Dear Member of the
International Olympic Committee:
|One of the mail points in our case against Chicago hosting the 2016 Olympics is that the city is terribly corrupt. Decisions about city policies and city projects are made not to ensure the highest quality but to ensure the highest profits and favors for the Mayor's friends and colleagues.It seems that everything in this city is for sale or subject to influence peddling. Now we learn that our public schools are being investigated by federal law enforcement officials for corruption. Federal investigation targets Chicago Public Schools Subpoena comes on heels of internal investigation of admissions practices at magnet, gifted and selective centers
By Stephanie Banchero and Azam Ahmed
Chicago Tribune Reporters - August 2, 2009
authorities have launched an investigation into the admissions
practices at Chicago's selective enrollment schools, the Chicago
Tribune has learned.
Federal officials recently served a grand jury subpoena on Chicago
Public Schools seeking information about the admissions process,
sources said. Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott
confirmed Saturday that the district recently received a federal
subpoena, but declined to elaborate because of the investigation.
The federal investigation comes as Chicago school officials launched an
internal probe of admissions practices at highly competitive selective
enrollment schools after finding irregularities at some schools.
The district's law department noticed problems with the high school
admissions process two months ago, school sources said. Last month,
schools chief Ron Huberman announced the start of an internal probe of
all 52 application-based elementary and high schools, citing an
unspecified problem at one high school.
The announcement came a week after the Tribune began making inquiries
into the admissions process. After the Tribune wrote about the federal
probe Saturday, Mayor Richard Daley spoke out against any use of unfair
influence in the admissions process, but said he has no idea if clout
actually factored into enrollment decisions.
Daley said he is confident that Huberman is effectively investigating
any problems. "No one should use money or clout or influence to get
their child into any school," the mayor said at a news conference on an
unrelated event on the South Side.
The U.S. attorney's office declined to comment.
The subpoena to the Chicago school system comes against a backdrop of a
federal investigation into admission practices at Illinois universities.
Federal prosecutors subpoenaed three state universities, including the
University of Illinois, seeking any evidence that former Gov. Rod
Blagojevich and his power brokers gave applicants an unfair edge. The
federal probe came after a Tribune investigation uncovered that U. of
I. gave special treatment to applicants with powerful patrons such as
lawmakers, donors and trustees.
Competition to get into the city's premier selective enrollment schools
is fierce. Thousands of students apply for hundreds of openings at the
schools considered the crown jewels of the city's public school system.
Entry into the magnet schools is supposed to be through randomized
lottery. Admission to selective enrollment high schools and gifted
elementary centers is supposedly based on merit.
The district has long allowed magnet school principals to handpick up
to 5 percent of their students. Last year, they extended that right to
principals at the nine selective enrollment high schools, even though
some principals acknowledged they were already doing it. The principals
can consider only extenuating circumstances such as a special talent or
family crisis, not the applicants' political ties.
But whispers have long swirled that some students get spots in
these top-flight schools not by chance or merit, but by whom their
parents know or how much money they make.
The principal selection practice has generated much of the
controversy, as many parents argue that unqualified applicants are