Mad as Hell

Re: “Do as We Say, Not as We Do: The Chicago Public Schools are broke. Teachers have been asked to share the pain. Coaches have been asked to work for free. Bigger class sizes have been threatened. So why are CEO Ron Huberman and other top bureaucrats taking raises?” by Ben Joravsky

I am so angry. I am a National Board Certified teacher, and my stipend has been cut. Promising young teachers at my school have been laid off, while we have four administrators at my school that make over 100K. I can’t get my kid into a decent school, I can’t afford a single family home, my next-door neighbors have been shot and killed, and there is a bullet hole in my car door. I live in the city because I love my students and colleagues, but this makes me want to throw in the towel. When something like this happens, the taxpayers lose twice. Their money is misspent on bureaucrats instead of kids, and the best and brightest teachers that actually come into regular contact with children get laid off or leave the city.


Teachers and students are supposed to sacrifice while the Board of Education—the seven-member body appointed by the mayor—approves a budget that nearly triples its allowance for “nonprofessional services.” Nearly triples its allowance for “memberships, subscriptions, seminars.” Nearly triples its allowance for travel expenses. More than doubles its allowance for “miscellaneous contingent projects.” Are you kidding me?

And on top of that, it’s taxpayer money they’re spending? These people have a very high sense of self worth. I suppose when the person picked to oversee the Chicago education system has no background in education, you could have seen it coming. I mean you really could have seen it coming. So what are we looking at? A top-heavy business model used to run the educational system. It’s almost laughable, but then when you remember it’s a generation of children we’re talking about—their future and ours, well, it kind of sobers things up. Here’s an afterthought: Maybe the mayor could give back some of that TIF money that’s been siphoned off the schools. I honestly don’t think that’s too much to ask given the abysmal financial stewardship that’s brought us to this point. I know, I know. That’s not how politics works. And besides, that self-satisfied crowd at the top would have their hands all over it.


How dare King Richard II say it is time for teachers to get in the real world? I dare him to spend one day in the real world teachers inhabit. When is the last time he got assaulted, cursed out, or threatened by a parent or student? When is the last time he worked in an office without functioning windows on a day in the 90s—air-conditioning is nonexistent of course. This rhetoric is more of King Richard’s divide-and-conquer tactics. He is trying to pit the teachers against the rest of the population.

How many other people work at a job where they have to invest a minimum of $1,000 a year to provide extras (or in some cases, the basics) to the clients they serve? I, like all other teachers, have invested thousands in education, postgraduate studies, and professional development. I, like many other teachers, spend countless hours of my own time writing grants and proposals for funds to enrich the education of my students. I have received almost $60,000 in grants and awards during my career. In other words, I have given back more than an average year’s salary to the CPS.

Now I am asked to forgo my raise and take furlough days? Enough is enough! I suggest that instead of closing and restructuring schools, we close 125 S. Clark. Let Mr. Huberman, Ms. Bond, et al be placed in the substitute teacher pool. Hire all new staff at reduced salaries and let them work in one of those empty school buildings. Remind them to bring their own fans—it gets awfully hot in those buildings in the warm months.


Like a number of those who have replied to Ben’s excellent and so true article, I too am a CPS employee, and a well-paid administrator to boot. I regularly say: I love my school, I hate CPS. However, the mere fact that such obvious disregard and disrespect is being regularly promulgated by Ron Huberman and his absurdly obnoxious performance managers disgusts me such that it leaves me with only one choice. I am getting the hell out of CPS. I have a phenomenal school with amazing staff, supportive parents, and exceptionally wonderful students. I will miss them terribly. However, CPS and the city of Chicago are one scary Titanic heading for an iceberg. I usually fight to be a part of the solution. However, this is one fight I’m not even willing to wager. Good luck, citizens!


Oh, Joy!

I’d been poking at [the March 18 issue] for a few days, and I thought sure there was nothing left to read. Imagine my sheer joy when I turned the page and found myself looking at a music column from my hero Sam McPheeters (“That Band You Don’t Understand”). I loved his piece in Vice last year about the guy from the Crucifucks, and I love that I live in the same town with a newspaper that both recognizes his brilliant voice and has the means to bring a new piece of his into the world. Thanks a lot, congratulations on all you do to advance journalism in Chicago and the world, and I hope you will be an example to others of how to do things the right way!

Matt Pakulski

Kinsella Watch

Re: Gossip Wolf, by Jessica Hopper and J.R. Nelson

Mike Kinsella bought Jello and used the self-checkout lane @ the Jewel on Western and Roscoe.