Never Enough Money For Education, But Chicago Always Finds Money For Incarceration

Every year, for the past 11 years that I have taught in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Chicago claims it doesn’t have enough money to properly fund its public schools. And every year there is some “justification” for not giving our students equitable funding.

 

In 2010, CPS didn’t have enough money and threatened to  and non-varsity sports.

 

In 2013, it was “necessary” to close more than , the most schools ever shut down at one time in our country体彩官方app’s history.

 

Now, every year our students watch as librarians, counselors, social workers, support staff, security and teachers are cut. They see how special education has been . They wonder why the technology in their school does not work, why paint is peeling off their classroom walls, why their track is unusable, why their heating and cooling vents spew out white clumps of powder, or why there are  in their classrooms.

 

Yet through all of this, Chicago always finds money for policing.

 

Throughout my time teaching in CPS, I have heard stories of the abusive nature of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) from my students. At first, , I had a hard time believing my students, because what they were telling was so different from my own experiences. For me as a white person, the police are at worst a minor annoyance. But for my black students, the police can mean danger, abuse, harassment, brutality and death.

 

It has been well documented that CPD has been terrorizing Chicago’s black and brown communities for generations, going back to the 1960s, with the while he slept, to the 1970s, with acts of torture led by Commander Jon Burge.

This year, Chicago Public Schools students will be learning through the  of the standard torture practices during the . For about a 20-year period, Commander Jon Burge and his officers would pick up innocent black men and force them into confessing to crimes that they did not commit. His standard methods of getting forced confessions was torture, which included suffocation, putting loaded weapons into mouths and electric shocks to the genital area.

 

Although the Burge torture era has ended, the corruption within the Chicago Police Department has not.

 

CPD has and continues to operate using a , with secret detention sites like , the planting of evidence,  and killing people of color in our city. All of these standard operating procedures are .

Through all of this, the “union” representing the CPD ― the (FOP) ― proudly continues to justify these practices. This is the same FOP who is upset about the Reparations WON curriculum, because they want the curriculum to tell . Both sides of torture?

 

Instead of working to improve policing to make sure acts of police torture, abuse and murder come to a stop, the FOP is working to make sure the mandates in the FOP contract . Over the years, the FOP has negotiated that allows the police to make up stories and intimidate people who might file complaints against them, to name a just a few.

 

Now, Mayor Emanuel thinks the police are deserving of a new $95 million training facility. Just another example of Rahm using taxpayer money for anything and everything besides our students. Rahm will fund River Walks, Navy Pier, basketball stadiums and hotels while  from the neighborhoods and schools that need them. His policies lead to the cutting of librarians, social workers, counselors, teachers, and support staff. School budgets continue to be cut. Parents go on  to keep schools open. Still more schools are 

You must survive on less.

 

At the same time schools and our students are having to operate with less, in conditions the mayor would never tolerate for his own children, Chicago is increasing funding to systems, like the police, that harshly punish black and brown children and families.

The Chicago Police Department costs taxpayers $4 million a day in operating costs, which makes up  and totals up to $1.5 billion dollars per year. Police brutality cases in Chicago have cost our city more than . To put this spending on policing in perspective, :

“… more than the city spends on the Departments of Public Health, Family and Support 体彩官方app, Transportation, and Planning and Development combined. Mental-health spending receives $10 million per year, and only $2 million per year is allocated to violence-prevention services.”

Just recently, a case involving a Chicago police shooting and killing of shows once again CPD planted evidence, showcasing continued corruption. Ronald was shot while running in 2014. It was claimed that he had a gun and, according to an image put out by CPD, it showed he had a gun. This was a claim his family has disputed. The officers weren’t charged. But now, after a  the image, it has become evident that it is a false image.

 

Meaning Ronald didn’t have a gun. Meaning there is no justification for his death.

Before Rahm gives any money to the CPD, he should follow all of the recommendations of the . In case you missed it, the DOJ investigation was the largest civil rights investigation into a police department in history. The DOJ findings included that CPD was responsible for the use of excessive and deadly force against people who pose no threat, use of force in health crises, exhibit racially discriminatory behavior, having officers with no accountability and who are poorly trained.

 

On top of addressing the DOJ concerns, Rahm should also have a democratically elected  (CPAC), as many community organizations have been advocating for years. (While he is at it, he should have an , too.)

 

Until the Chicago Police Department cleans up its act, it should not receive additional funding to build a new cop academy. Police can improve their training methods in their current training facilities. You don’t need a new building to teach police how not to be racist or why they should not kill innocent people.

 

If Rahm can’t find money for the education of our students, then there is no way he should find money for the incarceration of them#NoCopAcademy

 

Here is more information about the proposed and here are  our elected officials to not support the cop academy.

 

Also consider donating and supporting the which, “seeks to address the traumas of police violence and institutionalized racism through access to healing and wellness services, trauma-informed resources, and community connection. The Center is a part of and supports a movement to end all forms of police violence.”

See this piece on and

A Teacher’s Response To Criticisms On The Torture Curriculum In Chicago Public Schools

Part 1: A Brief Background of How and Why the Curriculum on Torture Came To Be

Over nearly a 20-year period, Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and his officers tortured 110 Black men by beating them, suffocating them, and using electric shocks to force confessions to crimes these men did not commit. As part of a lawsuit that was won by survivors of the Jon Burge police torture era, Chicago Public Schools is mandated to implement a 3-5 week unit in the 8th and 10th grades that teaches students about these horrific events that happened within the Chicago Police Department. The men who survived the acts of torture did not win substantial amounts of money from the city, what they wanted and won was their stories taught in schools in hopes of preventing more instances like this. For more information about what Burge and his men did click .

 

Part 2: For Concerned CPS Parents and the Public

I am a high school social studies teacher in CPS. My oldest child attended pre-school in CPS and will now be starting kindergarten in CPS on Tuesday. I have heard some parents say, “Well I don’t want my kid learning about that!” or “I will pull them out of school when they learn about that.” A reminder that this curriculum is taught to 8th and 10th graders. If at this age your children are still sheltered from the everyday systemic racism and horrible events of our past, it is long overdue that they learn.

 

Do you think Jewish parents don’t teach their kids about the Holocaust? That Black parents don’t teach their kids about Slavery, Jim Crow, and the on going struggle for equality? That Mexican parents don’t teach their children about colonization, loss of culture, and current examples of racism?

 

Whether you talk to your kids or not they know there is injustice in the world.  for parents to help their kids understand injustice and then ways to address it.

No one likes learning about Slavery, the Holocaust, or any types of discrimination/horrific abuse, but does that mean that it should not be taught?

 

This curriculum does not bash police. It educates students on what can happen if systems go unchecked. We don’t like bullies, right? Well, let your children learn what can happen if a bully is allowed to bully well into adulthood.

 

I would encourage parents to read the curriculum, by clicking  for the 8th grade curriculum and  for the 10th grade curriculum.

 

Social Studies teachers love teaching multiple viewpoints, but there are certain topics, such as this one, when the other side’s viewpoint isn’t valid. We don’t teach that Hitler or the Nazi’s were really a bunch of misunderstood good guys. We don’t teach that Slave owners were really good people just interested in “helping” slaves. We don’t teach that Columbus was a good guy…well unfortunately some still teach that, but he was a .

 

The Jon Burge side of this curriculum is the side that picked up 110 random Black men, forced them to confess to crimes they didn’t commit by beating and torturing them. There is no “good side”.

Part 3: Responding to the Fraternal Order of Police

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) sent a letter to the leadership of Chicago Public Schools (you can view page 1 of the letter here and page 2 here). Basically asking that both sides of the story be presented while attempting to deflect from the horrific things Chicago Police did under Burge.

 

The courts decided that Chicago Police Department under Burge did horrible things. The courts heard ‘the other side’. The curriculum was then made collaboratively by many organizations.

 

FOP, you had your ‘other side of the story’ chance in court and lost.

Instead of working to improve policing to make sure acts of police torture, abuse, and murder come to a stop, the FOP is working to make sure the mandates in the FOP contract protect cops who kill and issue a code of silence for any officer who might be wiling to speak up.

 

The Chicago Police Department has a long and tragic history of police abuse that includes the recent deaths of Rekia Boyd, Johsua Beal, Laquan McDonald, Paul O’Neal, Bettie Jones, Quintonio LeGrier, Jose Nieves, Pierre Loury, and Kajuan Raye among others. The Chicago Police Department has been exposed for having a secret holding site at , they have been reprimanded by the , cost Chicago taxpayers  in police abuses cases, have a  that tries to prevent officers from speaking up, and has  that actually allow for abuse of citizens and cover ups by police.

 

Let me be clear though, the torture curriculum only focuses on what Burge did. It does not address any instance of police abuse, murder before or after him.

 

I know police who have said things to me like, “I’m not a bad guy.” I know some police are right when they say that. It is true that even within a corrupt system like the Chicago Police or policing as a whole, there can be legitimately good police officers. However, until I hear police willing to call out the FOP, take it over, or create a new and legitimate police union then I’ll just say that within every corrupt system there may be a few good apples.

 

Anytime I write a piece critical of police I ask myself a lot of questions. Is there a risk to me in writing this piece? My spouse? My kids? Do I need to try and make sure there aren’t recent public pictures of my kids on social media? Do I need to prevent people from knowing where my kids go to school? Am I damaging my career? Am I in danger? Or are these just irrational fears that I don’t need to worry about? I think these thoughts every time my partner gives me the look that means, “Dave be careful.” I try to be, but then I think about teaching.

 

In college, I was told by a great teacher, that no matter where you teach, if you are going to be successful in this career you need to advocate for your students and then teach them how to advocate for themselves. Since I began teaching in CPS in 2007 I have heard stories from my students of police harassment and abuse. I think about students who have been killed by police. I realize that I must use my various forms of privilege to speak out. I hope soon enough police officers will do the same.

 

There can’t be healing until there is acknowledgement of systemic issues with policing and from there reconciliation can begin. However, as long as the FOP is around, healing isn’t even possible.

 

Jon Burge and his men did horrible things. The reason we teach about these things is to prevent them from happening again. If you are an educator who wants to learn more about this curriculum, I am fortunate to be a part of a group of educators putting together a professional development (PD) that will be offered at the Chicago Teachers Union in the near future on what this curriculum really is and how to teach it. Click  for more information about PD’s offered from the CTU, the dates for this PD are not yet finalized.

 

If you are interested in working to improve policing in Chicago than check out the  (AARPR) as they and the  and continue to work to get all the victims of the Jon Burge era freed from jail. The AARPR also are and have been working towards getting an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council, which would make the police accountable to someone besides themselves or the mayor’s cronies.

 

Click to view this piece on Huff Post.

Presenter Reparations WON Curriculum

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Photo: CPS Teachers from right to left Will Weaver, Mayra Almaraz-De Santiago, and Dave Stieber

We are leading professional development around the Reparations WON curriclum.

“Starting this school year, middle and high school teachers must teach about the history of torture committed under the direction of disgraced Police Commander Jon Burge and the fight waged by survivors and their allies for justice. In 2015, organizers won the passage of a Chicago city ordinance which awarded a full reparations package to survivors and included the creation of this curriculum which CPS finally launched last spring. This curriculum will be a challenge to teach and teachers will need strong preparation, as well as time to collaborate and plan. The CTU and CTUF Quest Center supported the development of the curriculum and worked with rank and file educators to develop this professional development series.The PD modules are divided into 1) before teaching the curriculum, 2) teaching the curriculum, and 3) after teaching the curriculum. The modules will include workshop time for participants to think and plan.”