SUBSCRIPT: With Barbara Eason Watkins being purged, Huberman has eliminated almost all the teachers and principals left at the central office of America's third largest public school system

... How to describe the Hubercrowd now Huberizing Chicago's public schools? One way is with a new verb: "Huberized." "Overpaid and undercompetent" doesn't do them justice; these guys and gals are unprecedented in the ways they insult everyone who cares about classrooms and kids. If you go to the CPS website, you can learn a lot about the bankers and businessmen who comprise the Chicago Board of Education, but you'll learn nothing about Huberman and his top staff. Why? Because they have no business running a school system, except in Chicago where the word of a tyrannical mayor is the last word on everything about Chicago's public schools.

In our more than 40 years of covering public education in Chicago, we've never seen anything as cynical, incompetent, and greedy as this bunch. I know. I know. Barbara Eason Watkins is leaving to pursue other interests. Just like David Pickens. And more than a dozen other people who had some chalk dust in their histories. Meanwhile, every overpaid and undercompetent patronage person (at $100,000 or more per year) who came over from CTA, CPD, or City Hall with Huberman during the past year is still drawing executive level salaries, starting, of course, with Ron Huberman himself. All the silly hagiographic nonsense in Chicago Magazine (August 2009) and all the ignorance coming from the Sun-Times and Tribune about the "deficit" nowadays can't hide the fact that Ron Huberman is the most incompetent person who has ever been put in charge of Chicago's public schools, and just to rub it in he's surrounded himself with dozens of equal and lesser lights.

For nearly ten years, Barbara Eason-Watkins (above at podium) provided the thin patina of legitimacy to half of Chicago's citizens as Mayor Daley, Arne Duncan, and others produced an ever expanding record of atrocities against public education in general and Chicago's African American community in particular. Above, she explained the test scores that had gone "up" for Mayor Daley at a September 15, 2008 media event at Chicago's Ella Flagg Young school. Of the five people in the above photograph, come summer only Richard M. Daley will remain with power over Chicago's public schools. Arne Duncan (left) was catapulted into national power when Barack Obama appointed him U.S. Secretary of Education in January 2009. Alderman Isaac Carothers (behind Eason-Watkins) is awaiting sentencing and has been stripped of his City Council seat after a guilty plea for taking bribes. Ginger Reynolds (far right) who served as chief of "accountability" and helped destroy more than 30 public schools in 2008 and 2009 was fired by CPS shortly after Daley appointed Ron Huberman from the Chicago Transit Authority to be Chief Executive Officer at CPS. Critics say that as long as Daley can get away with any insult to Chicago's citizens — and find men and women like Barbara Eason-Watkins to do his bidding — his power is secure. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. Over the next two weeks, we'll be profiling many of them at Substance (print) and here at Only in Chicago could this crew get away with this much atrocity with no major public outcry. While the Tribune continues promoting charter schools, the Civic Committee agenda to bust unions and privatize everything, and just about every nutsy right wing thing, Huberman gets a free ride. Even Colonel McCormick had more journalistic principles than this crowd. For those who want to keep sharing the insider details (but not here at SubstanceNews), you can always reach us by phone at 773-725-7502 or by e-mail at Csubstance @ What a year...


April 23, 2010 at 3:08 PM

By: Carlos Martinez


I'm retiring this June, old friend. Need an occasional writer these days?

April 23, 2010 at 8:06 PM

By: Jay Rehak

It's Substance and the Reader

If it weren't for Substance and Ben Jarovsky at the Reader, the public would never know what's going on in the Chicago Public schools. My question is this: why is any Chicago teacher buying the Chicago Tribune? It seems pretty clear that the Trib, having destroyed its own employee pension system, is now going after the public sector as hard as it can. I think its time teachers fought back by using their collective economic strength and boycotted the Tribune. To paraphrase Mike Royko, "No self-respecting fish would be caught wrapped up in the Tribune."

April 24, 2010 at 7:24 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Boycott Tribune 'properties' -- including WGN

If teachers and others are serious about a boycott, now that the Cubs have been freed from the clutches of the Tribune, the boycott should include all Tribune properties. That includes WGN and the media properties elsewhere in the USA. However, the Sun-Times under its new ownership is, if anything, worse, and soon to be worse still. The last time the Tribune broke a strike (and unions) was nearly 30 years ago. The new owner of the Sun-Times worked overtime, as head of the Colleges Board, to destroy the Cook County College Teachers Union. And he is obviously now making sure that the "news" published in the Sun-Times follows Chicago's corporate party line.

April 24, 2010 at 10:14 PM

By: Jean Schwab


I was surprised to see John Kugler on the news last week. does anyone have any comments?

April 29, 2010 at 7:10 PM

By: Retired Principal

Buying the Tribune

Jay, you keep your friends close but your enemies even closer. That's why you buy the Tribune!

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