlie Crist has been viciously attacked for vetoing one of the most misguided education reforms ever to make it through a state legislature (and that’s saying something).   The SB6 legislation would have ended tenure and seniority as well as a lot of local control and give all teachers a salary based on one standardized test.  The Republican governor said his April 15 veto was not about politics. But he acknowledged an outpouring of opposition by teachers, parents, and local school officials around the state had an effect.  The response to the veto was swift:

Neal Boortz said, “Crist traded improvements for Florida government schools and the welfare of students for support from the teacher’s unions for an independent bid for the Senate Seat. For Crist political power and perks come before the welfare of Florida’s schoolchildren.”

It is very disappointing that Governor Crist abandoned the children of Florida and sided with the teachers union,” Gingrich said. “Florida had a real chance to reform education on behalf of children.”

What nobody seemed to point out in questioning whether Crist was for sale in his opposition to this great piece of legislation was that the bill’s sponsor James Thrasher was already bought and paid for by two out of state testing companies  who gave Thrasher’s lobbying firm up to $190,000 in cash between 2008-2009.  Yep, sometimes you just have to follow the money.

A Funny Thing Happened On the way to the Blog

Posted April 15, 2010 by thatsrightnate
Categories: Caucus of Rank and File Educators

Tags: , , , ,

I’ve missed a lot.   Charlie Crist did the right thing today in Florida and proved that just as not all Democrats are on our side, all Republicans are not the devil incarnate.  In Washington DC, there have been some very funny things going on with the books.  I haven’t covered either of these because election season has come to the Chicago Teacher’s Union and I’m running with CORE.   Ron Huberman and his cronies have been using faulty books and fake math to drum up a budget crisis in order to get teacher’s to make concessions while still claiming hefty raises for themselves.

Something has to be done and I’m absolutely certain that CORE is the best hope for the teachers and students of Chicago.   There’s a mentality that has gotten into several teacher’s unions like the City of Chicago that the way to change things is to send in your union dues and endorse and contribute to politicians.  That gets us nowhere.   We’ve endorsed some of the very politicians who have passed the worst legislation against us.   CORE is decidedly more active.  We saved Chicago schools by speaking, picketing, protesting, and supporting parents.  I personally took a personal day to speak at the Board of Education to stop turnarounds.  I was nervous, but also really proud to have exercised my rights.

There’s a war against teachers going on nationwide.   I’m willing to do my part in Chicago and I hope other teachers that agree with me will do what they can in their cities.  Democrat doesn’t necessarily mean progressive and progressives are what we need right now.   There’s a lot to do and we’re on a short timetable.   There is hope though and to paraphrase a President that I want to believe in despite his insistence of governing like a moderate Republican, “we are the change we have been waiting for.”  Teachers need to be included in education reform decision making and not simply dictated to.      This blog is not dead, just don’t expect a ton of activity for the next month.

The Solution to Texas Textbooks

Posted March 15, 2010 by thatsrightnate
Categories: Tenure, Texas Text Books

Tags: , , ,

To watch my fellow liberals rub their hands and shake their heads in frustration over reports of the Texas Board of Education’s new social studies curriculum could almost be amusing if it wasn’t so sad.   It isn’t that I don’t understand how terrible it is to see people like Cesar Chavez and Thomas Jefferson written out of Texas history books in favor of Focus on the Family and the National Rifle Association.   The problem is that I heard hardly a whimper when education reformers were pushing reform agendas that push reading and math instruction to the exclusion of all else.   Face it, if your child is in an American school in 5 years, she probably won’t be learning conservative Texas style history.   She probably won’t be learning any history at all.

Equally ironic is that there is one defense for a school board that omits the separation of church and state and Ann Hutchinson from American history for political reasons.   That defense is a teacher with a knowledge and passion for history that doesn’t mind spending time to bring in resources to teach students the other side.   A teacher who can bring in outside resources and explain to students why things like the first amendment are such an important part of what this country is about is a godsend to any school that values open minded intelligent students who make up their own minds.

Unfortunately, a parent who might be a bit to the right of your average tea party member could become very upset if such a teacher were to not give Ronald Reagan his proper beatification.  Ordinarily, this isn’t a problem if that knowledgeable and passionate teacher has tenure.  Tenure protects teachers from crackpots in the community and even on the school board by requiring just cause before termination.   It lets them talk about controversial things like evolution and Thomas Jefferson.  That’s why maybe the current assault on tenure is a bit shortsighted.  Tenure isn’t employment for life, but it does allow teachers to teach.

What Doesn’t Work: AUSL

Posted March 6, 2010 by thatsrightnate
Categories: AUSL, School Turnarounds

Tags: , , ,

Over the past decade, turnaround schools have been tried hundreds if not thousands of times across the country.  A turnaround is what just happened in Central Falls where all the teachers are let go, a select few are rehired, and the school brings in a new principal and faculty to work their educational magic.  Sometimes, the school is taken over by a charter and sometimes it’s done under a program like AUSL in Chicago.   Today, in a blog posting entitled What’s Possible: Turning Around America’s Lowest-Achieving Schools, The United States Department of Education put 3 slickly produced videos together and pointed them out as proof that the turnaround model works just great.

Keep in mind that the DOE cherry picked these 3 schools.   They didn’t talk about the Green Dot in Watts where not a single student is meeting or exceeding.  They didn’t talk about the many turnaround failures, or the turnarounds that have had to be turned around again because the first turnaround didn’t work (If you make two 180 degree turns, aren’t you back where you started?).   They picked these three shining stars:

AUSL: This is the program in Chicago that over a thousand parents came out to protest this year.   The idea is that if you take a bunch of first year teachers and put them with a novice administrator somehow there will be educational magic created.  Students who sign on with AUSL agree to work four years at their AUSL school and if they leave early they have to repay part or all of their education.

One of the keys to success for AUSL has been to weed out students.   Yes, schools are supposed to educate everybody, but that doesn’t quite fit the AUSL model where suspensions and expulsions are commonplace.  Those expelled students are sent elsewhere–usually to a lucky public school down the road.  These stats are from PURE (Parents United for Responsible Education):

Drop out rates of course go through the roof at AUSL schools and test scores do go up.  Well, in most cases they do thanks to a large influx of funding.  However, let’s look at the Value Added scores that were developed by University of Wisconsin researchers and compare a student’s year-to-year growth on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test with growth made by demographically similar students from across the district.  These scores are the new buzz in education data:

[Click on the graph to enlarge to full size]

The test scores show Johnson going backwards.  Very few schools in the city appear in the red showing a negative growth, yet despite many resources that public schools don’t have access too and despite getting rid of the bad apples, Johnson is still dropping.   Before the turnaround, the scores at Johnson were actually on the way up.  Now that they go backwards, the Department of Education salutes them.

In exchange for poor test scores, you take students with little stability in their lives and make their school setting unstable.  If they had any close relationships with adults in their building, they’re gone too.   How long do the new AUSL teachers last at their schools?  Out of AUSL’s first graduating class from the program in 2003, six are still in education and one remains at the school they were originally assigned to.

I’ll post about the groundbreaking Green Dot schools next.   Green Dot founder Steve Barr left the organization after a small matter of embezzling $50,000.   If you believe that a school should pay its faculty more than its PR department, I think you’ll enjoy their story as well.

Race To The Top – Sweet Sixteen Preview

Posted March 4, 2010 by thatsrightnate
Categories: Race to the Top

Tags: , ,

What do you expect when you have a basketball player and not an educator leading the Department of Education.