Jul 10

Thank You, IVI-IPO

I thank IVI-IPO for giving me the Saul Mendelson Award for Social Justice last night. When I read the very brief synopsis of his life and what he was able to achieve, I am truly humbled. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1998-03-16/news/9803160089_1_mr-mendelson-pancreatic-american-labor-council

Jun 30

Best One-Woman Think Tank

I am deeply honored to have been included in the Chicago Reader's annual "Best of Chicago" edition as the Best One-Woman Think Tank. Here is a link to the article. http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/best-one-woman-think-tank/BestOf?oid=13795522

Jun 19

Updated Jun 20

North Lawndale in the News, in a Good Way

North Lawndale has submitted its bid, in partnership with the University of Illinois, for the Barack Obama Presidential Library!

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-obama-library-illinois-chicago-uic-20140616,0,1443868.story

  • To the people of North Lawndale. No matter what you are doing in life or where you are doing it, people will look at you differently now. They will see you as a member of that over-looked community; a poor community that had the confidence to work for such a...

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    To the people of North Lawndale. No matter what you are doing in life or where you are doing it, people will look at you differently now. They will see you as a member of that over-looked community; a poor community that had the confidence to work for such a thing as the Presidential Library. To embody that Audacity of Hope.
    Your North Lawndale Presidential Library Committee came from the community, working for the community. Their hard work in satisfying the Obama Foundation’s Qualification requirements is something you can be proud of. No matter where we are, we can say with pride that we’re from North Lawndale.
    And to all of the North Lawndales and Bed-Stuys and Comptons across the country, you can hold your head up with pride too. We are one of the most, historically poor neighborhoods in Chicago. We are working for greatness, with the expectation of being successful and we’re teaching our children to do the same.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/North-Lawndale-Presidential-Library/366984393416815

  • Valerie F. Leonard Lawndale Community Builder and Policy Analyst

    Congratulations, Paul, Charles, Marcus, and everyone else who worked on the bid, in spite of all the naysayers. I wish you the best of luck.

Jun 06

Be Sure to Watch the 9:00 News on Channel 9

The WGN TV 9:00 News (Channel 9) will do a feature on turnaround schools in Chicago on Monday, June 9, 2014.

Jun 04

Turnaround Updates

Please find below links to the latest articles regarding the turnarounds.

CPS Needs to Revise its Ethics Policies to Mitigate Conflicts of Interest
http://valeriefleonard.com/StayingintheLoop/nfblog/?p=1971
Gresham Elementary Turnaround Could Lead to Civil Rights Lawsuit by NAACP
http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140604/auburn-gresham/gresham-elementary-turnaround-could-lead-civil-rights-lawsuit-ny-naacp

Making profits off school turnarounds
http://socialistworker.org/2014/06/02/making-profits-off-turnarounds

Community groups charge possible conflict of interest in Chicago school turnarounds
http://www.bobbosphere.org/2014/05/28/community-groups-charge-possible-conflict-of-interest-in-chicago-school-turnarounds/#.U41AA_302Lc.facebook

28 Days Left to Hear Inspectors General Reports on CPS, AUSL Conflicts of Interest
http://valeriefleonard.com/StayingintheLoop/nfblog/?p=1975

Community Groups to Board of Education: Nullify Vote to Turnaround 3...

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Please find below links to the latest articles regarding the turnarounds.

CPS Needs to Revise its Ethics Policies to Mitigate Conflicts of Interest
http://valeriefleonard.com/StayingintheLoop/nfblog/?p=1971
Gresham Elementary Turnaround Could Lead to Civil Rights Lawsuit by NAACP
http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140604/auburn-gresham/gresham-elementary-turnaround-could-lead-civil-rights-lawsuit-ny-naacp

Making profits off school turnarounds
http://socialistworker.org/2014/06/02/making-profits-off-turnarounds

Community groups charge possible conflict of interest in Chicago school turnarounds
http://www.bobbosphere.org/2014/05/28/community-groups-charge-possible-conflict-of-interest-in-chicago-school-turnarounds/#.U41AA_302Lc.facebook

28 Days Left to Hear Inspectors General Reports on CPS, AUSL Conflicts of Interest
http://valeriefleonard.com/StayingintheLoop/nfblog/?p=1975

Community Groups to Board of Education: Nullify Vote to Turnaround 3 Schools, Put a Moratorium on All School Actions
http://lawndalealliance.blogspot.com/2014/06/community-groups-to-board-of-education.html

Press Statement from Chicago Citizens United to Preserve Public Education
http://www.scribd.com/doc/226431924/Comments-Press-Conference-5-27-14

AUSL Board Members' Contributions to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Election Campaign
http://lawndalealliance.blogspot.com/2014/05/ausl-board-members-contributions-to.html

The press conferences generating these stories have been announced in a number of blogs with national and international audiences. An article from the Sun-Times has been carried in the Inspector General News and a number of other blogs that reach city and national audiences, including the legal community. Indeed, this issue has gained significant traction.

Jun 02

Community Groups to Board of Education: Nullify Vote to Turnaround 3 Schools

Chicago Citizens United to Preserve Public Education recently filed complaints to the Inspectors General for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the United States Department of Education, asking them to investigate the relationships among CPS board members and the Academy of Urban School Leadership (AUSL). The Inspectors General were asked to examine the Board of Education's last votes to turn over 3 schools to AUSL for turnaround to determine if there were any conflicts of interest among board members and AUSL;...

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Chicago Citizens United to Preserve Public Education recently filed complaints to the Inspectors General for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the United States Department of Education, asking them to investigate the relationships among CPS board members and the Academy of Urban School Leadership (AUSL). The Inspectors General were asked to examine the Board of Education's last votes to turn over 3 schools to AUSL for turnaround to determine if there were any conflicts of interest among board members and AUSL; to analyze the relationship--if any-- between political contributions to Mayor Emanuel from AUSL board members and the significant increase in the number of Chicago Public Schools turned over to AUSL on a no bid basis and to determine if AUSL turnarounds are the most cost effective solution given their less than stellar results.

"We believe that, given the fact that two of the five board members present and voting during the April meeting have apparent conflicts of interest stemming from relationships with AUSL, that the vote should be nullified", said Valerie F. Leonard, spokesperson for the group. David Vitale was the chairman of AUSL's board prior to assuming his position as President of the Board of Education. Mr. Vitale did not recuse himself from voting to turn over the 3 schools to AUSL for turnaround. Dr. Carlos Azcoitia is employed by National Louis University, which is the exclusive trainer for AUSL teachers. Dr. Azcoitia voted to reconstitute the 3 schools, but abstained from voting on the underlying AUSL management contract to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Read the entire article here: http://policyontheground.blogspot.com/2014/06/community-groups-to-board-of-education.html

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