Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Arne Duncan asked if he supports investigation of embattled Illinois nonprofit

9/2/06: Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer, Arne Duncan, received his second sponsorship award from the Save A Life Foundation (SALF)...Duncan was moved by SALF’s efforts to train 67,000 schoolchildren under his command stating, “I really appreciate the skills SALF is teaching the students of Chicago.” Duncan holds SALF’s Founder and CEO, Carol Spizzirri in the highest regard, stating, “Carol is one of my heroes.” (source)
Two months later....

"The Maneuver Part I" by Chuck Goudie, ABC7 11/16/06

Today Michigan educator Michael Paul Goldenberg asked US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan if he supports my request for an  investigation into what happened to $49,000 he awarded to the Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF).

Goldenberg, who lives in Ann Arbor, copied me on his open letter to Duncan which is posted on his blog, Rational Mathematics Education.

For supporting documents, Goldenberg linked to my web page, Did Arne Duncan unknowingly help a bogus nonprofit rip off $174,000 from the Chicago Schools & McDonald's Charities?

From his letter to Secretary Duncan, here's the beef (links and emphasis added):
You'll recall that SALF's charter was to provide in-class first aid training to students. According to an October 11, 2009 Chicago Tribune article, SALF founder/president Carol J. Spizzirri claimed “2 million children took the classes, many of them from the Chicago Public Schools.”

...In response to a federal court subpoena and FOIA requests, the only records produced by CPS indicate that at best a few dozen students ever participated in SALF training classes. As result, Chicago Schools Inspector General James M. Sullivan has been asked to investigate what happened to approximately $62,000 CPS awarded to SALF, most of which was arranged by you. 

Records show that you contracted with Spizzirri to provide first-aid training for approximately 18,000 students from 2004-2006. You signed off on $49,000 in CPS funds and Ronald McDonald House Charities provided an additional $125,000, making a total of $174,000 paid to SALF for what appears to be a program that never happened.

Given the facts, do you think Inspector General Sullivan should proceed with an investigation? And would you co-operate with such an investigation?
Shortly after I received my copy of his letter, Goldenberg forwarded this to me:
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2011 06:33:07 -0500
From: "Duncan, Arne" <>
Subject: RE: Information request re: Save-A-Life Foundation
To: Michael Paul Goldenberg <>

Dear Mr. Goldenberg:

Thank you for your e-mail to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. We appreciate hearing from you.

Your message has been forwarded to the appropriate staff member for review.

Thank you again for contacting us.


Edgar Mayes
Director of Correspondence and Communications Control Unit
Office of the Secretary
U.S. Department of Education
Washington, DC 20202
Will Duncan take any responsibility for what may be a six-figure rip-off of public and private dollars that he unknowingly facilitated?

If so, he'll be a standout among this bipartisan gallery of Illinois elected officials who helped award almost $9 million in state and federal funds to SALF and/or promoted the organization. All are aware of the concerns surrounding SALF. None have managed to find the resolve to request investigations.

Click the links for details. Click here for photos.
US Sen. Dick Durbin (link, link)
US Sen. Mark Kirk (link)
US Rep. John Shimkus (link)
US Rep. Jan Schakowsky (link)
US Rep. Tim Johnson (link)
IL Sen. Emil Jones Jr., retired (link)
IL Sen. Donne Trotter (link)
IL Sen. Raymond Poe (link)
Re: Goldenberg's letter, I'll be following up and will post any interesting developments here.

Until then, bear this in mind:
The coach, as a leader, has to take personal responsibility - Arne Duncan (source)

6/1/11 letter to Arne Duncan e: Save-A-Life Foundation from Michael Paul Goldenberg