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SUBSCRIPT: 'Network' maps — and the whole 'Network' and 'Chiefs of Schools' notion — shows the absolute incompetence of Jean-Claude Brizard and his 'team' of overpaid and undercompetent MBAs and other mercenary bureacurats

As those who following the expensive, mercenary and Byrantine meanderings of management at America's third largest school system know, this year "Chicago Public Schools" got a new name for its subdistricts and a new kind of leader in the offices of what everywhere else are "district superintendents." CPS is now divided into "Networks" and the guys and gals in charge of the "Networks" are now called "Chiefs of Schools." A closer look shows there is more insanity to this whole thing than a satirist could have imagined or portrayed from the main state at Second City. Take the maps and the cutely names someone came up for these noveau thingies.

The officials map of the CPS "Networks" (above) is available on line from CPS. The map may be available, and interactive, but no one at CPS can explain how in Chicago such random (and strangely named) gerrymanders could have been possible. CPS officials, all of whom are outsiders, did it.Anyone who thinks that the Chicago ward maps look like a classical dictionary example of "gerrymander" should take a close look at the Chicago Public Schools "Network" maps. They are, if anything, at least as crazy and probably more so. There is no reason in the first place for CPS to have replaced "Areas" and "Area Officers" with "Networks" and "Chiefs of Schools," but now that the maps are clear, the absurdity of how CPS is governed should even be clear to the arrogant seven members of the Board of Education who approved the thingy.

Theoretically, the seven members of the RahmBoard reviewed the whole concept of "Networks" with the administration and the, with a straight face, approved thingies like "Fullerton" and the one that extends from Sayre Elementary all the way down into South Austin.

Now they are trying to have a conversation about the role of the "Chiefs of Schools" — the people who used to be Chief Area Officers (under Ron Huberman), or Area Instructional Officers (under Arne Duncan), or "Regional Education Officers" (under Paul Vallas), or "District Superintendents" (before CPS went crazy with mayoral control, down to the current mayoral control freak at City Hall) — with a straight face. At the January 25, 2012 Board of Education meeting, the "Chief Instruction Officer" (Jennifer Cheatham, one of the many top dogs with no Chicago teaching experience) outlined the "Full School Day" nonsense and the role of the "Chiefs of Schools" in the process of confusing everything (a few hours after irate parents had turned in petitions opposing the seven and a half hour school day) with the full (and arrogant) support of the Seven Dwarfs (only six of whom were present; for the first time Penny Pritzker was not around).

The Board of Education meeting won't be on the air in its censored form until Saturday, but everyone should begin to ask how anyone who knows anything about Chicago could come up with those childish maps and even more childish names for the "Networks" (er., Areas, er, Regions, oh, heck, let's call them sub-districts... no we can't do that, we're "challenging the status quo, blah, blah, blah...).



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