It’s a cold and gray Chicago afternoon. Other than raindrops falling from the sky instead of snowflakes, it’s nothing unusual for a February afternoon. It’s days like these when I’m happy to have a DVD player. I’ve been keeping myself entertained while I did some cleaning by watching Season 1 of Paper Chase.
The Paper Chase was a movie that came out in 1973 and launched acting teacher John Houseman into celebrity status with his terrifying performance as Harvard Law School professor Charles Kingsfield. He reprised that role in the late 70s and 80s in The Paper Chase television show on CBS, PBS, and Showtime. I actually prefer the series to the movie. With more time to explore him, Housemann makes Kingsfield into a more three dimension human being.
As he scowls and leads his students through the Socratic method, Kingsfield teacher his students about life, but also about contract law. Time and again he lectures to his young charges about the importance of keeping your word and how contracts civilize us and lead from conflict to cooperation. Sadly, Houseman died in 1988 at 86 years old. Unfortunately, we really could use him to lecture the Illinois General Assembly about contracts right about now.
“By legal definition, a contract is “an agreement creating obligations enforceable by law.” The law provides remedies if a promise is breached or recognizes the performance of a promise as a duty. Contracts arise when a duty does or may come into existence because of a promise made by one of the parties. To be legally binding as a contract, a promise must be exchanged for adequate consideration. Adequate consideration is a benefit or detriment that a party receives which reasonably and fairly induces them to make the promise/contract. (Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School). Accordingly, the State of Illinois has a long list of antedated court rulings upholding the rights and benefits (contracts) of its public employees.”
““\This crisis was manufactured, and decisions are being made based on incorrect and incomplete financial, enrollment, and utilization data,” Leonard said, pointing to the newly disclosed budget surplus – and the revelation that CPS enrollment actually increased by 1,000 students this year.”
“You should be working with us to make [community schools] better, not closing them down,” said a mother of students at Telpochcalli School, an arts-focused public school in the nearby neighborhood of Little Village. “Where’s [Mayor] Rahm Emanuel? He wants charter schools. He should be here telling us from his heart to our faces why he wants these charter schools…Why?”
From the crowd, voices yelled out, “Money!” “His rich friends!”