Fallen UNO Chief Points to New Charter Path
By Jim Vail
The recent and abrupt resignation of Juan Rangel as the head of UNO Charter Schools, the biggest charter operator in the city, was a necessary step in the corporate takeover of public education.
Rangel, who operated 16 charter schools throughout the city and served as a close confidant to both the current and former mayors, was not a good image of what privatization should be.
Rangel took the hit this past year when the public found out he was awarding state bids to build new schools to family members of the chairman of the UNO board of directors.
Not to mention he had three family members working in his charter empire. This is called nepotism in the public schools and would be illegal.
Rangel followed disgraced Aspira Charter head Jose Rodriguez who was also given the ax by his board of directors. Rodriguez had big contacts at city hall to run a powerful Puerto Rican charter operation despite anyone who cared about education and knew who he was warning that Aspira-run schools would be a disaster.
I documented in Substance News how Aspira strip searched its students, outraged parents enough that they started a blog to try to get rid of Rodriguez, and fired whistle blowers who exposed their corrupt practices.
Like Rangel, Rodriguez was paid a shit load of money - more than the head of the Chicago Public Schools - and hired a whole bunch of his family members.
The luster of charters being the panacea of fixing public education has pretty much faded away.
That doesn't mean Gates and corporate cash will dry up any time soon in trying to totally drown public education and create private managers to steal whatever tax payer money it can.
But corrupt hacks like Rangel and Rodriguez had to go.
Kind of reminds me of the transformation of the mafia in Russia during the wild '90s when I reported there.
You would see these thugs in track suits and thick necks zooming around the city in dark sedans.
That style was eventually replaced by dark handsome men in Armani suits carrying briefcases, with governments posts and visions of western capitalistic terms like transparency and accountability dancing in their heads.
The mafia merely became the government and corporate directors of today, who continue to loot the country, except now it's "legal."
Well, the same could be said about the rough transformation of privatizing public education here. These low life creatures are now turning into pinstriped Turkish technological cults and corporate entities with power point presentations and curriculum fairs dancing in their heads, hell bent on destroying public education.
Out with the old, and in with the new.
As the old saying goes - the more things change, the more it stays the same.