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Today’s numbers and a morning reading assignment

Monday, Dec 23, 2013

* New York TImes

Across the country, public schools employ about 250,000 fewer people than before the recession, according to figures from the Labor Department. Enrollment in public schools, meanwhile, has increased by more than 800,000 students. To maintain prerecession staffing ratios, public school employment should have actually grown by about 132,000 jobs in the past four years, in addition to replacing those that were lost, said Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington.


* Meanwhile, the Chicago Sun-Times
has a must-read story today about how a charter school with ties to the Turkish Gulen movement received the first and only state approval to open a school after the Chicago Public Schools turned it down. Ties to Speaker Madigan, Madigan’s son, a former Caterpillar CEO, etc. abound. Here’s just a taste, but make sure and read the whole thing

Madigan has taken four trips in the past four years to Turkey as the guest of the Chicago-based Niagara Foundation — whose honorary president is Gulen — and the Chicago Turkish American Chamber of Commerce, according to disclosure reports the speaker has filed.

State records show Madigan’s visits were among 32 trips lawmakers took to Turkey from 2008 through 2012. The speaker and members of his House Democratic caucus took 29 of those trips, which they described as “educational missions.”

Turkey was the destination of 74 percent of all foreign trips Illinois legislators reported receiving as gifts during the five-year period.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


16 Comments
  1. - Truthteller - Monday, Dec 23, 13 @ 8:56 am:

    This story should not surprise anyone. We have known for a long time that we have a turkey legislature.


  2. - Just Me - Monday, Dec 23, 13 @ 9:25 am:

    I am sure any request that the Speaker made to the state charter school commission on behalf of Concept was “withdrawn” once this story made the paper.


  3. - Don't Worry, Be Happy - Monday, Dec 23, 13 @ 9:25 am:

    I’d read the story if I could get the Sun-Times web site to load!


  4. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 23, 13 @ 9:35 am:

    Enough with the charter schools scam. It’s the new pinstripe patronage on the taxpayer dime: jobs, contracts, vendors, testing products, etc.


  5. - Nonplussed - Monday, Dec 23, 13 @ 9:51 am:

    In our elementary school district, since 2008, in order to balance the books and not eliminate programs (e.g., music, art), one of the things that was done was that vacancies were not filled, both in the schools and the administrative office. No one was fired–this all happened through attrition.

    When you rely on property taxes to fund schools and property values decline….


  6. - A guy... - Monday, Dec 23, 13 @ 10:21 am:

    Gotta spend a little more time thinking about this one. Thanks for linking the article. Who knew…Turkey? Wow.


  7. - globalguy - Monday, Dec 23, 13 @ 10:52 am:

    The Chicago connection with Turkish Islam is actually quite strong. It is part of a long history of interfaith dialogue and organizations that began with the 1893 Parliament of the World’s Religions at the World Columbian Exposition. After 9.11, it gained momentum as US leaders, including former Mayor Daley, sought out moderate Muslim leaders and organizations.


  8. - Ghost - Monday, Dec 23, 13 @ 11:06 am:

    Something foul in turkey….. or is Madigan just giving us all the bird….


  9. - DuPage - Monday, Dec 23, 13 @ 11:07 am:

    @nonplussed 9:51=When you rely on property taxes to fund schools and property values decline=
    Sometimes not. It varies by district. The districts levy can be raised a limited amount each year, especially if they are not at their top limit. Assessors also bend their procedures. If property values go up, they set their computers to raise the property values every year. They say that is to prevent “sticker shock” that would occur at a quad annual assessment. This gets more money each of the three years before the quad annual assessment.
    When property values go down, unethical assessors switch to waiting 4 years to change the assessment.
    Yes, sometimes declining property values result in lower growth in budgets, but reductions in state funding are the bigger factor in reductions in school programs and personnel.


  10. - olddog - Monday, Dec 23, 13 @ 12:04 pm:

    What wordslinger said. This is what you get when you privatize K-12 education.

    Something else to read: A 2012 article in Salon that connects some of the dots between the Koch brothers, ALEC, Wall Street, the Christian right, Mayor Bloomberg, the Obama administration, “school choice” and charter schools …

    http://www.salon.com/2012/01/24/the_ugly_truth_about_school_choice/

    It was written in North Carolina — before right-winger extremists took control of state government there — but it has lessons for us in Illinois as well.


  11. - BoBo - Monday, Dec 23, 13 @ 12:23 pm:

    That’s a misprint right? The Speaker is in Turkey more than every other month? He is not in Springfield that often.

    If that is true it is the strangest story I have read in a long time.


  12. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 23, 13 @ 12:24 pm:

    ===That’s a misprint right?===

    No, you misread it. Try again.


  13. - Richard - Monday, Dec 23, 13 @ 12:44 pm:

    Allowing the state Charter School Commission to grant a charter when a local school board has already rejected it (especially the charter-friendly CPS!) is one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard of. Pathetically, the bill creating this law passed the Senate without a single “no” vote and only 6 against it in the House:

    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/votehistory/97/house/09700SB0079_05172011_006000T.pdf


  14. - BoBo - Monday, Dec 23, 13 @ 12:57 pm:

    Got it, thanks. But still, that’s an insane amount of attention to a foreign country by the Illinois delegation. There is an underlying story that needs to be told here.


  15. - Another parent - Monday, Dec 23, 13 @ 3:22 pm:

    Search the terms Turkish charter schools all together and just look at the results. If you didn’t already know about the connections, you will be astonished.


  16. - Another parent - Monday, Dec 23, 13 @ 3:36 pm:

    Please read/view/listen to the news stories from reputable sources - newspapers of major US cities, USA Today, reputable German media, 60 Minutes story, BBC Radio stories on Youtube. Joshua Hendricks radio interview on Austalia’s ABC (search terms turkey gallipoli gulen capitalism). The International Business Times also has an article about a Gulen linked cyber attack on a US citizen critical of the charter schools.


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