WBEZ | Board of Education http://www.wbez.org/tags/board-education Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: Songs to ring in the holidays http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-12-19/morning-shift-songs-ring-holidays-109408 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cover_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>WBEZ staff and listeners share their favorite holiday songs in a special holiday-themed &quot;Music Thursday&quot;. Plus, we hear from both sides of the fracking debate in Illinois.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-favorite-holiday-songs-that-invoke-m/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-favorite-holiday-songs-that-invoke-m.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-favorite-holiday-songs-that-invoke-m" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Songs to ring in the holidays" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Thu, 19 Dec 2013 08:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-12-19/morning-shift-songs-ring-holidays-109408 Journalists, citizens say CPS barred people from attending school board meeting http://www.wbez.org/news/journalists-citizens-say-cps-barred-people-attending-school-board-meeting-108555 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/IMAG1820 WEB_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A day later, there are still questions swirling about whether Chicago&rsquo;s school district improperly barred people from Wednesday&#39;s school board meeting.</p><p>Curtis Lawrence is a veteran reporter and teaches journalism at Columbia College. He and another professor, Suzanne McBride, had trouble getting into the meeting, as did their 11 graduate students.</p><p>&quot;We were being told that everyone had to register online in advance,&quot; said Lawrence. &quot;Our students from Columbia College eventually got in, we got press passes. But my concern as a journalist and just as a Chicago citizen is what about the school parent who doesn&rsquo;t have a computer at home and decides they want to come and participate in the process about their kid&rsquo;s education? They can&rsquo;t.&quot;</p><p>Natalie Bauer of the Illinois Attorney General&rsquo;s office said her office had received no complaints as of Wednesday night. But she said &quot;per the Open Meetings Act, no one should be turned away for failure to register in advance if they want to attend a meeting&mdash;if there is space in the room.&quot;</p><p>People told WBEZ about separate instances in which they saw people turned away by school district employees Wednesday.</p><p>&quot;I saw a couple of people who left, because they were saying they would not let them up,&quot; said Ronald Jackson, a member of the South Side NAACP.&nbsp; &quot;I told one guy--they can&#39;t do this.&quot; Jackson is a regular at board meetings and said he has never been turned away before. He said he did register in advance, but security guards told him he wasn&#39;t on the list. He then asked for a pass to the school district&#39;s Law Department. He said he explained the situation to a staffer there, then was kept waiting for a half hour. He said he was ready to go to jail. &quot;I know they don&#39;t have the authority to bar me from an open meeting, whether they like me or not.&quot;</p><p>Jackson was eventually let into an overflow room with fewer than a dozen other people.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Several months ago, the school district shifted to an online registration system for people wishing to address the board, in part to avoid an excrutiating in-person sign-up process that often meant people had to stand in line beginning at 6 a.m., or even before. At the same time the board instituted the online speaker registration system, it asked people to register just to attend the board meeting.</div><p>Vince Casillas, comunity outreach manager at the Illinios Network of Charter Schools, brought parents with him to Wednesday&#39;s board meeting from various charter schools, but one parent was denied access and went home. Casillas says he didn&#39;t challenge the decision. &quot;I mean, we were a little disappointed, but she&#39;ll be back next time, hopefully we&#39;ll have her properly registered and ready to go.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>The school district issued a statement Wednesday evening saying it is updating its guidelines to show that it requests&mdash;but does not require&mdash; advance registration. &quot;Any member of the public who wishes to attend the Board meeting can do so without registering in advance given that there is adequate space in Board chambers and its overflow room,&quot; a district spokeswoman said in an email.</p><p>Attendance at Wednesday&rsquo;s board meeting was lower than normal. About 250 demonstrators outside did not try to enter the meeting.</p><p>Suzanne McBride wonders how much damage was done. &quot;No one knows how many people they turned away,&quot; she said.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 28 Aug 2013 19:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/journalists-citizens-say-cps-barred-people-attending-school-board-meeting-108555 Hundreds march from CPS to City Hall in call for elected school board http://www.wbez.org/news/hundreds-march-cps-city-hall-call-elected-school-board-108552 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Boycott 1 (1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr"><em>This story was updated Thursday, 8.29.13</em></p><p dir="ltr">Hundreds of people filled the sidewalk in front of the Chicago Public Schools central office downtown Wednesday morning, demanding that current school board members be fired and replaced by an elected school board.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;David Vitale, we don&rsquo;t recognize you as a board chairperson, Andrea Zopp, we don&rsquo;t recognize you as a school board member. You&rsquo;re fired,&rdquo; Jitu Brown shouted to the crowd.</p><p dir="ltr">Brown&rsquo;s Kenwood Oakland Community Organization was one of about a dozen community groups from around the city that organized yesterday&rsquo;s protest and CPS boycott. Brown said the Chicago demonstration was loosely connected to similar activities in 25 others cities around the country.</p><div><p dir="ltr">Organizers asked parents to take their children out of school for the day Wednesday to protest school closings and budget cuts that they say unfairly impacted poor and minority neighborhoods.</p></div><p>In a written statement on the boycott, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said that removing children from the classroom &ldquo;is unacceptable.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Our students belong in the classroom with their teachers, getting the instruction they need,&rdquo; according to the statement.</p><p>But Diamond McCullough, a senior at Dyett High School on the South Side, said skipping a day of class to attend the protest wouldn&rsquo;t harm her education.</p><p>&ldquo;This is a school lesson right now,&rdquo; McCullough said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re learning more right now than &hellip; in school. This actually is like a history class for us.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">WBEZ counted about 265 protesters outside CPS headquarters near the beginning of the rally yesterday, including 28 elementary-school-aged kids. Police put the number closer to 400, including a large group of reporters, photographers and camera operators. Organizers disputed both crowd numbers. They said the crowd grew throughout the morning, with 1,100 demonstrators at the protest&rsquo;s peak.</p><p>Jeanette Taylor took both of her kids out of school to attend the rally. She is chair of the Mollison Elementary Local School Council, where she has a third-grader and s sixth-grader. She said she was there with her children &ldquo;to send a message to CPS&rdquo; that Chicago needs an elected school board.</p><p>That&rsquo;s the only way to prevent more harmful school closings and cuts, Taylor said.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s the same thing as your elected officials. If they don&rsquo;t do right by you, you remove them,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>The rally was timed to coincide with the Board of Education&rsquo;s monthly meeting. After the meeting began inside, demonstrators marched four blocks north to Chicago City Hall and circled that building. Then, a group of about 55 went up to Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s office to ask to meet with the mayor.</p><p>After an aide told them that Emanuel would not come out to meet them, the crowd filled the lobby with chants of &ldquo;come on out!&rdquo; and &ldquo;stop running.&rdquo;</p><p>Along with an elected school board, the demonstrators called for a moratorium on school closings and for the district to undo budget cuts at neighborhood schools.</p><p>Throughout this year&rsquo;s budget process, CPS has maintained that the district did everything it could to minimize school funding cuts.</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;margin-left: -36pt;margin-right: -36pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-76d4794a-cabe-f599-d3cc-a2168f7b1c3a"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Patri <em> </em></span></span><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ reporter. Follow him on twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/pksmid">@pksmid</a>.</em></p><p><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 28 Aug 2013 14:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/hundreds-march-cps-city-hall-call-elected-school-board-108552 What will be lost http://www.wbez.org/news/what-will-be-lost-107299 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/laf.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s Board of Education votes today on closing an unprecedented number of elementary schools. WBEZ reporters asked Chicagoans to tell us in their own words what would be lost if their school closes. Education reporter Linda Lutton presents some of what we heard.</p><p>Audio for this story was gathered by Alison Cuddy, Rebecca LaFlure, Linda Lutton, Chip Mitchell, Natalie Moore, Patrick Smith, and Becky Vevea.</p><p><em>Update: Early Wednesday, WBEZ confirmed that CPS CEO Barbara Bryd-Bennett recommended that Mahalia Jackson school, the South Side school where hearing impaired children go to school with neighborhood children, be removed from the closings list. &nbsp;Ericson School, with its dedicated pompon squad, also is recommended for removal from closings list. &nbsp;</em></p><p><object height="465" width="620"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633590837468%2Fshow%2Fwith%2F8774002229%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633590837468%2Fwith%2F8774002229%2F&amp;set_id=72157633590837468&amp;jump_to=8774002229" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633590837468%2Fshow%2Fwith%2F8774002229%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633590837468%2Fwith%2F8774002229%2F&amp;set_id=72157633590837468&amp;jump_to=8774002229" height="465" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620"></embed></object></p></p> Wed, 22 May 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/what-will-be-lost-107299 CPS limits coverage from closing schools http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-limits-coverage-closing-schools-107275 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/CPS Access(1).JPG" alt="" /><p><p>On Wednesday, the Chicago Board of Education will decide whether to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-proposes-closing-53-elementary-schools-firing-staff-another-6-106202" target="_blank">close 54 schools</a> it says are failing or underutilized.</p><p>Since the recommended list of closures was announced in March, the city has been in a heated debate about whether some schools should be taken off the list. Media access to these buildings has been almost impossible, and some worry decisions will be made without a thorough inspection.</p><p>Arturs Weible is a music teacher at Lafayette Elementary School in Chicago&rsquo;s Humboldt Park neighborhood. He directs the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/lafayette-elementary-string-orchestra-tunes-despite-uncertain-future-107255" target="_blank">only string orchestra</a> at a CPS elementary school.</p><p>&ldquo;We have 85 kids participating in the program. And these kids have higher expectations to keep their grades up. They have to keep their behavior in order,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;And so these kids are basically doing above and beyond pretty much anything that&rsquo;s being asked of an elementary school child.&rdquo;</p><p>Lafayette is slated to close because CPS considers it an underutilized building. Weible disagrees, and says all parts of the building are in use, but maybe not at all times of the day.</p><p>He says he wants the public to see the school before a decision is made.</p><p>&ldquo;To not allow media coverage within school hours is not fair to these parents. They don&rsquo;t have a voice otherwise. The media is the voice of the community,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Before CPS CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett announced the closings list, Weible said journalists got into Lafayette easily. Now, it&rsquo;s like a black out with the exception of heavily restricted visits.</p><p>The district said since late March, every media outlet has had access to a proposed closing school and/or receiving school.</p><p>CPS says with less than a week until the board vote, it&rsquo;s denying media access to the closing schools because it would be too disruptive. But a number of news organizations including WBEZ and Catalyst magazine say they&rsquo;ve been denied access to closing schools since the list was made public.</p><p>Some reporters have successfully entered closing schools through other means.</p><p>&ldquo;I was invited to come to Garvey by a parent,&rdquo; said Kate Grossman, deputy editorial page editor for the Chicago Sun-Times.</p><p>She toured Garvey Elementary on the city&rsquo;s South Side earlier this spring. It&rsquo;s another school proposed to be closed because of underutilization.</p><p>She said there are numbers to back up CPS&rsquo;s closing recommendations, but there&rsquo;s also the reality of what&rsquo;s happening inside.</p><p>&ldquo;You can see that by going to these schools and seeing that they have quite a lot to offer kids even though on paper they&rsquo;re underused,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;So I think it&rsquo;s a crucial part of the decision making when you&rsquo;re deciding to close a school and consolidate it with another to know what you might be losing.&rdquo;</p><p>Grossman said her visit to Garvey was very different from when she was invited by CPS to tour a receiving school with CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett.</p><p>&ldquo;It was lots of people, and you can&rsquo;t really do a lot of in-depth reporting when you&rsquo;re following a school CEO around. And the principal might not be comfortable speaking her mind,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>A student at Northwestern&rsquo;s Medill School of Journalism also tried to gain access to schools without permission. CPS threatened to sever ties with Medill if it happened again.</p><p>Professor Marcel Pacatte agreed the student was wrong, but said the district&rsquo;s response was extreme.</p><p>&ldquo;A student was told yesterday there would be no more audio recording at closing schools. So that&rsquo;s a fairly draconian issue,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Pacatte said now he&rsquo;s making sure students are going through the proper channels to ensure Medill can continue covering the schools.</p><p>&ldquo;I get where they&rsquo;re coming from but I still don&rsquo;t understand how they think it&rsquo;s beneficial for the citizens of Chicago or the students in the schools of the district in the city itself to prevent stories from being told,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Media restrictions aren&rsquo;t uncommon for urban school districts.</p><p>But Emily Richmond with the National Education Writers Association says too many restrictions can force reporters to find another way into the schools.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s really no substitute for being able to just step back and watch what&rsquo;s happening around you and have that first hand observation. And who knows what stories they would find in there,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Richmond says with an historic number of schools that could be affected, news coverage needs to go beyond statistics and present a clearer view of what&rsquo;s happening.</p><p><em>Susie An covers business for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/soosieon" target="_blank">@soosieon</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 20 May 2013 12:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-limits-coverage-closing-schools-107275 School board approves $363 million spending package for system restructuring http://www.wbez.org/news/school-board-approves-363-million-spending-package-system-restructuring-106835 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/photo(1) - Copy.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Board of Education approved a $363 million spending package Wednesday that will help pay for Chicago Public Schools massive restructuring plan.</p><p>CPS wants to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-proposes-closing-53-elementary-schools-firing-staff-another-6-106202">close 54 schools</a>&mdash;the most any school district has ever taken on in a single year. In all, the plan will affect 132 schools and each action will be voted on by the school board on May 22. &nbsp;</p><p>Initially, district officials said the move was necessary to address CPS&rsquo;s ballooning deficit. But any savings won&rsquo;t come for several years because the district <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/education/cps-will-go-further-debt-pay-upgrades-receiving-schools-106627">plans to go further into debt</a> in order to fix up the receiving schools and others that need upgrades.</p><p>CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said she wants classrooms at the remaining schools to &ldquo;pop,&rdquo; so that students want to come to school.</p><p>But when Garvey third grader Asean Johnson stepped up to the microphone, barely able to peer &nbsp;over the podium, he rattled off a list of the things his elementary school already has&mdash;a &ldquo;well-stocked library, an award-winning garden,&rdquo; an art room, a computer lab and several science labs.</p><p>&ldquo;These are things you say that you want all schools to have but intentionally left these facts out of the fact sheet given to the parents in the community,&rdquo; Johnson said. &ldquo;Why would you take Marcus Garvey away from us?&rdquo;</p><p>Garvey elementary is slated to close and students will be sent to nearby Mount Vernon&mdash;a move parents, teachers, and even the <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/opinions/19251135-474/editorial-what-a-half-empty-school-looks-like.html">Chicago Sun-Times editorial board</a> say is questionable. &nbsp;</p><p>Board members became slightly more outspoken on the closings issue during Wednesday&rsquo;s meeting. Mahalia Hines, a former principal and current board member, pressed CPS officials on what specifically they would be doing to help students with special needs.</p><p>Hines raised concerns about the utilization formula not accounting for special education programs and told district officials they would need to review the safety plans at some of the schools. She said she took a few of the routes from closing to receiving schools and was shocked.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s not a route I&rsquo;d send my child,&rdquo; she said, referring to the walk from Melody to Delano Elementary. &ldquo;They are going to have to come back with some better options that that&hellip; There is no way, no way, I would send my child (on that walk). And I&rsquo;m not voting for anything I wouldn&rsquo;t vote for for my child. OK?&rdquo;</p><p>It was clear that board members have been visiting the schools on the list of closures. At one point, board president David Vitale thanked a woman from Henson Elementary for showing him around the school last week. Henson is slated to close and students will move to Langston Hughes Elementary.</p><h2 dir="ltr"><strong>&lsquo;Community engagement&rsquo; shorter for some</strong></h2><p>For months, parents, teachers and other community activists have been fighting to pull their schools off the chopping block. CPS is on its <a href="http://www.cps.edu/News/Press_releases/Pages/4_15_2013_PR1.aspx">fourth round of community engagement</a> and many of the same faces came out again Wednesday for a final push. Formal public hearings end next week.</p><p>But for some groups, this latest round of public forums is the first chance they&rsquo;ve had to speak out. That&rsquo;s because a number of schools affected by the restructuring were not on any of the previous lists of schools eligible for closure.</p><p>Courtenay Elementary is one of them. A small school with lottery admissions on the North Side, it is slated to merge with nearby Stockton Elementary and move into the Stockton building. Courtenay parents are upset not only that the basic structure of the school will change into a large, comprehensive neighborhood school, but also because they didn&rsquo;t see the proposal coming.</p><p>&ldquo;I strongly oppose the merger of Courtenay and Stockton,&rdquo; said Mila Cohen, whose daughter is in Courtenay&rsquo;s special education program. &ldquo;The mayor says the time for negotiation is over. This is insulting because there was no negotiation. There was no notice. No dialog and certainly, no transparency. Courtenay was never on any action lists and why should it be?&rdquo;</p><p>Cohen said the only reason the school is not Level 1, the highest performance rating CPS gives, is because there wasn&rsquo;t significant growth above the school&rsquo;s already high scores. &ldquo;By this logic, CPS would downgrade Harvard for not improving every year too.&rdquo;</p><h2 dir="ltr"><strong>Dueling Protests</strong></h2><p>There is a sharp divide in the debate over school closings and improving the school system and the scene outside CPS headquarters before the meeting started Wednesday illustrated the tensions.</p><p>Outside, students, many of them juniors who were <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/students-want-boycott-state-test-106735">boycotting the second day of state testing</a>, chanted &ldquo;Education is our right, we won&rsquo;t go without a fight!&rdquo; while indoors, a large group of parents from UNO, Noble and Chicago International charter schools chanted, &ldquo;Padres unidos, jamas de a vencidos!&rdquo; (Translation: The parents united, will never be defeated!)</p><p>The groups had starkly different messages. The students said they want CPS to stop using their standardized tests to justify shutting down schools. While, the parents argued that the performance, mostly measured by standardized tests, is reason that CPS should open more charter schools.</p><p>The charter parents, decked out in T-shirts and bright yellow stickers, are part of a new group called <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-met-cps-board-charters-20130423,0,6849188.story">Charter Parents United</a>, or CPU. A press release about the group ASGK Public Strategies, a firm founded by David Axelrod, says the group formed to &ldquo;voice the concerns of one group whose views have been missing from the recent debate about fixing Chicago Public Schools.&rdquo;</p><p>CPU also argued that charter schools should be funded equally. But in the district&rsquo;s most recent budget cycle, CPS touted the fact that charter schools got equitable funding as a result of the Gates Foundation&rsquo;s District-Charter Compact. In all, charters <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/education/chicago-schools-budget-avoids-staggering-cuts-draining-reserves-100680">got a $76 million increase in funding</a> from CPS this year.</p><p>But parents protesting with CPU didn&rsquo;t agree and continued to argue that the schools were not funded fairly. Yeni Jiminez has four children, two at UNO-Carlos Fuentes, one at Noble-Golder College Prep and another in college.</p><p>When asked by a reporter what programs she felt were missing from her children&rsquo;s schools, Jiminez said, &ldquo;I have to go right now, but I do believe that children definitely deserve equal funding.&rdquo;</p><h2 dir="ltr"><strong>&lsquo;NO&rsquo; votes</strong></h2><p>School board members rarely vote against any of the district&rsquo;s proposals, but yesterday, Mahalia Hines and Carlos Azcoitia voted &lsquo;no&rsquo; to expanding some of the city&rsquo;s charter schools.</p><p>Both voted down a proposal to add seats to Chicago Virtual Charter School. The resolution ultimately passed 4 to 2. After the meeting, Hines said she&rsquo;s not against the school, or any school, but doesn&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s wise to expand at a time when the district is trying to &ldquo;right-size&rdquo; itself.</p><p>Azcoitia also voted against adding a KIPP charter school in Englewood and the expansion of KIPP&rsquo;s ACT campus.</p><p>The measures ultimately passed, and next year several new schools are set to open.The board also approved a high school expansion for UNO-Rogers Park, despite <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/19166036-761/state-investigating-handling-of-98-million-grant-for-uno-charter-schools.html">a state investigation into the network&rsquo;s finances</a>.</p><p>CPS plans <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/proportion-privately-run-chicago-public-schools-increase-104303">to open about a dozen new schools</a> next year.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. Follow her&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F89469144&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 25 Apr 2013 10:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/school-board-approves-363-million-spending-package-system-restructuring-106835 The incredibly grating and annoying bias of Hawk Harrelson http://www.wbez.org/blogs/marcus-gilmer/2012-09/incredibly-grating-and-annoying-bias-hawk-harrelson-102672 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP120601129998.jpg" title="Hawk Harrelson, a better cheerleader than baseball announcer. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image "><p><strong>Lead story</strong>: <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444180004578016652376246198.html">A recent study of Major League Baseball announcers</a> revealed something absolutely <em>shocking</em>: the White Sox crew is almost five times as biased as all other announcing crews. Of course, most of those comments can be attributed to Hawk Harrelson (while Steve Stone continues to be a consummate professional in the color commentary seat). Admittedly, there are issues with the study by the <em>Wall Street Journal</em>, not the least of which is that the sample size is simply one game. And yet it still perfectly nailed why Harrelson is, far and away, worse than all the other announcers. It doesn&#39;t take a full season of viewing to understand Hawk&#39;s bias and how that gets in the way of his ability to actually call a good, clean ball game. Admittedly, Len &amp; Bob aren&#39;t exactly the most dynamic pair on television (mainly because the team rarely gives them reason to be excited) and they have moments of hometown bias, but they&#39;re at least consistent in their abilities to be objective and call a good, clean ball game. It&rsquo;s <a href="http://chicagoist.com/2012/05/31/dont_ever_change_hawk_harrelson_not.php">no surprise</a> to see Hawk top the list nor that he absolutely <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/whitesox/2012/09/hawk-loves-being-homer-king-of.html">loves it</a>, too. I admit my own bias as a Cubs fan may be interfering here, but this goes beyond team allegiance. I know plenty of Sox fans who roll their eyes at Hawk. He lacks the humor of Uecker and the knowledge of Scully. Heck, Stone is a fantastic commentator in his own right who sometimes sounds like he barely restrain the urge to tell Hawk to shut it. As far as any correlating properties between bias and quality go, well, I&rsquo;m just going to leave <a href="http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/broadcaster-rankings-tv-intro-and-31/">this</a> and <a href="http://www.yardbarker.com/mlb/articles/white_sox_ken_hawk_harrelson_worst_announcer_in_all_of_sports_video/10736546">this</a> and <a href="http://www.gq.com/sports/lists/201007/five-best-worst-mlb-broadcast-booths#slide=10">this</a> right here.</p><p><strong>Also:</strong> With the teachers strike fading in the rearview, it seems both sides want to move on to other things, now. At a monthly meeting yesterday, both members of the CTU and the Board of Education <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-school-district-union-want-call-truce-102662">expressed their desire to move on</a> and enter into the redundant sounding &ldquo;truce of peace.&rdquo; Still, there are still tensions present as the union has <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-met-cps-board-meeting-0926-20120926,0,6539719.story">asked for a list of schools</a> the Board plans to close, but the board denies the existence of such a list. And so as the struggle begins anew, the conversation continues as to who &ldquo;won&rdquo; the recent strike. <em><a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20120925/BLOGS02/120929873/who-really-came-out-on-top-in-the-chicago-teachers-strike">Crain&rsquo;s Greg Hinz</a></em> points to <a href="http://www.nctq.org/p/tqb/viewStory.jsp?id=32759">a report by the National Council on Teacher Quality</a> that gives a slight edge to the Board over the CTU. As for the PR battle, even former mayor Richard M. Daley <a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&amp;id=8824904">couldn&rsquo;t resist a few subtle digs</a> back at Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel had laid some of the blame for the tense situation between the Board and CTU at Daley&rsquo;s feet. Daley initially refused to comment on the situation but still snuck in a few shots at Rahm, saying, &ldquo;When I took over that, I didn&#39;t blame teachers. I said it&#39;s our responsibility to make a difference. It&#39;s not going to be done overnight. We had to make a difference.&rdquo; And, thus, Daley was the one who made the most sense which shows you how messed up the situation has been.&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><strong>And then: </strong>Things keep getting weirder in the Drew Peterson case which is strange in itself since the trial has been over for weeks. In the wake of his guilty verdict, Peterson has already <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/marcus-gilmer/2012-09/learning-remember-911-102361">fired the one defense attorney</a> who actually knew what he was doing. Now, the rest of his defense team has asked for a delay in sentencing because <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-drew-peterson-lawyer-fight-delays-appeal-20120926,0,1468036.story">they&rsquo;re still squabbling amongst themselves</a>. The infighting is so bad, apparently, it&rsquo;s keeping the team from working sufficiently to complete a motion for a new trial. And, of course, the previously fired attorney was the one who did most of the work on those kind of motions. No matter how weak the state&rsquo;s case against Peterson may have been, his own team has done a pretty good job of digging his hole pretty deep without any outside help.&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p><strong>RIP: </strong><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/21/health/jerome-p-horwitz-creator-of-azt-dies-at-93.html?ref=obituaries&amp;_moc.semityn.www">James Horwitz</a>, creator of the drug AZT, at the age of 93. Created in 1964, Horwitz originally intended to use the drug to treat cancer. After that didn&rsquo;t work, Horwitz set the drug aside until, in 1986, he earned federal approval to start treating AIDS patients with it (the drug is also used to treat hepatitis and herpes). Horwitz passed away on September 6 but word of his death didn&rsquo;t spread until last week.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Elsewhere</strong></p><ul><li>China <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/26/world/asia/china-shows-off-an-aircraft-carrier-but-experts-are-skeptical.html?_r=1">now has an aircraft carrier</a> but no planes capable of landing on said carrier.</li><li>The nation&rsquo;s SAT scores <a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/09/sat-reading-scores-are-lowest-theyve-been-40-years/57208/">are at their lowest level in 40 years</a> which is probably not at all related to the rise of things like <a href="http://www.planking.me/">planking</a>.</li><li>A proposed law in New Jersey <a href="http://www.avclub.com/articles/new-jersey-considering-adopting-snooki-law-to-avoi,85397/">dubbed the &ldquo;Snookiville Law&rdquo;</a> aims to regulate reality shows filmed in the state after the commotion caused by the <em>Jersey Shore</em> crew.</li><li>Want to look inside Einstein&rsquo;s brain? Thanks to an area medical museum, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/close-and-personal-albert-einsteins-brain-102652">there&rsquo;s an app for that</a>.</li><li>Gawker sets out to name <a href="http://gawker.com/5945855/the-search-for-the-most-racist-city-in-america-begins-today?tag=racist-city-census">America&rsquo;s most racist city</a>.</li></ul><p><br /><strong>Looking Ahead: &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</strong></p><ul><li>A state prosecutor is on leave <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-prosecutor-on-leave-after-accused-of-biting-adult-store-worker-20120925,0,7705102.story?track=rss">after a weekend incident</a> at an adult toy store when she showed up allegedly drunk and, when asked to leave the store, bit a worker on the leg.</li><li>First ward alderman Joe Moreno <a href="http://chicagoist.com/2012/09/25/alderman_moreno_responds_to_chick-f.php">is still not sure what he&rsquo;s going to do</a> about Chick-Fil-A&rsquo;s proposed restaurant in his ward which is a good enough reason for me to keep frequenting Popeye&rsquo;s.</li><li><em>Gapers Block</em> takes <a href="http://gapersblock.com/transmission/2012/09/25/wzrd_radio_in_exile/">a look at the ongoing kerfuffle at WZRD</a>, Northeastern Illinois University&rsquo;s radio station that was taken from the students this summer.</li><li>That&rsquo;s not the only issue at NEIU as the <em>Reader</em> <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/northeastern-illinois-university-culture-clash-heats-up/Content?oid=7507479">examines the controversy</a> surrounding the school&rsquo;s search for a new provost.</li><li>Yet another organization <a href="http://www.wlsam.com/Article.asp?id=2540182&amp;spid=">is calling for more police officers</a> on the streets of Chicago.</li></ul><p><br /><strong>Sports</strong></p><ul><li>The NFL <a href="http://espn.go.com/chicago/nfl/story/_/id/8423928/nfl-statement-says-refs-made-right-call-end-game-green-bay-packers-seattle-seahawks">stands by the erroneous call</a> made by replacement refs during Monday night&rsquo;s game between the Seahawks and Packers that cost the Packers the game.</li><li>Sox Watch: A <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_09_25_clemlb_chamlb_1&amp;mode=gameday&amp;c_id=cws">bumbling 4-3 loss</a> to the Indians coupled with a Detroit win has dropped the Sox into a tie with the Tigers for first place.</li><li>A new Cubs-themed bar <a href="http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/19636204/chicago-cubs-bar-and-grill-opens-at-ohare-airport">has opened up at O&rsquo;Hare</a> because spending hours stranded at the airport after a delay made you miss your connecting flight isn&rsquo;t enough suffering.</li><li>Notre Dame is <a href="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/football/ncaa/09/25/notre-dame-michigan-series.ap/index.html">exercising an option</a> to get out of its ongoing rivalry series with Michigan; the last game between the two schools in their current deal will be 2014.</li><li>Yet another Canadian NHL team is apparently contemplating relocation to the U.S., <a href="http://www.seattlepi.com/sports/article/Bettman-mayor-try-to-calm-Oiler-relocation-fears-3893212.php">this time Edmonton to Seattle</a>.<br />&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</li></ul><p><strong>Finally &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</strong><br />Because road rage PSA are both cuter and more effective when using British children.&nbsp;</p></div><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/2i8NUfl7tW4" width="560"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 26 Sep 2012 08:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/marcus-gilmer/2012-09/incredibly-grating-and-annoying-bias-hawk-harrelson-102672 Former long-time WBEZ general manager, Carole Nolan, dies http://www.wbez.org/news/former-long-time-wbez-general-manager-carole-nolan-dies-100636 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/nolan-garrison.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The former long-time General Manager and founding CEO of WBEZ has died.</p><p>Carole Nolan ran the station for 25 years beginning in the 1970s.</p><p>Nolan was a former teacher, who came to WBEZ when it was still operated by the Chicago Board of Education.</p><p>Here she is in 2007 talking with Richard Steele about her decision to buy WBEZ from the Board of Ed for $1 million.</p><p>&quot;It was a risky business, but when I looked ahead, I thought, &#39;If we stay with the Board of Education, we won&#39;t be able to really achieve our mission.&#39; And so we had to bite the bullet and say, &#39;We have to be on our own,&#39;&quot; she said.</p><p>Nolan expanded programming to 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.</p><p>WBEZ&#39;s former program director Ken Davis calls her WBEZ&#39;s &quot;founding mother.&quot;&nbsp;He said Nolan also helped get NPR off the ground by carrying <em>Morning Edition</em> and <em>All Things Considered</em> early on.</p><p>NBC Chicago news anchor Phil Rogers <a href="http://www.wbez.org/node/100636#rogers">said</a>, &quot;if it had not been for Carole Nolan and WBEZ, I very likely would have been out of the business. This kind, gracious woman took a big chance on me, and I have never forgotten.&quot;</p><p>Annoying Music Show host Jim Nayder <a href="http://www.wbez.org/node/100636#nayder">recalled</a> one Christmas when the Board of Education wasn&#39;t able to issue paychecks and Nolan paid him from her own pocket.</p><p>Nolan had been diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and Parkinson&#39;s.&nbsp;She was 80.</p><p><a name="book"></a>At the time of her death, Nolan was working on a book about her experiences in public radio. Here is the rough draft of her first three chapters.<iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.772727272727273" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="700" id="doc_72473" scrolling="no" src="http://www.scribd.com/embeds/99221888/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=list&amp;access_key=key-2j49pt9b6eeq0nqio4of" width="620"></iframe></p><p><a name="rogers"></a><strong>WMAQ-TV&#39;s Phil Rogers had this to say about Nolan:</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>&quot;We all remember someone in our career, or in our lives, for that matter, who literally provided a turning point. &nbsp;For me, that person was Carole Nolan. &nbsp;I arrived in Chicago from Oklahoma in 1978, unemployed, with no prospects, and every commercial outlet slammed their collective doors in my face.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>WBEZ was putting together a news department and they gave me a job. &nbsp;In those first few weeks, I played witness from that rudimentary cubbyhole at the Banker&#39;s Building, to the discovery of bodies at John Gacy&#39;s house, the Blizzard of &#39;79, and the election of Jane Byrne as mayor. &nbsp;But through a comical series of events I got crossways with the program director and he fired me.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Unemployed again, I wrote Ms. Nolan a letter, offering my thanks for the job, and a few thoughts on what the news operation could be. &nbsp;She called me, and asked me to come see her. &nbsp;In less than an hour, she rehired me, as news director. &nbsp;She assured me she would give me her full backing and she meant it. &nbsp;She called in Joe DiFranco and told him to get me whatever we needed, and together Joe and I built WBEZ&#39;s first newsroom. &nbsp;We started actually covering news, and putting real live news makers on the air! &nbsp;They were great times.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>A few months later, I was offered a job at WBBM. &nbsp;When I went in to tell Ms. Nolan, she was unbelievably gracious. &nbsp;Her only question was, if I knew anyone who might be interested in the job. &nbsp;I didn&#39;t hesitate: &nbsp;Ken Davis. Ken got the job, and the rest, as they say, was radio history.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>True story.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>WBEZ is a giant in the public radio firmament and is so vital to Chicago. &nbsp;And look at what Ms. Nolan did to save it. &nbsp;What a legacy she leaves!</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>But for me personally, that turning point back in the seventies changed my life. &nbsp;I was at WBBM for 14 years. &nbsp;I have been at Channel 5 for 20 more. &nbsp;If it had not been for Carole Nolan and WBEZ, I very likely would have been out of the business. &nbsp;This kind, gracious woman took a big chance on me, and I have never forgotten.&quot;</em></p><p><a name="nayder"></a><strong>Annoying Music Show host Jim Nayder had this to say about Nolan:</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>&quot;Carole Nolan hired me 1977 (despite then PD Tony Christopher saying &quot;I don&#39;t want that kid&quot;) --and gave me so many radio opportunities--I could list for hours.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>She let us all wear so many hats--hosting/producing whatever it took--and held the door open for everyone from Scott Simon to Ira Glass &amp; so many more.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>When Jane Byrne&#39;s Board of Ed couldn&#39;t issue paychecks one Xmas season, she pulled out her checkbook-and loaned me money on the spot (my wife worked for CPS at the time, so we were without two paychecks!)</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>We both lived in the Marquette Park (71st) neighborhood, and I was fortunate to spend many hours at her home planning radio adventures. If she loved an idea she would never say &quot;no!&quot; -and then find the people &amp; $$ resources to get it done.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>What a teacher, mentor &amp; friend.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Thank you Carole for all of the opportunities. I love you &amp; already miss you.&quot;</em></p><blockquote><p>&nbsp;</p></blockquote><p><strong>Bruce DuMont:</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>We didn&#39;t have any air conditioning. There were no TV lights or exposure.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>There wasn&#39;t 50,000 watts of power.&nbsp;Some times we had no callers. Guests complained about the last flight of stairs. There wasn&#39;t much money--and checks at times were delayed...and&nbsp;advertising and&nbsp; promotion were unheard of.&nbsp;&nbsp;</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>But there was Carole Nolan --- and her go ahead in 1980 to my idea for a 13 week experiment with a new type of talk show --&nbsp;one for&nbsp;and by political&nbsp;junkies changed my life.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>That was 32 years ago.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Personally, my time&nbsp;at WBEZ&nbsp;has been&nbsp;the highlight of my professional life. The most fun times and the most rewarding in so many ways. &nbsp;&nbsp;</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>What Carole launched in 1980 was the turning point in my career and for others as well.&nbsp; Remember those days&nbsp; Scott Simon?</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>The team of talent she brought to WBEZ was indeed a family.&nbsp;Not a phoney promotional family --but a real group of talented and dedicated&nbsp;people who loved radio and who were nurtured and inspired by Carole&#39;s quiet, never ending encouragement and twinkle of her smile.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Her vision was clear, her mission was focused and her legacy is fixed with all those who passed her way.&nbsp;</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Karl Wright, former WBEZ reporter:</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>It&#39;s a sad day full of wonderful memories for me.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>I owe Carole a huge debt of gratitude for meeting with me when I got out of college and hiring me as a &quot;cub reporter&quot; even though I only met with her because my mother said, &quot;just see what she has to say, there may be something there for you.&quot; My plan was to come out to Hollywood and struggle and sleep on any friend&#39;s floor to try and &quot;make it&quot; at a time when there really weren&#39;t that many opportunities for blacks in Hollywood unless you were Eddie Murphy.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Instead I found a home at WBEZ and stayed for almost 12 years, growing from every challenge Carole and Ken threw at me; &nbsp;becoming the youngest co-host on the air working with&nbsp;my buddy Shel Lustig on&nbsp;&quot;The Question Show&quot; &amp; &quot;Airplay;&quot; hosting &quot;Morning Edition&quot; (even though I am NOT a morning person); creating my OWN show &quot;Backstage Pass&quot; to celebrate Chicago&#39;s arts and entertainment scene and eventually trusting me to be &quot;the voice of the station&quot; doing all the on-air funding announcements. I will never forget one of those &quot;Ask the Management&quot; sessions during the fundraiser when Carole defended her decision to put me on in the morning against some listeners who thought I couldn&#39;t hack it. She never wavered, instead she agreed with one caller who said I was, &quot;the best thing in the morning since Coca-cola.&quot; She was always my champion and for that I will always be grateful.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Now as I sit in my home office in SoCal recording auditions for VO gigs, I realize that it is thanks to Carole that I can do this with confidence.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Carole Nolan was the perfect person to &quot;mother&quot; WBEZ thru it&#39;s growing years because she was a <strong>teacher</strong> at heart and she knew how to nuture talent. She brought together an amazing team of people over the years who all worked together as a family to make something very special out of the little station that could. I am so honored and proud to tell people that I worked at WBEZ with Carole Nolan and all of you.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Love you Carole!</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>NPR Reporter Allison Keyes:</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>There are no words for what Carole meant to my life and career. She took a chance on a wet behind the ears city news bureau/skokie life reporter and put me on the radio! </em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>My life would not have been the great adventure that is has without her faith in me -- and so many others whom she helped and supported. She will be missed - and my gratitude to her is eternal. </em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Thank you Carole ... for everything.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p><p><strong>WGN anchor/ reporter Micah Materre:</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Like Karl, I met Carole when I went looking for a job in broadcasting after college.&nbsp; It was also&nbsp;<strong>my mother</strong>&nbsp;who set up that meeting.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Little did I know that the interview would lead to the beginning of my career in broadcast journalism. I am and will forever be eternally grateful to Carole for hiring me, first as an intern with &ldquo;The Question Show&rdquo;, and eventually putting &nbsp;me on the payroll to produce a show with Bob Greenberg and CPS teachers. After that she gambled again and gave me my very first job as an actual reporter, producing &nbsp;features for &ldquo;The Question Show&rdquo; later renamed &ldquo;Airplay&rdquo;.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Where would I be without Carole taking a chance on a naïve, inexperienced college grad who&rsquo;d never put together a piece before in her life!!!!</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>I thank her for that, &nbsp;I think she had a knack for recognizing talent, or at least someone who thought they had talent.&nbsp;J&nbsp; I owe her a great deal of gratitude for believing in me and in so many others with whom she gave a chance. &nbsp;&nbsp;</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>She will be greatly missed! Rest well dear Carole.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Micah</em></p><p><strong>Bob Edwards</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>I&rsquo;m so sorry to hear about Carole. &nbsp;&nbsp;She was a fine leader and always nice to me.<br /><br />She was indeed an unlikely person to become a public radio station manager---but there were others like her who came from other cultures and found themselves players in something way beyond their local responsibilities. &nbsp;&nbsp;I&rsquo;m sure that Carole felt dealing with the Chicago School Board and the Daley Machine was quite enough for any one person----and then along comes NPR, a little network trying to explode itself overnight into a national institution. &nbsp;&nbsp;To do that, NPR needed strong leadership from the stations in all major markets and looked to Carole to be a forceful voice for NPR from Chicago. &nbsp;&nbsp;She delivered---yet I&rsquo;m not sure how many people at NPR in Washington knew what she was up against. &nbsp;&nbsp;I saw it first-hand when I worked out of WBEZ for a week in October of 1976. &nbsp;&nbsp;I was producing and hosting a week of political news and features for All Things Considered in advance of the Presidential election that year. &nbsp;&nbsp;WBEZ was populated by a lot of ladies who had worked for Chicago schools for a very long time. &nbsp;&nbsp;They were fond of ending their day at 3:00 in the afternoon because that&rsquo;s when school teachers went home. &nbsp;&nbsp;Getting the station through evening drive time did not interest them---and here I was trying to feed thirty minutes of live programming to Washington at 4:30pm Central time. &nbsp;&nbsp;With Carole&rsquo;s intervention, it got done.<br /><br />Obviously the current sleek and fabulous Chicago Public Radio on the Navy Pier bears no resemblance to the school board&rsquo;s WBEZ in an ancient building on Wacker Drive. &nbsp;&nbsp;(At least I think it was on Wacker). &nbsp;&nbsp;But today&rsquo;s public radio franchise in Chicago was not built on nothing.<br /><br />I DID have a hotel problem in Chicago, but I was not kicked out of a Holiday Inn. &nbsp;&nbsp;NPR was so penurious in those days that it booked me the very cheapest room it could find in the whole city----without bothering to check out what the place might be like. &nbsp;&nbsp;Thankfully I&rsquo;ve forgotten the name of this place, but it was a flophouse where men routinely urinated in the hallways. &nbsp;&nbsp;It&rsquo;s not my favorite memory of Chicago---or NPR.<br /><br />All the best,<br /><br />Bob Edwards</em><br /><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 05 Jul 2012 14:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/former-long-time-wbez-general-manager-carole-nolan-dies-100636 State to send financial oversight panel, consultants to North Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/state-send-financial-oversight-panel-consultants-north-chicago-99267 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/IMG_1305.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>More state control is coming to the troubled public schools in suburban North Chicago.</p><p>The Illinois Board of Education voted Thursday to put a five-member panel in charge of North Chicago school finances. &nbsp;</p><p>State schools Superintendent Chris Koch said the district is facing &ldquo;all sorts of potential train wrecks financially.&rdquo;</p><p>Earlier this week, WBEZ <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/eight-forty-eight/2012-05-14/state-hand-getting-tighter-suburban-north-chicago-schools">reported </a>on state involvement in the struggling district and Koch&rsquo;s plans to remove the locally elected school board. A separate state-appointed board will take its place.&nbsp;</p><p>The financial oversight panel is similar to others in districts across the state. Currently, the Cairo, Proviso and Venice school districts have such panels. Last month, the board voted to appoint one in East St. Louis, where the local board also will be replaced.</p><p>No one has been appointed to the finance panel or the new board yet, but state law says the financial oversight group must include two people from the community.</p><p>Last year, North Chicago board members signed an agreement with the state to work together to improve its struggling public schools.</p><p>But in recent months that agreement has fallen apart.</p><p>Another state-appointed board is one of two new additions to the state&rsquo;s strategy in North Chicago.</p><p>Earlier this week, the state indicated plans to hire The Vallas Group, run by former Chicago schools chief Paul Vallas, to help improve low-performing districts, including North Chicago.</p><p>Vallas&#39; was one of five groups that responded to the request for proposals. The preliminary contract would pay the organization just under $1 million for three years.</p></p> Thu, 17 May 2012 17:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/state-send-financial-oversight-panel-consultants-north-chicago-99267 Board votes unanimously to close, restaff schools http://www.wbez.org/story/school-closure-fight-continues-board-ed-96635 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-22/IMG_1873.JPG" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-23/jackson and lewis_lutton.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 473px;" title="Rev. Jesse Jackson (left) attended Wednesday's board meeting with teachers union head Karen Lewis (right). (WBEZ/Linda Lutton)"></p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><p><span style="font-size: 10px;">Listen to Linda Lutton discussing Wednesday's meeting on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em></span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332738958-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-february/2012-02-23/848-120223-seg.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p></div></div><p>Chicago’s school board voted unanimously late Wednesday to close seven schools and completely re-staff 10 others. The vote comes after months of protests from parents, teachers and activists and a spate of final pleas to board members to save the schools.</p><p>People began lining up at CPS headquarters 4 a.m. for a chance to address board members, and the school district stopped allowing the public in at one point, saying board chambers and an overflow room were at capacity.</p><p>Nearly eight hours after the meeting began, board members cast their votes and were immediately boo'd, protesters shouting, "Shame on you!" Votes were not taken on each school individually; instead, board members voted on closing 7 schools, then on dismissing all staff at 10 schools; then on handing 6 of the 10 schools to an outside nonprofit to run.</p><p>Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis called the vote a "travesty," with no board member dissenting on even one school.</p><p>Earlier in the day, Lewis kicked off three hours of public testimony before the board, warning that Chicago is at the "epicenter of the education justice fight in America." She said the nation is watching.</p><p>"Children who need the most resources get the least. Parents who cry out the loudest have their voices drowned. Schools that deserve the most support purposely get little," she told them.</p><p>Lewis said closing schools and turning them over to nonprofits to manage is part of a broader political agenda to destroy public schools. Lewis was joined by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who blasted inequities in the school system and a lack of resources.</p><p>"This is Little Rock, 1957," Jackson told the board. "This is apartheid."</p><p>A string of speakers criticized CPS for disregarding community concerns and failing to . Several predicted spikes in violence as students make their way to new schools across gang lines. "The Board of Education needs to work and help pay for some of these funerals that the families will have to go through, said Rev. Paul Jakes.</p><p>School district CEO Jean-Claude Brizard characterized the school closings process is the most respectful he's ever seen.</p><p>Brizard also said the district has listened to community concerns. He said he’s charged with carrying the voices of nearly a half million students, and sometimes difficult decisions must be made on their behalf. He said students are suffering, with many in the "academic emergency room."</p><p>Chicago Public Schools says 7,500 students will get a better education next year thanks to the board's vote.</p><p>Two board members spoke after the meeting about their decisions. Board member Mahalia Hines said she considered information from the district, then went to the schools and community herself before voting. "While the decision I made was a tough one—you probably can hear it in my voice—it was an informed one," she said.</p><p>Vice president Jesse Ruiz said he saw the vote as "an opportunity today to do something for those children."</p><p>"There’s been a record of these schools not performing and not serving our students as well as they should for years," said Ruiz. "And that’s unfortunate. It’s also unfortunate there are more schools like them. The worst thing I felt bad about today is that we couldn’t do this for more kids."</p><p>Local school council members at the affected schools have filed a lawsuit to keep the closings from going through. A bill that would place a moratorium on school closings is currently in the Illinios General Assembly. Asked if there might be more sit-ins or "occupied" schools in the future, community organizer Jitu Brown said, "Stay tuned."</p></p> Wed, 22 Feb 2012 21:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/school-closure-fight-continues-board-ed-96635