A Modest Appraisal

On The Occasion of The Chicago Public School Board’s Glorious Disemboweling of Fifty Particularly Bothersome Pieces of Educational Detritus.

I must say, it has warmed the cockles of my imperceptibly beating and pacemakered heart to see the musty nether regions of the body politic assert themselves over the marrow and muscle of the teeming masses. There’s nothing quite so exhilarating as listening to the incessant prattle of inconsequential aldermen and advocates with the unassailable certitude that nothing coming out of their pestilential gullets has a prayer of changing your course of action. Back in the old days we used to just go to Gibson’s Steakhouse and hash everything out over a porterhouse and a few bottles of claret, but I suspect it’s best to do these aboveboard dog-and-pony shows now, what with all that claptrap about transparent governance. Wherever did these reprobates get such a fanciful idea? Nevertheless, I was relieved to see such a substantial security detail at the proceedings. You never know when one of those deranged proletarian heathens will try and charge the stage and throttle you for having the audacity to try and responsibly balance the city’s budget on the backs of their children.

What’s 50 schools anyhow? It’s a drop in a bucket with a hole in the bottom of it. 30,0001 or so pre-pubescent wastrels being made to switch schools is not worthy of being labeled an inconvenience, much less a repudiation of the public trust. Frankly—and this is not to be repeated—I think the little maggots are spoiled rotten. If I could round up the whole lot of them and split them up 50 to a room with nothing but a few hornbooks and a butch taskmaster to keep them in line, I would. Don’t act like the thought hasn’t occurred to you. After all, the bulk of these illiterate luddites aren’t going on to careers in quantum mechanics or investment banking, so what’s the point in pretending? It isn’t terribly sound budgetary practice to be throwing money at a bunch of derelicts who are destined to become fry cooks and convicts. I say it’s about time we give up the ghost of equitability and start picking us some winners.

For instance, I cannot stress how encouraging it is to see that the CPS board has decided to shutter up The Kate S. Buckingham Special Education Center. It is downright criminal to have a student to faculty ratio of 6:12 for a group of kids with the academic promise of a head of lettuce. You can show me academic drivel about engaging and ambitious instruction all you want3, it’s still a horrendous waste of capital. If it was up to me I’d take every special needs child in Chicago and buckle them into the seats at a dilapidated movie theater and have them watch Pixar movies all day. But, since that isn’t an option, your solution will do nicely. Shipping all of these headaches 15 miles away every day to Moses Montefiore Special Elementary School4 was a truly inspired decision. The more they’re on the bus, the less they’re in the classroom—and the less they’re in the classroom, the less we’re responsible for them. The bottom line is that there’s zero return on investment with these little bastards. I mean, it really is lovely that little Johnnie can read Goodnight Moon now, but that doesn’t do a damn bit of good for me because he’s in the 3rd grade and still can’t break single digits on his standardized test scores. The district would be better off if Johnnie was peddling his spindly little legs on a stationary bike all day to generate energy for the school’s electrical system. Which reminds me, I need to find out if powering a building with the natural energy of elementary schoolers would be enough get some of our buildings LEED certified.

On a more lucrative note, you may or may not have heard that Mayor Emanuel has committed $100 million of the city’s money to DePaul University for the construction of a new basketball arena5. Personally, I am always for any major metropolitan area shilling out hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to build sports complexes, but I am especially for them when they’re being built for a private Catholic university that charges over $30,000 a year in tuition to more than 16,000 undergraduate students. Men and women of that caliber should be afforded every opportunity to maximize the utility of their college experience, especially when it comes to watching a men’s basketball team that hasn’t made it to the NCAA Tournament in over a decade. That’s what I call a sound investment.

All the best,

Americhe Pantalone

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Categories: Social Justice, US Politics

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