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Hundreds of thousands of dollars and hours spent promoting the 'New Schools Expo' while Brizard worked to sabotage the local school councils... Groups demand CPS extend deadline for LSC nominations and promote LSCs, while growing evidence shows that Brizard administration is sabotaging the LSC elect

Less than two months after every parent in Chicago's public schools, including this writer, received at least one robocall from CPS (and from Chicago Bears star Israel Idonije) promoting the so-called "New Schools Expo" at Chicago's Navy Pier, the same CPS officials who were promoting charter schools in January have been working to sabotage the local school councils in February and March. In January 2012, Chicago media were blanketed with promotions for the "New Schools Expo," most of them provided by the Brizard administration. We reported these at Substance. When questioned about why the Chicago Bears were promoting an attack on the city's public schools and unions (most of the "New Schools..." were anti-union charter schools, many of which make teachers sign yellow dog contracts), the Bears quickly announced that Idonije was speaking for himself, not for Chicago Bears Inc.). The URL for one of the Substance stories on the New Schools Expo is: http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=3023§ion=Article

Chicago Public Schools "Chief Executive Officer" Jean Claude Brizard (gesticulating) stood at the podium during the February 22, 2012 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education to deliver the Power Point explaining why CPS could vote to destroy 17 schools, including ten slated for "turnaround." During the same time, Brizard failed to mention that LSC elections were looming. But critics noted that not one of the top administrators who stood with Brizard on February 22 had been at CPS the last time local school councils were elected. Above, left to right, "Chief Talent Officer" Alicia Winckler (hired in December 2010), Brizard (hired in June 2011), "Chief Education Officer" Noemi Donoso (hired in June 2011), Chief of Community and Family Engagement Jamiko Rose (hired in August 2011), "Chief Administrative Officer" Tim Cawley (hired in June 2011), and "Chief Portfolio Officer" Oliver Sicat (hired in August 2011). Brizard and his administrative "team" worked overtime to promote the January 28 privatization orgy known as the "New Schools Expo", then tried to snuff the local school councils a month later. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Virtually every CPS parent (this one received two, because we have two sons in public schools) received at least one robo call promoting the "New Schools Expo." Additionally, anyone put on "hold" while calling CPS had to listen to an endless loop of reminders to attend the "New Schools Expo." But as Substance reported, the majority of the so-called "new schools" at the "Expo" were not real public schools (the majority were charter schools, which have no LSCs) and many of them were far from "new," while a large number of new Chicago public schools (the real ones, with LSCs) were not at the "Expo" at all. The list of all the so-called "new" schools was published at Substance, the URL being: http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=3003§ion=Article

As of March 2012, nobody has received any notification from Brizard or CPS on behalf of the Local School Council elections. But if "New Schools" deserves massive publicity from CPS, then the blackout on news about the Local School Council elections constitutes another example of sabotage by the Brizard administration of the city's real public schools. And as the details described in the March 7 press release by LSC supporters show, the CPS LSC relations office is deliberately sabotaging the development of the LSC elections, by the unprecedented act of requiring Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests for information that for years was published on the CPS website and made available to the public during the weeks prior to the LSC elections.

As a result, a group of 27 local organizations is demanding that the deadline for parents and others to file to serve on local school councils be extended to March 22.

In a March 6 press release, Donald R. Moore, Ed.D., Executive Director, Designs for Change (814 S. Western Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60612, 312/236-7252 ext. 236, donmoore@designsforchange.org, http://www.designsforchange.org) announced that the groups were demanding more time for LSC filings.

Sent: Tue, Mar 6, 2012 7:56 pm

Subject: CEO Brizard: 27 Groups Demand Two-Week LSC Extention

Press Release, For Immediate Release

27 Organizations Demanding an Extension of Local School Council Candidate Recruitment Deadline Until March 22, 3 p.m.

The Coalition to Strengthen Local School Councils (Member List Attached)

The letter to Jean-Claude Brizard follows:

March 6, 2012

Jean-Claude Brizard,

Chief Executive Officer

Chicago Public Schools

125 S. Clark Street

Chicago, IL 60603

Twenty-seven Local School Council, community, teacher, principal, and school reform organizations demand an extension of the candidate sign-up period for Local School Councils for two weeks, until March 22, 2012 at 3 p.m. (with the current sign-up deadline two days away). Further, we ask that you take personal responsibility for insuring a successful recruitment effort. The names of the twenty-seven organizations demanding that you take steps to ensure successful LSC recruitment are attached.

As of today, March 6, only 1,944 parent, community teacher, non-teaching staff, and student candidates had signed up to run for LSCs, according to a report from the CPS Office of LSC Relations just received. In the spring 2000 election, 6,850 candidates signed up to run, after a two-week extension was granted and the head of the Office of LSC Relations was replaced.

Our request for this extension is impacted by the following:

• The low candidate turnout reflects your personal lack of forceful visible leadership in encouraging candidacy or recognizing the existence and contribution of Local School Councils since you took office.

• The Office of Local School Council Relations, its Director (Guillermo Montes de Oca), and the rest of the Central and Network Administrations—who are, of course, accountable to you—have failed to lead a successful candidate recruitment campaign, operating largely on their own or not doing anything at all.

• Your administration has also failed to collaborate (in several ways listed below) with committed independent groups who are actively working to recruit LSC candidates (such as the 27 organizations who support this request for your leadership and the leadership of the staff accountable to you).

• Unlike previous LSC elections, there have been no joint meetings initiated by the Office of LSC Relations with interested independent organizations, in order to agree on a schedule for the recruitment and election process and to plan and carry out a coordinated candidate recruitment strategy.

• In past years, a tally of the numbers of candidates (school-by-school and by type of position) has typically been released electronically by the Office of LSC Relations in the last month before the recruitment deadline, to a wide range of interested parties each day, including anyone who asked to be put on the list to receive this information. This daily tally makes it possible for independent organizations (and CPS staff) to target their efforts to those schools that most need candidates.

This year, as Mr. Montes de Oca stated last week he has been requiring almost all groups who wanted this information to file a series of Freedom of Information requests for it. By the time such a request is fulfilled, the information is virtually useless. Why has your administration adopted this needless obstructive practice, which has limited the effectiveness of recruitment?

• Some groups have obtained the school-by-school tallies on three recent occasions, after pressing for them. However, when these tallies revealed the low number of candidates and we widely circulated the results, Mr. Montes de Oca reverted to his demand for FOIAs from all who requested candidate data numbers, saying that groups who circulated data about the number of candidates publicly were no longer being "cooperative"—simply for distributing public information that reveals the ineptness of the Office of LSC Relations and your administration in recruiting LSC candidates.

In ignoring and undermining Local School Councils, your administration is disregarding an invaluable resource for educational improvement that exists in no other major city.

For example, a comprehensive study of Local School Councils by the Consortium on Chicago School Research concluded:

"The vast majority of Local School Council members quietly oversee school policy and carry out their officials duties…They also help the school with a myriad of small and large tasks" [including increasing parent involvement and developing collaboration with community organizations]. "These individuals deserve our praise and our thanks….By devolving significant resources and authority to local school communities and by expanding opportunities for local participation by parents, community residents, and staff, this reform has enlarged the capabilities of school communities to solve local problems." Numerous other studies attest to the effectiveness of LSCs and their impact on school achievement.

We ask for your leadership at this point by:

• Publicly emphasizing your support for LSCs and their contribution to school improvement.

• Extending the LSC recruitment deadline to March 22 at 3 p.m.

• Requiring that the Office of Local School Councils cooperate and collaborate fully with independent organizations in candidate recruitment and eliminate such ridiculous bottlenecks as the requirement that school-by-school data about candidates that had been routinely disseminated for twenty years be obtained only through FOIA. Instead widely disseminate these data.

• Enlisting all Central and Network office staff to spend one day recruiting door-to-door for candidates, or lead a similar massive candidate recruitment drive.

We will contact you to obtain your response.

Sincerely,

The Coalition to Strengthen Local School Councils

Contact: Donald R. Moore, Ed.D.

312-236-7252, ext. 236

donmoore@designsforchange.org

THE COALITION TO STRENGTHEN LOCAL SCHOOL COUNCILS

27 Organizations Demanding an Extension of Local School Council Candidate Recruitment Deadline Until March 22, 3 p.m.

Austin Community Action Council

Black Star Project

Black United Fund of Illinois

Blocks Together

C.A.U.S.E.

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Chicago Principals and Administrators Association

Chicago Teachers Union

Designs for Change

Education Village Keepers

Family Resource Center on Disabilities

Introspect Youth Services

Kenwood Oakland Community Organization

Kids Off the Block

Latino Organization of the Southwest

Lawndale Alliance

Men and Women in Prison Ministry

Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund

North River Commission

Parents 4 Teachers

Parents United for Responsible Education

PUSH Excel

Small Schools Workshop

South Side Branch NAACP

Teachers for Social Justice

West Side Branch NAACP

Youth Guidance

Local LSC leaders have begun weighing in on the issue...The following was sent to Substance March 7, 2012:

Dear Don:

Thank you for sending this out and for advocating on behalf of ALL Chicago Local School Councils. Your efforts have definitely paid off, as evidenced by today's announcement by CPS that they are extending their deadline to submit LSC candidacy applications to March 23.

As I am sure we can all agree, LSCs are successful in improving parental and community involvement in our local public schools, holding the principal accountable, and improving overall school performance. LSCs are definitely worth supporting and promoting.

So thanks again for all for your hard work. Hopefully, CPS will also work with you and all of the organizations listed below to remove some of the artificially-placed obstacles like the onerous FOIA one.

So keep up the good work,

Enrique Perez,

South Loop Resident and Concerned Parent



Comments:

March 8, 2012 at 12:38 PM

By: John Kugler

CPS Knowingly and Willingly

Breaks the law, misuses public funds for private agendas and operates as a criminal enterprise to promote the interests of the ruling class disenfranchising the citzens of chicago from the services and protection expected of a city government.

March 9, 2012 at 8:10 AM

By: Jean R Schwab

Criminals

John- I've been thinking all along that CPS is a bunch of criminals and need some serious consequences and jail time. They have done outrageous things and it is considered business as usual. They have the teflon effect.

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