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Dodging the press and afraid of real questions... CPS tells Substance about major media events sponsored by CPS -- a day after they happen!

One of the nice things about dealing with the new administration at Chicago Public Schools is that they remind members of the Substance staff of the meaning of words like "sophomoric" and the good old days of cliques and mean girls. For the past several months, Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard has been getting himself into the Guinness Book of World Records for having staged more media events and held fewer press conferences than any Chicago schools chief in history. Paul Vallas, Arne Duncan, Ron Huberman and Terry Mazany (Brizard's predecessors going back to 1995) all held press conferences to answer questions from reporters on a regular basis. Brizard avoids them like an infection or like they'd give him an infarction. Most of the time when Brizard is on stage, it's in a staged media event where reporters are supposed to take notes while Brizard (and, usually, the mayor) sits around and chats with a hand-picked group of people who are brought out for the cameras.

The CPS Communications Department, which is now the largest and most expensive in CPS history (headed by Becky Carroll, who is being paid $160,000 per year as "Chief Communications Officer" during a fiscal year that began with CPS declaring that it was facing another "fiscal emergency"), is also given to avoidance, but in a much more charming sophomoric way.

Thus, CPS held a major media event on Thursday, March 15.

But didn't tell Substance until hours after the event was over. Below is the press release Becky Carroll's department finally sent to Substance late at night on March 15, 2012:

For more information contact:

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620

Fax: 773-553-1622

Website: http://www.cps.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

March 15, 2012

CPS Welcomes Hit Show Mythbusters for Special Assembly at Phillip Murray Elementary Language Academy

Museum of Science and Industry and Discovery Education Bring Interactive Assembly to Teach Students the Importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)

CHICAGO – Today, students at Phillip Murray Elementary Language Academy were treated to a special assembly by hosts of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman. The Museum of Science and Industry and Discovery Education presented the event to an all-school assembly of Murray students in the auditorium. The event also was broadcast live to students across the country as part of Discovery Education LIVE! a webinar series which brings current issues to classrooms in real-time through innovative learning experiences.

"Mythbusters has proven to be an exciting vehicle for expanding the classroom and helping students develop a love of learning," said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. "Having begun my education career as a science teacher, I appreciate that Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman are sharing their enthusiastic passion for science with our students. We extend our thanks to the Museum of Science and Industry for providing this opportunity to Chicago Public Schools and to classrooms across the nation."

The event expanded the classroom with an assembly that sparked students’ natural curiosity by showing them just how fun science could be. Additionally, students received an exclusive look at the new interactive experience Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition, which is opening today March 15 at the Museum of Science and Industry and runs through September 3, 2012.

Chicago Public Schools Chief Instructional Officer, Dr. Jennifer Cheatham, and Chancellor Cheryl Hyman of the City Colleges of Chicago addressed the assembly on the importance of STEM education and how it prepares students to be college and career ready.

Last month, CPS, City Colleges of Chicago, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a new partnership with five industry leaders, which will give CPS students the opportunity to attend Early College STEM Schools that focus on technology skills and career readiness, as well as earn college credits. The five companies, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft Corporation, Motorola Solutions and Verizon Wireless, will help develop a unique curriculum at each new school to teach students the skills required in that marketplace, as well as provide mentors and internships. Upon graduating from these tailored programs, the students will be prepared for careers in science and technology. In order to learn more about these schools, please visit: www.cps.edu/ecss.

The Chicago Public Schools serves approximately 405,000 students in more than 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school system.

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