SUBSCRIPT: After all that goofy prattle about Business Models and Accountability, Rahm's favorite game is 'Management Musical Chairs'

If you read Chicago magazine, the Atlantic, or even the Economist (which often knows better), you’d think that Rahm the Magnificent has already saved Chicago during his rookie year as mayor of America’s third largest city. What is unprecedented as Chicago approaches the first anniversary of the Reign of Rahm is that for all the talk about accountability and business modeling, Rahm's actual practice is the opposite of what he says, and the mess grows daily except in the publicity stunts that Rahm feeds to the corporate media, and which gets recycled faster than any other composting material in Chicago.

Even some of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's biggest and best paid fans couldn't keep smile as the world's most famous rookie mayor returned to his assessment of his own puissance during the April 10, 2012 media event where he announced that the elementary Longest School Day was going to be not as long as he'd insisted it had to be. As usual, during the media event all critics were kept outside, and the mayor and his minions deftly dodged most specific questions that bordered on reality. Substance notes don't reflect whether the gesture above was during a fish story or about one of the mayor's famous locker room confrontations. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.From street crime to schools management, Chicago’s gotten much worse during Rahm’s Rookie Year. Just about the only thing that the city's rookie mayor can get straight is his daily publicity stunt. Everything else is seat-of-the-pants nonsense, almost complete BS, or corporate toadyism — usually larded over with more corporate propaganda (and often a dose of costly privatization and crony capitalism).

Rahm Emanuel may have unleashed the biggest crime wave in Chicago history by his crude mistreatment of Chicago's street cops. He may have turned the administration of the city's public schools into a growing national joke. But as long as he has the craven loyalty of those who own the city's media, it looks like he's going to continue getting away with at least some of it.

The amazing thing is that when he's graded by actual performance, Rahm should be getting “Fs” in everything except cheap and tawdry publicity stunts. Yet The Magnificent gives himself straight "A's", while everyone else form cops to teachers gets a "D" or and "F". Still, though, the Rahm fan club in the corporate media simply lets the rookie grade himself, so the canned applause are thunderous.

Everyone knows now that street crime is reaching heights not seen in Chicago since the first “crack wave” more than 20 years ago. Even Rahm’s fans at the Sun-Times and Tribune can’t miss those facts. So it’s up to Substance to get detailed about Chicago’s public schools, and the specific ways Rahm is screwing and screwing up the schools.

At CPS, the name of the game is "Management Musical Chairs."

Since he was saved from the wrath of parents and teachers in Rochester New York by Rahm Emanuel in May 2011, Chicago's schools "Chief Executive Officer" Jean-Claude Brizard (above at the April 10 publicity stunt at Chicago's Disney II elementary school) has avoided all press conference (except when under the watchful eye of Mayor Emanuel), specialized in doubletalk about world class edusystems and "Common Core" stuff that doesn't exist, and presided over the growing chaos in management at all levels of CPS "above" the schools. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.CPS cancelled the "budget training" for CPS principals that scheduled for April 23, even though the mess that the Brizard administration is creating with its Longest School Day nonsense is going to continue to create more messes as the real school year becomes more real first with the beginning of the “Track E” school year, and then in September with the “Track R” (regular) school year. Of course, when everyone — except one — person at the top of the city's "schools" administration knows nothing about the actual work of teaching in a Chicago public school or trying to lead one from the principal's office, what do you expect. The number of Broads (as in minions of the Broad Foundation) and MBAs (that's "Masters of Business Administration") has been in proliferation since Rahm plucked Jean-Claude Brizard in the nick of time from the people circling the Rochester school board headquarters with torches, Brizard had screwed things up so badly there. So, in case anyone thought Rochester was an anomaly, Brizard is making things even worse even more quickly here.

Many principals have been tearing their hair out because of the sheer unreality and stupidity of the current policies of the Brizard administration, and the multiple flip floppings, as if it were possible to run real schools in the real world with real children in front of real teachers based on a bunch of unrealities, Power Point absurdities, and slavish City Hall publicity stunts.

We have a couple of favorites from recent screeds and scribblings from on high. “Budget training on Tuesday April 24th has been cancelled,” so we read in several different missives to the overworked (but not under paid) principals left in town. “Look for new date the week of April 30…” The stuff on the non-existent “Common Core” is even more droll.

Our favorite messiness from April 2012 comes from the latest CPS “Chief of Staff,” a guy named Bob Boik. Boik hails, we’re told, from Detroit, since as everyone knows, no one in Chicago is ready for the difficult job of "Chief Of Staff" to the CEO of CPS. So, the Chicago Board of Education voted at its March 28, 2012 meeting not only to pay Boik $165,000 per year to become the second "Chief of Staff" so far since Rahm's reign began, but also to pay Boik $12,000 to move to Chicago! Boik will replace the former Chief of Staff, Andrea Saenz, who lasted less than a year in the bizarre world of Jean-Claude and the inimitable Noemi.

Barely having arrived in town, Boik has begun ordering the city's principals to do the impossible, the unwise, and the absurd even before he was able to find his way from Bogan to Bowen without a GPS.

While this is typical of the geniuses deployed by the Broad Foundation into the Chicago schools since Rahmstime began in May 2011, it’s getting to be really dangerous. Already, the gang bangers across the city are realizing it’s open season in and around more than 100 schools (thanks to Rahm's crazy policing and school security policies) and as PR replaces both policing and education policy. But the worst is yet to come as soon as the warmer weather finally arrives.

But Boik isn't the only FNG to begin haunting the halls of CPS.

Jamiko Rose, like Andrea Saenz, didn't even last out her first year, but now CPS has some guy named Hampton (who recently made his CPS debut sucking up to Stand for Children at the April 10 Roosevelt University Stand event), who is, of course, the only person in Chicago ready to take on the grueling job of "Chief Officer for Family and Community Engagement" (FACE) at CPS. Hampton at least isn't going to cost Chicago taxpayers "relocation expenses," but he will be paid a lot more than double what the average teacher gets.

The March 28, 2012 appointment of Robert Boik as the second "Chief of Staff" to the Chief Executive Officer in less than a year also made Boik the latest CPS executive to be imported from out of town at a huge cost for "relocation expenses." Above, the Board Report appointing Boik to succeed Andrea Saenz was approved by the seven members of the Board of Education unanimously without discussion or debate. Substance graphic prepared from the Chicago Board of Education's Agenda of Actions from the March 28 Board meeting (available at Meanwhile, Rahm's corporate minions are going to accompany him to Aspen in a week to help tout Rahm's Reality at an Aspen Institute privatization orgy sponsored by the "New Schools Venture Fund" and NBC. Tim Cawley and Rahm are on the program, obviously to tout how much better they've made Chicago public schools since Rahm took office in May 2011 and Tim made his debut creatively explaining CPS finances with his Power Point on the "fiscal crisis" at the June 15, 2011, special meeting.

The Aspen thingy is "by invitation only," and we have a hunch we won't be getting Rahm's words or Tim's the way we got the words of Jonah Edelman (who is also on the program) from last June's "Aspen Ideas Festival."

So Rahm's going to tell his venture capitalist cronies and charter school buddies how the market for corporate school reform is growing in Chicago on May 2 out near the ski slopes. What comes next we shudder to think.


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