Brewing Controversy? ChiTrib Leaves Out Duncan Mention in Espressos-for-Schools Story
A bureaucrat serving under Obama Education Secretary-designate Arne Duncan spent $70,000 on espresso machines for Chicago's school system, according to a January 7 report in the Chicago Tribune. Of course, Duncan's name was not mentioned and his ties to the incoming presidential administration were left out of the 13-paragraph story:
One Chicago Public Schools manager must have really been jonesing for a cup of coffee when officials say she spent nearly $70,000 of the district's money to buy 30 cappuccino/espresso machines for a high school program.
But five months after the machines were purchased, 22 remained unopened, one disappeared and three were being used at two schools—though not in the culinary arts program for which they were intended, the district's inspector general said Tuesday.
Officials in a department dealing with work-school programs allegedly separated the purchases to make them appear they came from 21 different schools and were under $10,000.
Back in December, Arne Duncan was tapped by President-elect Obama to serve, if confirmed, as the federal Secretary of Education. Of course, Duncan cannot be personally culpable for all misconduct in Chicago public schools on his watch, but he certainly is responsible for scandals happening on said watch. What's more, given the nature of the expense and Duncan's nomination to head a major federal agency, wouldn't mentioning the connection be newsworthy?
Back in December I noted how the Washington Post ignored a controversy involving Duncan's support of a gay/lesbian high school:
The controvery over the proposed Social Justice Solidarity High School -- which was scrapped in a November 18 school board vote -- was completely left unmentioned although as Brad Haynes of the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog reported yesterday [Dec. 16, 2008]:
Duncan’s openness to new ideas caused a stir in Chicago just last month when he proposed a high school designed for gay students. Aimed at keeping students from being bullied and ostracized, Duncan pitched the idea of an explicitly gay-friendly school, where half of the students were expected to identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
The proposal met with misgivings from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley – traditionally an advocate for gay and lesbian issues – as well as ministers, gay activists and social conservatives opposed to segregating gay students.
As the school board’s Nov. 18 vote approached, designers of the Social Justice Solidarity High School tried to broaden its mission, pitching the campus as a refuge for bullied youths in general and removing references to sexual orientation in the proposal. But they withdrew their proposal at the last minute, pledging to return with another version of the plan in time for an opening in the fall of 2010.