Thursday, February 25, 2010

In which NO YOU DID NOT, CHICAGO BOARD OF EDUCATION.

I didn't think I could be more ashamed of the Chicago Board of Education.

It's traditional for the Board of Education meetings to start with the Good News Report, where they recognize a few CPS students who have done extraordinary things, and give those students a chance to say a few words. It should've been a nice moment before they got into the hairy business of closing/turning around 16 schools.

This month they recognized Shantell Steve and Kellina Mojica of Julian High School, who won second and third place in the Democracy in Action Awards, which are citizenship awards given to high school students. They also recognized Damani Bolden, a senior at Lindblom and the honorary student member of the Board, who's just been given the Rising Star Award by the DuSable Museum of African American History.

This is what Board VP Clare Munana said to Bolden:
I would like you, as a representative of the three students that we're honoring today -- would you mind saying a few words to represent all of you and the honors that you received?
This might seem a little confusing. Why, one might ask, would a student at Lindblom -- a West Englewood selective-admissions school -- be asked to speak for two students at Julian -- a an underperforming Washington Heights neighborhood school?

The Sun-Times appears to slurp up the official story that Munana didn't know they were supposed to speak -- which might seem a little bit shady given that she's not new to this job.

What the Sun-Times doesn't mention in its coverage of this is that Bolden's gone on record in favor of Renaissance 2010 -- as for Steve and Mojica, according to WBEZ's Linda Lutton, "The board has a pretty good idea of what they're going to say, and they're gonna talk about school closings, because they have before, and I was sitting at the meeting thinking, 'Oh my gosh, we're gonna get off to a fiery start.'"

Yeah. They recognized the winners of a fucking democracy award by muzzling them.

And people wonder why kids hate school.

If I can find a way to do so, I'm going to ask these two young women if I can publish the remarks they would've delivered.

I hope you'll all read them. It's not the audience they deserved.

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