Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Goodbye to All That – Forty-Three Years of Catholic Secondary Education

Leo President Dan McGrath, "D" and Me in 2010 at St.Columbanus Catholic Church for Leo Graduation

I had a ball!  Since 1975, I have worked exclusively and loyally in Catholic secondary teaching and fund-raising.  I taught thousands of young people who have grown into remarkable men and women.  I have worked with brilliant people at Bishop McNamara, La Lumiere School, Leo High School and Brother Rice High School.

It was a privilege to work for Alpha-male teachers and school leaders like Bob Foster of Leo, the late Fr. Ken Yarno of Bishop Mac and with Headmaster Larry Sullivan of La Lumiere School. These gentlemen led the herd and protected its flanks – always.  Leading from the front is the action of a true servant.

I was out of the classroom for twenty-two years and when I returned the passive aggressives seemed to dominate.  I went to work as substitute/permanent sub -and at-will, no contract, we can fire without cause, salary saver.

I thought I was part of an old-timey, collegial faculty.  In fact, I was welcomed to the work by the key administrators with all the warmth of a Turk at a christening.

The faculty was very nice. They offered a great deal of help in matters like computer-based learning and scantron testing.

The bosses, not so much.

Wherever passive-aggressives thrive, the culture dies hard.  For years this seemed limited to ‘downtown’ – the educators who mandated directives, issued policy contortions and relayed third-hand dispositions, like “The Cardinal will never agree to that.”

Bob Foster said, “Well then, let’s go and ask His Eminence!” And he did and learned that the Cardinal was in full agreement with Bob Foster.

Today, the Beta primate-in-charge shrugs and smirks in too many Catholic high schools.
I ended my four decades of work in Catholic high schools on January 26, 2018.  Let’s let things go at that.

Safe to say, I walked into a passive-aggressive booby-trap and took the bait.
 I got to get back to fishing; don’t open your mouth and you won’t swallow a hook. The story is sad and sordid.

The day that my position as a substitute teacher was terminated, I applied for work as a laborer on one of the Flood Brothers Disposal Trucks, where my talents would suit the charism of that corporate culture.  I would rather haul trash than teach wonderful young people, while second guessing every assignment, lesson and word that I might dispense.

The school I worked at is staffed by some phenomenal teachers and administered by a passive-aggressive cohort, not unlike the ‘downtown’ crowd of alumnae of closed girls’ schools who dominated the education chancery.

I wondered about that.  Maybe that is all part of the ‘thinking-outside-the-box’ corporate culture that requires no candor and plenty of empty-sizzle- Marketing 101 stuff.

Anyway, I am out of it for keeps.  I loved teaching and the students seemed to appreciate what I was presenting. Now, I am an acquired taste, I know.

What worries me is the rooted nature of Catholic secondary school administrator passive aggression. It will not go away.

It is not only the school for which I last worked but many of them.  There are no leaders like the Father Kens, the Larry Sullivans, or the Bob Fosters.
Brother Rice President Dr. Kevin Burns and Cardinal Cupich

Teachers hunker down and wait for things to pass over, but Catholic schools do not have much time left.

Forbes magazine noted in 2013 that, “ Passive-aggressive behavior in any company is one of the most destructive cancers to a culture that ends up killing both a great company, and the self-esteem of the individuals working there.  “
Forbes offered these signs of the creeping cancer in an organization – Leader(s) who:
on the surface appears to be agreeable and supportive, but behind the scenes will back stab, undercut, and sabotage. 
constantly states that you can trust their words when their actions have consistently shown that not to be true.
makes promises about things when they have no intention of ever following through, often then blaming things that were “out of their control” for precluding them from being able to fulfill their promise.
smiles and agrees with you to your face, but then disagrees or even sabotages things behind your back.
states “I was supportive of you, but this other person wasn’t so there is nothing I can do” in order to place blame on someone else rather than voicing their own lack of support for the matter.
gives positive praise and feedback to you directly, but then takes actions to undercut you to coworkers and management. . . .

Demoralized faculty members are silent at meetings.  Coaches and teachers who had been part of a school’s golden age of recruitment, school spirit and instruction watched their programs, camps, mission goals and successes shoved aside, or dismantled, in favor of new blood that was anemic at best. The mantra now is - "Hey, what’s the big deal? It’s all good!"

Things are not all that good. If enrollment is down, it is not only the latest census figures to blame.  Kids want to go to a school with a sparked-up faculty and leadership that is willing to have the backs of its teachers and students; not merely, complaint department for helicopter parents.

My last lesson to my Theology 3: Social Justice class was this. “We are, who we used to be.  If we do not honor the Bishop Bernard Sheils, Mother Cabrinis and Terence Powderlys, how can we know what the hell Social Justice is all about?”

Likewise, if Catholic schools do not honor Alpha Dog leaders who built our schools, nurtured their traditions and reputations, how will they keep operating?  If I do not remain faithful to the creed that ran my family to America, I must be a Unitarian.

Catholic high schools will go the way of the carburetor, I'm afraid.
Cardinal George and Leo Legend Jack Schaller '43

Cardinal Cupich seems to agree.   Archbishop Blase Cupich is no Francis Cardinal George,

Sour grapes? Oh, hell no.  I had a ball.  The job is about the kids.  If I did a good job, or bad, they tell me.  They are far from Passive Aggressive.   They learn to be Passive Aggressive out in the work-world.

You will never find a Passive-Aggressive type taking out the trash - they send memos to have it done by others.

I am beginning a new career away from Catholic secondary schools.  I have been selling buckets of golf balls at 50 Acre Park in Evergreen Park, since April. On Monday, I begin a new career.

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Old Ranger Saved by The Kubota Whisperer (Gino C) at 50 Acre Park in Evergreen Park

Howdy Folks!  This is the Old Ranger with another true life adventure from 50 Acre Park!  The Old Ranger had a mishap with our trusty Kubota (used to pick up golf balls) and the rake hitch.  The Old Ranger was in a fix and that's darn tootin'!

Well, Mayor Jimmy Sexton hires  great people and I called one up!

Gino C is a Veteran Ranger at 50 Acres Park in Evergreen Park; I called upon Gino to help this Old but Newer Ranger unscrew-up a Kubota Mishap, on Friday morning. Gino lives close to the greatest family resource on the south side - Evergreen Park's 50 Acres Park.

 With Gino's help the Old Ranger soon had the Kubota ( Old #46 Public Vehicle) eating up driving range caviar like  a glutton at Old Country Buffet
 Then the Old Ranger personally washes each and every Wilson, Titleist and Scrub with Twenty Mule Team Borax . . .
 Via the Miracle of of the Wittek Ball Washer.
 The Old Ranger hand separates chopped balls and tosses them out like day old White Castles.
 Our Big Hitters are happ about that!

 Chopped sirloin, chopped liver and chopped chicken salad- GOOD
Chopped Ball - NO GOOD!

Come on out to the Driving Range at 50 Acre Park in Evergreen Park!!!!!! So long, Folks!

Monday, June 11, 2018

CPS Sex Scandal Only The Chorus of Rahm's Lullaby of Barbara Byrdland Bennett

Lullaby of birdland, that's what I
Always hear when you sigh
Never in my wordland
Could there be ways to reveal
In a phrase how I feel
Have you ever heard two turtle doves
Bill and coo when they love?
That's the kind of magic
Music we make with our lips when we kiss -(George Shearing / George David Weiss)

"Emanuel's plan to seek a third term using education as a major cornerstone has been blown out of the water by a scandal that hits home like none before it. This time, children have been directly victimized. And the adults in charge — including the mayor of Chicago — should have protected them. They didn't."  Fran Spielman Chicago Sun Times
 The CPS Sex Scandal is not a tune to  bother Rahm at all, Fran.  not a note of it. If the sex scandal bothered Rahm it would never appear in the Sun Times at all - let alone on front page.  Fran Spielman gets a con su permiso from the 5th Floor and her boss ex-Alderlad Edwin Eisendrath before any ink is spilled.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Bruce Rauner are terrified of the Lullaby of Byrdland.

No not the great Sarah Vaughan's rendition

No, the one that might be sung by -Barbara Byrd Bennett.  Remember Triple B, Citizens?

Where is Rahm's Byrdland?  She was sentenced to 4 1/2 years at Federal Prison Camp, Alderson in West Virginia.  She was succeeded by Forrest Claypool.

For those of us paying attention and not just wildly delighted about much anticipated the 2+ Billion O'Hare Expansion of Terminal # 2, take glance at this:

In April 2015, Byrd-Bennett took a personal leave as Chicago Public Schools CEO during an investigation into a $20.5 million no-bid contract that had been awarded to SUPES Academy, a professional development organization she used to work with as a consultant.[8] She resigned in June 2015.[5]

The indictment against Byrd-BennettIn October, 2015, a federal grand jury in Illinois returned a 23-count indictment against Byrd-Bennett and two co-conspirators.[9][10]
On October 8, 2015, the U.S. Attorney handling the case announced that Byrd-Bennett would plead guilty to charges that she set up a kickback scheme in which she steered no-bid CPS contracts worth more than $23 million to her former employer, SUPES Academy, that would pay her 10 percent of that amount. Her former boss, the owner of SUPES, also promised Byrd-Bennett a job after she left her CPS post, trust accounts funded with $127,000 for each of her twin grandsons,[11] and other perks. It was reported that the U.S. Attorney's office found incriminating evidence against Byrd-Bennett, including an email to the SUPES owner that said, "I have tuition to pay and casinos to visit".[12][13] She had pushed parties aggressively to secure the corrupt deals.[14]
Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty on October 13, 2015, in federal court. In exchange for her cooperation prosecutors agreed to request a sentence of 7 1/2 years in prison, which is below the federal sentencing guidelines. She agreed to delay her sentencing until after the charges against her co-defendants were resolved.[11][6] On April 28, 2017, she was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison.[15]
On August 28, 2017, Byrd-Bennett began serving her sentence at Federal Prison Camp, Alderson, nicknamed "Camp Cupcake", in West Virginia.[16] Wikipedia - the New York Times of Busy (emphases my own) 
 SUPES is  bi-partisan ( Rahm and Rauner) diddling of the taxpayer that makes the current sex scandal sound like an Oscar Wilde tete a tete. 

In 2013, SUPES received a $20 million no-bid contract for principal training that is the focus of the federal probe that has targeted Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who is now on leave from the CEO position. She has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
A source tells Catalyst Chicago that in 2011 and 2012, Byrd-Bennett was paid through the SUPES contract with the Fund to provide coaching for then-Chief Education Officer Noemi Donoso, whose position Byrd-Bennett eventually took over.
The Fund is a politically connected group made up of Chicago’s civic elite. The 15-year-old organization has funded a variety of projects, from a consultant who helped to write a CPS action plan to staff time at the University of Chicago to help develop the current teacher evaluation system called REACH.
In May of 2012, when CPS hired Byrd-Bennett to be the chief education officer, it was widely reported that she had been in Chicago for 10 months doing “executive coaching” and was being paid by the Fund. At the time, the Fund did not refute that, but now officials say that the Fund never paid Byrd-Bennett directly. Chicago Reporter

Twenty million dollars is a nice pile of cash, but compared to the landfill of filthy lucre from which it was spawned.

There is a rumor afoot - eight million dollars of that 20 million is yet unaccounted for - rumor mind you.

Eight millions of dollars!

Where could that wad of dough be yeasting?  My guess is in one of these havens: Caymen Islands, Panama, British West Indies, Nevis, Antigua . . .


Well Barbara Byrd Bennett will be getting out of Camp Cupcake, in almost no time at all, and as the lady sang, " I have tuition to pay and casino's to visit!"

Could it be that Mayor Emanuel is delighted by the fact that CPS hired some nasty sexual predators and career criminals?

Compared to the Lullaby of Barbara Byrd Bennett with full orchestra and Federal audience being played all over Chicagoland, you bet!

Eight million dollars!

No casino needed.

Friday, June 08, 2018

The Old Ranger's Report from 50 Acres Park in Evergreen Park

Howdy, Folks, this is the Old Ranger bringing you our news from the Driving Range at 50 Acres Park in Evergreen Park, Illinois!

Well, Folks, the bucket blasters have been hitting farther down range, now that the weather has turned around -like a Kardashian spouse.

Why only yesterday, I was out at 5:45 AM riding the range on my trusty Kubota Public Works vehicle and learned that:

  • Someone has been hitting all the way out to the 300 yard marker or there abouts.  There were at least two dozen white roundies all nestled in the tall grass
  • Our Bucket Buyers ( $ 5 for small and $ 10 for a large) are Slicers and not Hookers.  Must have been several hundred Titleist pearls hugging the right side range net and I had to dismount the Kubota more times than my old back can tolerate - not complainin' mind you, just sayin'
  • Beer is still $3 for Miller High Life, Miller Lite and $4 for Modelo
  • We have Snickers, Skittles, M & Ms ( plain and peanut), Chips and Slim Jims for measly $1.00 each
  • Hot dogs, chips and a can of Pepsi, Sprite or Water for $ 3.00.
  • A crew of rangers, including yours truly, who serve your desires - Shucks Gino, Frank, Dan, Steve and me would come over and make you breakfast,  if Mayor Jim Sexton gave us the go -ahead.
  • The Disc Golfers are thicker than flies on a used Slo-Poke left on a porch swing
  • Dogs are having more fun than a teenage boy with two . . .paper routes
  • Mr. Kevin Kelly ( Leo HS '70) inspected the facilities and questioned the Old Ranger about his get-up-and-go and that sassy hitch in his step
50 Acres Park is best out door fun on the south side.

Come on out; jaw with us Rangers; visit the horse barn;
hit some of that white range caviar out to the far markers; grab a beer and a pop at our umbrella shaded tables and have some vigorous and healthy exercise!  

Well, I must attach the big rake to my trusty Kubota and clean up the campus.  The Old Ranger needs to  see more of you, Folks!

See you all on the range at 50 Acres Park - 2701 West 91st Street - in Evergreen Park Illinois!