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Matt Farmer
Matt Farmer is a Chicago trial lawyer and barroom singer.

Entries by Matt Farmer

Trump's America

(4) Comments | Posted March 13, 2016 | 1:50 PM

I wasn't able to get to the University of Illinois at Chicago on Friday to "greet" Donald Trump, because I was stuck taking a deposition that had been scheduled weeks earlier.

By the time I made it home, I was able to catch the tail-end of the UIC event on...

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Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer

(11) Comments | Posted January 21, 2016 | 2:46 PM

There was blood in the water at Edison Regional Gifted Center on November 9, 2015.

The Local School Council was holding a special (and sparsely-attended) meeting to discuss its upcoming evaluation of the school's principal, and I was one of the few non-LSC members to show...

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On Hold in the Land of Lincoln

(13) Comments | Posted January 11, 2016 | 11:18 PM

I don't expect my wife or my 13-year-old daughter to know the ID number for our family's current health insurance plan, but I was stunned to learn late Monday afternoon that nobody at Land of Lincoln Health, our new insurance provider, could come up with that basic information.

Should I...

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Lots of Children Left Behind

(0) Comments | Posted December 7, 2015 | 1:04 PM

The natives were restless Thursday night at Audubon Elementary School in Chicago's Roscoe Village neighborhood. Hundreds of them -- Chicago Public Schools parents, teachers and principals -- sat shoulder-to-shoulder on folding chairs in a crowded third-floor gymnasium for a town hall meeting to discuss the financial mess that is CPS.

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And I'm Taking the Kids with Me...

(0) Comments | Posted November 13, 2015 | 11:35 AM

Do you want to rip the heart out of your ex-spouse, who also happens to share with you parental responsibilities for your two small children? Tell him or her that you've decided to move from suburban Chicago to the East Coast and you're going to ask a judge to let...

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Principle-Free Principal Training

(1) Comments | Posted October 16, 2015 | 3:26 PM

Chicago taxpayers undoubtedly slept better this week after being reassured by former Board of Education President David Vitale that they got their money's worth from the now-infamous $20.5 million, no-bid contract between CPS and SUPES Academy.

But what else was Vitale supposed to say about the contract that his board...

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It's Groundhog Day at CPS

(0) Comments | Posted September 17, 2015 | 4:33 PM

An autocratic Chicago mayor strategizes with his trusted Chicago Public Schools CEO (who previously ran the Chicago Transit Authority) about how best to deal with a group of CPS parents and community activists who are putting their bodies on the line outside a historically under-resourced neighborhood school in a protest...

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Constitution Rock

(0) Comments | Posted June 2, 2015 | 12:41 PM

Social studies teachers at Chicago's Darwin Elementary School probably had a blast last month preparing their seventh and eighth-grade students for the state-mandated constitution test.

Let's face it. In this town, test prep material practically writes itself.

I can hear the questions now...

"If former Chicago Public...

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Same Script, Different Scandal

(4) Comments | Posted April 24, 2015 | 10:45 AM

A tenacious journalist does some digging and uncovers highly suspect -- perhaps criminal -- conduct by a top CPS/Chicago Board of Education official.

Board members are unable to cobble together any explanation for the conduct that will pass the straight-face test, despite having a team of well-paid communications specialists at...

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Plutocrat (The Ballad of Bruce Rauner)

(4) Comments | Posted October 23, 2014 | 10:07 AM

What do you give a guy who owns nine homes, made $60 million last year and wants to be governor of Illinois?

I decided to give him the gift of music.

After all, a guy who loves Wrangler jeans and Carhartt coats as much as Bruce Rauner does...

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Don't Sit for the ISAT

(4) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 3:25 PM

When I learned Tuesday that teachers at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood had voted unanimously to refuse to administer the Illinois State Achievement Test (ISAT) to their students over an eight-day period during the first two weeks of March, I was surprised.

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Ranking CPS Schools: It's Easy as 1-2-3

(2) Comments | Posted October 2, 2013 | 2:13 PM

The numbers are in, the spreadsheets have been released, and CPS parents now know whether their kids are currently attending Level 1, 2 or 3 schools.

Whatever that means.

According to CPS, a Level 1 school is a school in "Excellent Standing," a Level 2 school...

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Darwin's Musical Evolution

(0) Comments | Posted September 20, 2013 | 1:35 PM

Segovia said this about music and education:

I deeply believe fine arts training provides a critical platform to help us ensure our students are well-equipped to handle other educational disciplines. Music education, for example, helps to make kids better listeners. It also helps to change their behavior. Art is a...
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Emperor Arne Has No Clothes

(17) Comments | Posted July 19, 2013 | 6:07 PM

It was an "emperor has no clothes" moment in public education, and it took place on July 18 in a federal courtroom in Chicago.

The "emperor" in question was none other than Arne Duncan, who ran Chicago Public Schools from June 2001 to January 2009, at which he time took...

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A Voice I No Longer Hear

(2) Comments | Posted June 17, 2013 | 11:02 AM

I had voices in my head on Father's Day.

And I've got a pretty good ear for voices. Ten seconds into a recording, I can usually tell you that we're listening to Faron Young or Carla Thomas or Jimmy Witherspoon or Shirley...

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Of Rich Dads and iPads...

(24) Comments | Posted April 11, 2013 | 12:17 PM

Question: When is a Chicago elementary school with 23 kids in a classroom not considered by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to be an "underutilized" school?

Answer: When it's his kids' school.

Emanuel plans to close 54 public elementary schools at the end of the 2012-13 school year. The reason, he...

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Is CPS's School Ranking System on the Level?

(6) Comments | Posted December 11, 2012 | 3:32 PM

The mood was somber at Monday night's local school council meeting at Philip Rogers Elementary School in Chicago's West Rogers Park neighborhood. Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett had recently downgraded Rogers (my neighborhood school) from a "Level 1" school to a "Level 2" school, and some of my fellow...

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The War on Chicago Teachers

(28) Comments | Posted October 1, 2012 | 6:45 PM

I understand why Michelle Rhee, in her September 27 op-ed piece in the Washington Post, ignored reality and chose to frame the recent Chicago teachers strike as an epic battle between a heroic mayor fighting on behalf of public school kids and a selfish union boss unconcerned about...

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CPS Gets a Lesson in Social Justice

(20) Comments | Posted September 6, 2012 | 10:45 AM

The suits who run Chicago Public Schools never would have tried the stunts they recently pulled at Chicago's Social Justice High School had it been a largely white, middle-class school on the city's Northwest Side.

In those neighborhoods -- places like Sauganash and Edgebrook -- CPS...

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No Paper Trail at CPS

(10) Comments | Posted August 27, 2012 | 11:59 AM

I'd like to think that the folks who run Chicago Public Schools didn't just decide over a beer one night last spring that it would be a good idea to turn Roberto Clemente High School into a so-called "wall-to-wall" International Baccalaureate high school.

As a taxpayer...

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