Crashing

As explained in the movie The Big Short (and other places), the 2007–2008 financial collapse was based on complicated financial instruments that lumped together mortgages likely to fail individually. However, the package was sold as a good investment.

CPS does something similar. A review of the hundreds of expenditures every year authorized by the unelected Board of Education shows hundreds of millions of dollars in payments to vendors. These vendors are seldom required to prove that they are worth the money paid to them. The most dramatic example is the scandal-ridden SUPES. The scandal had to do with BBB’s connection to them and the fact that their contract was no-bid. But what about the fact that SUPES was a useless program, according to principals who were subjected to it?

Another example: $15,000,000 was approved for payment to 81 vendors to provide social and emotional learning services. Who in CPS is formally evaluating the effectiveness of these services? Who is determining whether these services could be better provided by classroom teachers, who in most cases are already very aware of how to ensure that their students’ social/emotional needs are being met?

When too many people couldn’t pay their mortgages, the whole financial industry fell apart. What happens when too many vendors don’t actually provide beneficial services to CPS? CPS says they’re too broke to pay teachers fairly, too broke to have smaller classes, and too broke to provide schools with sufficient supports from nurses, social workers, or psychologists. Yet, they are not “too broke” to pay unproven vendors hundreds of millions of dollars.

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About Carol Caref

Carol Caref taught high school mathematics in CPS for 26 years before coming to work at the Chicago Teachers Union as a researcher. She has been involved in anti-racist, anti-capitalist struggles since her teens.

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