It's hardly a secret that Chicago public schools chief executive Arne Duncan was the architect behind a failed plan to open a "gay-friendly" high school in the Windy City. But for some reason Washington Post staffer Maria Glod decided to keep that skeleton in the closet, leaving the fact out completely from her page A3 December 17 story, "Education Pick Is Called 'Down-to-Earth' Leader."
Glod set out in her 22-paragraph article to portray Duncan as an education reformed well-respected by both Democrats and Republicans and even garnering begrudging respect and even some allies among teachers unions and school bureaucrats who were at first wary of him.
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:
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.