It is disingenuous to imply that the Workshop received the money and not Klonsky. Who paid his salary? The Workshop. Did they just hand the CAC money to someone else?
Also, we do not really know how fair the process [of the CAC board awarding grants] was since Klonsky’s mentor, Ayers, was a key player and so was Ayers’ protege, Obama.
If those two were not available to Klonsky, would the board’s transparent process have funded the SSW (which was founded by Ayers)? Who is to say.
It would be interesting to know, for example, if any project that Ayers objected to got funded. Or if any project that one board member other than Obama objected to but Ayers supported did not get funded.
I do know that Arnold Weber, the former president of Northwestern, who sat on the board as a representative of the pro-business Civic Committee, opposed the millions of dollars Ayers and Obama wanted to spend to support the Local School Councils as anti-union watchdogs over teachers and principals.
It is very important here to see the fundamental mistake being made by right wing critics of the CAC: they want to paint it as a “left wing” enterprise and then people like Klonsky and Ayers will point out, as Klonsky does in his comment, the presence of various prominent Chicagoans on the board of the CAC.
In 1995 the business community was turning against the “radical” authoritarian LSC’s and backing Daley’s effort to recentralize control over the schools with his CEO model. That put Obama and Ayers and Rolling directly in opposition to the Daley regime. That is what makes the CAC record so important: it is evidence of Obama siding with an authoritarian approach to education reform arm in arm with Bill Ayers and Mike Klonsky, among others.
Of course, for Klonsky to hide behind the Rove/Swiftboating charge is a way of discouraging open and transparent debate about six of the most important years in Obama’s professional life, the only time he ever held a top level leadership position. The CAC experience deserves a full exploration and discussion by the electorate.
George Schmidt of the Chicago Teachers Union had some direct experience with Klonsky, Ayers and the CAC-funded Small Schools Workshop at Bowen H.S. in Chicago.
Our “external partner” [required for schools on probation for low test scores] at Bowen High School was from the famous “Small Schools Network” at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The people they sent (several different ones during the time I was there) had little or no classroom experience. Their activities ranged from irrelevant to intrusive when it came to discussing things like classroom instruction with people. On a couple of occasions, they sent out their heavyweights (Mike Klonsky and Bill Ayers), who were equally irrelevant, albeit more arrogant (and a bit more polished).
Bowen High School’s improvements on the tests that determined “probation” in Chicago had nothing to do with the costly (more than $200,000 over the first three years) work of the “Small Schools Network.”
And, at the end of the 1997-98 school year, they tried to push for the elimination of some teachers, but failed. By that time, Ayers was reportedly into proving how serious they could be by forcing principals for[sic] fire some teachers. Not once did they criticize the “standard” that had been set or mention the economic and social problems of the community (including a terrible gang problem which I was partly responsible for keeping under control).