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Kenzo Shibata
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Kenzo is a father, activist, and digital strategist living in Chicago.

Entries by Kenzo Shibata

#CancelColbert and the Politics of Being Dismissed

(12) Comments | Posted April 2, 2014 | 4:27 PM

Last Thursday , I came across this tweet from the official account of the Comedy Central show The Colbert Report.

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 2.17.35 PM

It was not something that would have normally entered into my radar since I don't follow...

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Student Performs Breathtaking Tribute to Her Teacher

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2013 | 1:34 PM

Lew Hubbard taught art at William Fremd High School in Palatine, Illinois. He was undoubtedly influential to all of his students, but one in particular -- Maddy Lopez -- was inspired to create great art through his guidance.

Lopez was helping her sister move into her dorm room when...

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It's Time for a Fair Tax in Illinois

(6) Comments | Posted November 5, 2013 | 8:46 AM

In Illinois, we've seen a plethora of attempts to make taxpayers think that the state is broke. Corporate-funded advocacy groups masquerading as think tanks issue report after report claiming that state is broke and advocating for more cuts to the services that benefit working families. They fail to mention that...

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Reflections on the Anniversary of the Chicago Teachers Strike

(3) Comments | Posted September 10, 2013 | 11:22 AM

I was outside the Chicago Teachers Union offices that Sunday night, Sept. 9, 2012 -- camera in hand -- as CTU President Karen Lewis declared to the media,

"Negotiations have been intense but productive, however we have failed to reach an agreement that will prevent a labor strike,"...
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Why Chicago Teachers Support the Fight for a Higher Minimum Wage

(9) Comments | Posted August 23, 2013 | 2:33 PM

A favorite adage of self-styled school reformers is "Your zip code should not determine your destiny." And they're right. However, their narrow vision of school "reform" -- charter schools, fast-track teacher certification programs, and merit pay -- do not address upward mobility.

Research has shown that

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Chicago Loves Its Teachers, Why Doesn't the Mayor?

(14) Comments | Posted July 24, 2013 | 4:30 PM

There is a disconnect between City Hall and the people of Chicago. While Mayor Rahm Emanuel throws millions into pet projects, 3,000 Chicago educators are being laid off. The announcement of these firings was not only devastating to the teachers, clinicians, paraprofessionals and the families they...

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Education Secretary Arne Duncan Offers Righteous Anger but No Solutions to the School Budget Crisis

(10) Comments | Posted July 10, 2013 | 5:51 PM

When class sizes swell to epic proportions and students are forced to use dilapidated textbooks that list George W. Bush as the current president, communities need relief, not platitudes.

When asked about the massive school cuts in Philadelphia, which are on par with those in Chicago, Secretary of Education...

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What's the Plan for Chicago Public Schools? Look No Further Than Detroit

(10) Comments | Posted May 8, 2013 | 9:26 AM

Detroit Public Schools (DPS) "Emergency Manager" Roy Roberts stepped down from his position on May 2. During his announcement, Roberts said that his instructions when he took the job were to "blow up the district and dismantle it."

"Emergency managers" were tasked with fixing local governments...

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Chicago Public Schools and Other People's Children

(1) Comments | Posted April 3, 2013 | 6:14 PM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has a strange habit of hiring people from outside Chicago to run the city of Chicago.

His police chief was from New York.

Both of his appointed schools chiefs were also from New York.

In the days of...

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Chicago Public Schools Banning Books?

(9) Comments | Posted March 16, 2013 | 3:39 PM

An email surfaced recently from a Chicago principal informing his staff that the graphic novel Persepolis has to be pulled from bookshelves per Chicago Public Schools directive. He gave no reason and even admitted that he did not know the reason.

The rhetorical question I heard thrown...

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Chicago Public Schools Thinks 40 Students in a Class Is OK

(26) Comments | Posted March 6, 2013 | 2:47 PM

Illinois State Superintendent of Education Chris Koch wants to repeal class size limits for special education students. This policy change runs counter to the prevailing research that shows class size truly does matter. Koch stated, "Class size is an issue that is best addressed locally."

Although I...

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A Change of Heart on Charters for Alderman Moreno?

(8) Comments | Posted February 15, 2013 | 2:47 PM

Chicago's First Ward Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno was publicly jeered during a school closing hearing in the Logan Square neighborhood. These sham hearings, underwritten by the Walton Family Foundation (a foundation run by the founders of Wal-Mart), are a tool for Chicago Public Schools to sell school closings...

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Digital Exclusion in the Chicago Public Schools

(1) Comments | Posted February 1, 2013 | 3:16 PM

I initially wanted to congratulate Chicago Public Schools on its social media campaign celebrated by Crain's Chicago Business. After a slow start, I was happy to see that my tax dollars were being used to reach out to the community. CPS used Twitter and other web-based tools to...

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Testing Kills the Joy of Teaching and Learning

(50) Comments | Posted January 30, 2013 | 3:42 PM

On the campaign trail in 2000, Texas Governor George W. Bush offered his thoughts on education reform, advocating for more emphasis on assessment. Governor Bush, who later as president signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) came out hard against the status quo with his...

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Chicago Teachers Give Alderman Moreno a Lesson in Democracy

(1) Comments | Posted September 20, 2012 | 6:18 PM

I am a resident of the Chicago's First Ward, which means my representative on City Council is "Hipster" Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno. I was quite disappointed early this week to read an email sent from his office admonishing members of Chicago Teachers Union in their fight for better...

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Charter School Profiteer Attempts to Swiftboat Chicago Teachers Union

(12) Comments | Posted September 6, 2012 | 10:06 AM

Slick politicians know very well that it is best to use "proxies" to divide a community. Proxies are people who can say the things leaders cannot say. Remember the "Swiftboat Veterans for Truth" campaign that was launched during the 2004 presidential election? The GOP used a group of...

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The Battle of Chicago Teachers Union Vs. Out-of-Town Billionaires

(15) Comments | Posted August 22, 2012 | 11:32 AM

In a recently released video, Chicago Teachers Union shows the games played by wealthy elites to smear the Union in the midst of heated contract negotiations. Chicago Teachers Union has maintained that it will not bargain in the press over a fair contract, but associates of Mayor Rahm...

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Unless the Board of Education Gets Serious, Chicago Educators May Need to Strike

(11) Comments | Posted August 14, 2012 | 6:02 PM

My years as a Chicago Public Schools teacher gave me a very unique view of the system. I plan on sending my child to CPS schools, but with some reservation. I know how abusive the system can be to its employees and how that can affect the overall school climate....

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Teach for America: What's the Purpose?

(116) Comments | Posted August 2, 2012 | 3:29 PM

Before you read on, I have to warn you. This piece is not a critique of Teach for America. It's merely a question.

The two-year program that places recent college graduates into teaching positions at urban schools was initially started to fix a teaching shortage....

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Mayor Emanuel, Don't Change the Rules When You Don't Like the Score

(47) Comments | Posted July 19, 2012 | 11:08 AM

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Chicago cannot afford to give its public school teachers an 18.2 percent pay raise, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday, dismissing a fact finder's report as "not tethered to reality."

Emanuel all but dismissed the work of arbitrator of Edwin H. Benn and...

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