SUBSCRIPT: Performance Management Princess goes AWOL on Gillespie

…One of the signal moments of the February 4, 2010 performance hearing against Gillespie Elementary School was that the Performance Princess went AWOL. During the first eight hearings, based on her straight faced version of The Matrix, CPS Chief Officer (Performance Management) sat in the corner, huddled behind two members of the Board of Education doing her e-mail, texting, and apparently playing computer solitaire while her latest victims marched in front of the “Board of Education” to refute her Data Driven Management fantasies and plead for mercy.

It must have been a high. So high and intensely adrenalined, in fact, that when the “turnaround” victims from Gillespie Elementary School showed up on Thursday evening, February 4, Sarah Kremsner, the head of performance for Ron Huberman, just said “No” and was elsewhere for the night.

What a career!

Eighteen months earlier, Sarah Kremsner was calculating “performance” for bus routes at the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority). Then the Obama Dream took over, Arne Duncan went to Washington, and the Imperial Mayor tapped the CTA for the talent to manage the city’s schools. Voila! The Performance Princess became and expert on all things school, and suddenly every principal and “leadership team” had to show up for a “Performance Management” visit like something straight out of “The Wire” (only without management knowing something about the praxis of the reality; at least in “The Wire” Comstat commanders knew police work…).

Anything’s possible once you go through the Looking Glass into the fantasy world of the Chicago Miracle Management School Reform team. Well, anyway, Ms. Kremsner may not know anything about statistics or psychometrics, let alone about the complex realities of educating human children in the real gritty world of Chicago. But she has the one degree that counts most in Chicago’s schools today: not a PhD, EdD, or even an MA, say, in teaching. No: The degree of choice today is that new “CTA”.

Where was the Performance Princess on February 4? Not at the Board listening to the pleadings of Gillespie. But her work was at work, every time dirty data and pretentious nonsense was unloaded on the heads of the schools teachers, principal, kids, and community. We’re certain that the two members of the Chicago Board of Education there that night missed that big AWOL. After all, once they appointed her to that $150,000-a-year job as overseeing of all the field slaves in the CPS schools, the Board just smiled and watched the system at work…


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