Sunday, August 30, 2009

Olympian Lies and School Grades Manipulation

Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley is a liar. So are Ron Huberman and Arne Duncan, the current and former chiefs of Chicago Public Schools respectively. Here's why, plain and simple: (1) The "improved grades" of Chicago public school children is largely false, a lie perpetrated and probably instigated by Huberman, and probably with Daley's blessing, and (2) Daley's wild claims that the 2016 Olympics would give Chicago a massive profit are roundly shot down by experts. (1) Daley's Olympic Economics Fantasies Crain's Chicago Business noted this past week that Daley's fantastical claims "that the 2016 Olympics would give Chicago's economy a $22.5-billion boost vastly overstates the likely benefits of hosting the games, experts say." The Crain's report continued (emphasis added): "That's crazy," says Victor Matheson, a professor of economics at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts who has studied the economic impact of the Olympics. "Anyone using this $22.5-billion number as justification to vote for the Olympics is being led down the garden path." The figure far exceeds estimated benefits in forecasts prepared by other cities that have sought the games. Atlanta, for example, figured the games it hosted in 1996 would produce an economic jolt of just $7 billion in 2009 dollars. (See the full article...) Professor Matheson doesn't live in Chicago. It's doubtful that he has a partisan interest in the pro vs. con Chicago 2016 argument. It's undoubtedly safe to say that he knows a hell of lot more about the economics of hosting an Olympics than does Richard M. Daley, and that Matheson is more objective about it. We already knew in June that Daley lied when he said that the taxpayers would not lose a dime if Chicago get the Olympics, and the ill-fated meeting in Switzerland proved it. At the meeting, Daley announced that he would "sign the standard Olympic host city contract, which would give the city full financial responsibility for mounting the 2016 Summer Games." (Source) In other words, Chicago taxpayers would get stuck holding the bag if or when the Chicago Olympics loses money. (2) The Chicago Public Schools Grades Conspiracy Many of us have known for a long time that claims of Chicago school kids' grades improving is a huge exaggeration, if not an outright lie. Now, thanks to the Chicago Sun-Times, we know that grades have been artificially raised in large numbers. An August 29 article, titled "1 in 5 Chicago Public High School teachers say they felt pressure to change grades last school year" demonstrates this with sharp clarity. The report surveyed more than 1,200 Chicago Teachers Union members and sheds light on how desperate city officials are to give the illusion of improvement where there is none. An excerpt from that article: The findings raise serious questions about whether some of the data used to judge Chicago public schools has been inflated, artificially manipulated -- or in some cases outright altered. Back in June, Greg Hinz wrote about the horrible failure of Chicago's public (government-run) schools. In his blog at Crain's Chicago Business, Hinz wrote this (emphasis added): Half of the students drop out by high school, and of those who remain until 11th grade, 70% fail to meet state standards, the report says. In fact, "In the regular (non-magnet) neighborhood high schools, which serve the vast preponderance of students, almost no students are prepared to succeed in college." The report directly challenges widespread claims by current and former CPS officials that local students have shown substantial progress over the last decade on standardized tests. Hinz cites a stunning June, 2009 report (see the PDF) by the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago, which condemns Chicago's public schools in it conclusion (emphasis added): CPS has reported that Chicago s elementary schools have made enormous progress in the course of the past decade - achieving double-digit increases in all grades and all subjects. This claim jarringly conflicts with the flat trends reported in the high schools, and is contrary to the NAEP ("Nation s Report Card”) results. The remarkable apparent progress in the elementary schools appears to be due mostly to changes in the ISAT tests and testing procedures - rather than real improvement in student learning. Without saying so directly, the report calls Daley, Huberman and Duncan liars. So we'll say it for them. Daley, Huberman and Duncan are liars. Schools-Related (Olympics-Related follows): Survey: Teachers pressured to change grades - Chicago Arne Duncan presided over a schools grade changing scandal - The horror of Chicago school reform - CPS president subpoenaed - Chicago Sun-Times Grand jury investigating Chicago Public Schools - Chicago Sun-Times Chicago public-school reform flops, biz-backed report says - Crain's Chicago Business Daley Lies About Chicago Public Schools - Welcome To Daleyland Still Left Behind, Student Learning in Chicago's Public Schools - Report (PDF) from the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago, June 2009 Olympics-Related: Chicago's 2016 Olympics bid: Deeper look shows potential financial pitfalls - Chicago Tribune Daley seeks more graft from Olympics - The Daily Blank Mayor Daley: Big Olympic Spender - Chicago Reader‎ Daley ally will be asked about Olympics land deal - Chicago Tribune Daley declines to answer questions about insider's Olympics deal - Chicago Tribune Flores On Daley's Olympic Guarantee: "Enough Is Enough" - Progress Illinois Cool Hats & Shirts for Cool Conservatives Leave a Comment... 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