Wednesday, June 4, 2008

O.N.E. Protests At Alderman Smith's Home

From ABC 7 Chicago:
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Hundreds of North Side residents held a vigil Monday night outside Alderman Mary Ann Smith's home.

They're fighting her plans for Senn High School.

The group, Organization of the Northeast says the plan would keep many neighborhood kids out of Senn and make it less diverse.

Smith has proposed turning the high school into four separate academies. Smith says only the college prep school would have selective enrollment. The others would accept any student living in the Senn community.
The group left a letter on Smith's door.

"We are tired of the alderman saying she wants to better the school. But who does she want to better the school for? She doesn't want to better it for everybody," said Brian Roa, Senn teacher.

"We really don't want Senn to turn into a place where you have to apply to get into it. It should be a community school that everyone in the community can go to," said Cassandra Chen, ONE supporter.

The group says they would like Smith to work with them on a plan for the school.


  1. These are the same pieces of shit that protest the Rickover Naval Academy by handing out their childish screeds in front of the Senn campus every month.

    I'm unfathomably embarassed that my parish is affiliated with O.N.E. and that several active parishoners are members of this "Save Senn" group of bullshit artists.

  2. And how many people at ONE send their kids to Senn?

  3. God bless Alderman Smith understanding great schools are a major part of healthy vibrant communities.

    Good schools give kids opportunity for a good future out of poverty.

    And we have Uplift with the mural wall and kids roiting along Wilson.

  4. Bad schools are one of the main reasons people move to the suburbs. I think we have all seen the cycle: move to city after college, get married, have a kid, move to burbs. Schools that will keep people from fleeing to the burbs are a key ingrediant in helping Chicago becoming more diverse.

  5. Well, this is certainly an interesting development.

    That looks like Fr. Grassi, the pastor at St. Gertrude's on the right in that picture.

    St. Gertrude's is a member of a coalition of Catholic parishes that operate the Northside Catholic Academy, a preschool through 8th grade private Catholic school with two campuses.

    As pastor of St. Gertrudes, where the preschool through 5th grade campus operates, I believe he sits on the board of the school.

    So my question is: why is an executive member of a private school so actively interested in maintaining the failed status quo of a middling public high school?

    After examining the NCA website, it lists many "top area high schools" that graduates go on to attend. Senn isn't on the list.

    What a surprise.

  6. I'm unfathomably embarrassed that my parish is affiliated with O.N.E.

    If you look at the roster, many parishes belong to O.N.E. This probably goes back to the days when O.N.E. was much better integrated into the community and when the block clubs were members as well. Is there any chance that a movement could come afoot in order to get these parishes and other groups that really don't fit with O.N.E.'s tactics to cease being members? I am not suggesting that these parishes should cease their interest in the homeless, the poor and other topics related to human dignity but being a member of O.N.E. is increasingly out of step with the level of respect that the surrounding community wishes its community organizations to display.

  7. Here are some quotes from

    It is VERY interesting that they are calling Alderman Smith "undemocratic," secretative and a liar. Having played the game on the other side of the fence, it is surprising that these protestors would be outraged if these are, in fact, some of the tactics that Smith and Daley are employing.


    "Save Senn in particular objects to this naval military academy being part of the recruitment efforts to get more students into the military to fight the illegal and unjust wars of the U.S. government; the recruitment rate of students who are in such military programs is over 40%. Speaking of the navy– It is now a more and more dangerous branch to serve in: Right now the U.S. government is threatening Iran with the possibility of a military attack, with half of the naval fleet stationed right off the shore of Iran. Navy personnel are being used as ground soldiers in the illegal and unjust U.S. occupation of Iraq."

    "[Smith] wants to kick out the type of students attending our school and replace them with “higher class” students. The Naval Academy would stay of course! Senn is not the first school to be attacked. This is part of Mayor Daley’s Renaissance 2010 plan. Many schools, like Austin and Englewood High Schools have already been shut down. More will be threatened. Help us stop gentrification and the destruction of public education in Chicago! Our school serves Blacks, Latin@s, Asians and immigrants from all over the world. Our school has students from over 70 countries! Alderman Smith wants to change that. WE WILL NOT LET HER!"

  8. Ah, yes. Let's remove that pesky barrier of competition for the little ones, shall we?

    No need in making kids (and parents) work for something when the powers that be can be bullied into just giving it away.

    It'll be just like real life.

    No, wait.

    It wouldn't be and we'd be sending a terrible message to future generations that instead of having to work hard to get ahead, you can simply temper-tantrum your way into a decent job ... or, just cry when they discover that they are woe-fully unprepared for the real world.

  9. The Navy also provides disaster support services after tsunamis. It protects US citizens abroad (ie - Marines pulling people out of Lebanon in '05), not to mention that whole issue of protecting our country.

    A lot of good men and women come out of the Navy (and the armed services). A lot of poor, under-privileged kids (myself included) used the military to pay for college and get a leg up.

    And most, when they get out, are much better people. Respectful and disciplined.

    Military academies aren't evil (unless, of course, you have some agenda).

    That Save Senn quote has less to do with the betterment of children than it does someone spouting off anti-military (and be extension, anti-US government) BS.

    We need the military, and we need academies to generate the future leaders of such.

    What we don't need are a bunch of whiny leftist mutten-heads telling us how to raise our children, and limiting our options to that effect.

  10. protesting in front of the alderman's home is over the line

  11. Here is Smith's take on how the Naval Academy was approved for Senn. (From the Windy City Times.)

    "After discussing the program and consulting the community—and the most active people at the time were the committee—and getting the consent of the community, then I consented. Judy Hernandez, the principal of Senn, by the way, sat in my living room and welcomed the naval academy. While she said later that she did not consent, she actually had—and in the presence of several others. It was a very open discussion, because who cares? If the neighborhood didn’t want it, no problem. However, once it had been discussed and put into motion, that was it. As we got into deeper discussions about curriculum, it became obvious that it was a terrific opportunity for some students. The naval academy now has the best attendance rate in the city of Chicago. I’ve gotten calls from people who said they initially opposed the academy but now they see how happy the students are."

  12. What a bunch of bullies and thugs. And they call themselves "community members". Nice "community" you are creating. Invading the privacy of the Alderman's home is thuggish and I hope the parishes that support this kind of action are reading this.

  13. The Reader did a story about Senn High/Naval Academy controversy a few years ago. In the article they mentioned that Chicago Public Schools had originally targeted Joan Arai School for the Naval Academy, but Shiller wouldn't allow it in her ward. Look what we got instead!

  14. Here is the list of O.N.E.'s member congregations & member businesses:


    Agudas Achim Northshore Congregation
    All Saints Episcopal Church
    Breakthrough Urban Ministries
    Cambodian Buddhist Association
    Chicago Uptown Ministry
    Cornerstone Community Outreach
    Ebenezer Lutheran Church
    Emmaus Ministries
    Episcopal Church of the Atonement
    Epworth United Methodist Church
    Immanuel Lutheran Church
    North Shore Baptist Church
    Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church
    Peoples Church
    St. Gertrude's Catholic Church
    St. Ignatius Catholic Church
    St. ltas Catholic Church
    St. Jerome's Catholic Church
    St. Mary of the Lake Church
    Uptown Baptist Church
    United Church of Roger's Park


    ACTA Publications
    Bridgeview Bank Group
    Broadway Bank
    Broadway Merchants Association
    Chicago Community Development Corp.
    Newcastle, Ltd.
    Northside Community Federal Credit Union
    North Side Federal Savings & Loan Association of Chicago
    Advocate Illinois Masonic
    St. Augustine College
    Uptown Service Station, Inc.
    Uptown Chamber of Commerce
    US Bank
    Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hospital

  15. Senn's Last Stand

    Mayor Daley thinks a naval academy at the school would be just fine. Guess that's the end of that discussion.

    Ben Joravsky, December 17, 2004

    Last spring the navy offered the school system $2.1 million to create a naval academy on the north side, and the system, hard up for funds, accepted. At first school officials came up with a logical location--the Arai school on Wilson near Broadway, which the board was shutting down. But 46th Ward alderman Helen Shiller said she didn't want it there. So Duncan took the idea of putting it in Senn, at 5900 N. Glenwood, to 48th Ward alderman Mary Ann Smith, who eagerly endorsed it even though the academy would take over a third of the building.

  16. School for Sale

    When the navy came knocking with more than $2 million, the Board of Ed decided Senn High School would be a great place to install a military academy. But teachers, parents, and students there didn't see it that way.

    Ben Joravsky, October 15, 2004

    Senn wasn't the first place board members thought of when the navy offered them $2.1 million to set up an academy. They did want to put it somewhere on the north side, because the west side already had an academy and the south side had two. (Students must apply for entry.) Their first choice was Arai, a middle school at 900 W. Wilson. That made sense because the board is phasing it out as a middle school and plans to turn it into some kind of high school by the fall of 2006. "Obviously," says David Pickens, a deputy to schools CEO Arne Duncan, "it would minimize displacement."

    But Arai is in the 46th Ward, and the alderman, Helen Shiller, didn't want a military school in her ward. Why isn't clear; Shiller hasn't returned my calls.

  17. I don't know what makes me laugh more that Ben Joravsky didn't know why Shiller didn't want a naval academy in her public school or that she didn't return his calls. And, doesn't he write nice things about her at election time too?? it makes me think---does he actually know her or does he just like the idea of her?

    Anywhoo...Shiller being against the naval academy at Arai is one of Shiller's decisions that I can actually understand. Usually, it is an effort to decipher her logic but this one is totally in line with her own track record, ideology, etc, etc. The decision wasn't warped and twisted in some way and even though there is bound to be some controversy on something like this, her decision is one that could be supported by otherwise reasonable people. Wow. Shocker.

  18. A protest at an alderbeast's home is wrong. At the very least the neighbors of the aldercreatures deserve some privacy.

    A protest such as that could have been held at Senn or the Alderdummies City office.

    These folks are idiots.

  19. And did anyone see ONE out there on Clean and Green day planting trees and picking up garbage? Nope. They aren't a community group. They are just an activist group that tries to pose as the representatives of this community.

  20. Activists used to protest in front of the gates of Mayor Daley's townhome complex on the near South side before he moved to a highrise overlooking Millenium Park.

  21. ONE's religious members get funding to run shelters and other programs for low income persons. They have a vested interest in keeping Uptown as the base of their operations. Shiller has allowed Uptown to be their low-cost "anything goes" operational center where no ordinances or laws have to be followed. They are hardly disinterested parties or just representatives of their religions. They will fight to the end to keep a no-standards and low-standards operational base.

  22. Is that the rabbi from Agudas Achim in the center of the photo?

  23. I'd like Rickover to completely take over the Senn campus.

    Who's home do I have to protest outside of to get that to happen?

  24. Shiller will never let anyone else into Joan Arai - now Uplift School. Using David Taylor and Karen Sandler she has been bleeding that budget to pay her patronage army for years.

  25. Hey,Anonymous, you bitch about Joan Arai School but I wonder if you have a clue what is there:
    Teachers who are around long before and long after school hours. Teachers who actually want to communicate with parents and give out their phone numbers and email contacts. Band-many schools don't even have any band instruments. A clinic-not a "nurse's office" but a clinic. A dedicated principal and staff who are actually DEALING WITH a very high number of special needs students. An actual college prep curiculum.--All things that make a better experience for public school students that live in Uptown and nearby and as a result improve the neighborhood.

  26. In addition to being an Uptown resident and a daily UU reader, I'm a teacher at the Naval Academy.

    "As we got into deeper discussions about [Rickover's] curriculum, it became obvious that it was a terrific opportunity for some students. The naval academy now has the best attendance rate in the city of Chicago. I’ve gotten calls from people who said they initially opposed the academy but now they see how happy the students are."

    You're exactly right. One of those individuals was Judge Fink.

    Rickover provides a lot for its students, specifically a rigorous college preparatory education and various leadership opportunities.

    I'm lucky to have the opportunity to teach there and it's a shame that these ONE protesters feel a need to heckle and harass our student body.

    Rickover does a great job preparing its students for the future and is NOT simply a military recruitment station. It's one of CPS' best high schools.

  27. Yeh, I know what goes on there. I know that a registered child sex predator lived immediately next door to your school campus and not one principal, teacher, security staff or volunteer was interested in doing one damned thing about it.

    I believe it was me who got him moved. So much for your concern about the children.

  28. Therese Quinn has a cogent letter to the editor in the News-Star for anyone who wants to read it. O.N.E. protesting at an Alderman's home is a bit extreme but the underlying issues of this story are complex and deserve a bit more attention from members of this community. Check it out and decide for yourself.

  29. I know. Retiring State Senator Carol Ronen just stole $1.5 million from taxpayers with her 8-week pay bump scheme with Gov. Blogo. And Art Berman, her predecessor, raked in about triple that using the same scheme.

    How about having O.N.E picket their homes and have them donate that tax payer money to O.N.E causes? Then they can go build an O.N.E. addition onto SENN and everyone will be happy.

  30. That list of churches/businesses is pretty old. I know personally of at least one church that is missing, and having attended a few meetings of ONE, very few of those churches are active nor were many of them represented at the convention that preceded the vigil.