The 'Four S's of Rahm's attack on public education -- Sabotage = Substitute shortage + Security shortage + Special Ed mismanagement...Memo to principals shows CPS administrators trying to sabotage the CTU contract, while incompetence at the top undermines already poor special ed services

If the real objective of the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel is to give away as many of the assets of the public schools as quickly as possible during his term in office, does it matter if in the process both morality and law are being violated on a daily basis across the nation's third largest school system. As the second year of the Emanuel administration draws to a close, the evidence piles up that privatization, not public education, is on the agenda of the former White House Chief of Staff, and that any claim that the Emanuel administration is capable of actually managing a major city has been disproven by the facts.

The latest "Chief Executive Officer" (the fourth in three years) to head Chicago's public schools is Barbara Byrd Bennett, who came to Chicago from Detroit and was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to the job in October 2012 after Emanuel dumped his original pick, Jean-Claude Brizard. Brizard, who came to Chicago from Rochester, was hailed by Emanuel at the time as the best man for the job, and paid an unprecedented $250,000 per year salary, plus a "relocation expense" of $35,000 because he came from out of town. In March 2012, following the abrupt resignation of Rahm's first "Chief Education Officer", Noemi Donoso (who was imported from Colorado), the seven member Chicago Board of Education hired Byrd Bennett as "Interim Chief Education Officer." By the time of the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012 in September 2012, Emanuel had ordered Brizard to be quiet, and Byrd Bennett was placed at the bargaining table. After Emanuel forced Brizard out (with a golden parachute unprecedented in Chicago schools history), Byrd Bennett became the current CEO. Above, Byrd Bennett is talking to principals who received "merit pay" bonuses at Lowell Elementary School on October 28. 2012. Merit pay is being pushed by Emanuel despite all of the research that shows that it fails in education and is one of the reasons why the financial people who undermined the world economy in 2007 and 2008 were "incented" to become so corrupt. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.A memo issued to all principals on Friday, January 25, 2013, continues to show the reveal how the inside operations of CPS are being redesigned since the election of Mayor Rahm Emanuel to sabotage the city’s remaining real public schools in order to replace them with privatization as quickly as possible. After a setback by the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012, CPS officials have regrouped following Emanuel’s purge of Jean-Claude Brizard and are now moving against both the contract and the public schools.

The school system's top officials, more than half of whom are now from outside teaching (and many of those from outside Chicago, at great expense) are trying to prod principals (usually, via the Network chieftains) to push violations of the union contract (and possibly of state and federal law) on teachers and others. In addition to the sabotage of substitute service and security, both under the guise of “austerity” (now disproven by the FY 2012 CAFR’s revelations), CPS lawyers have committed to supporting every ploy to undermine teachers — even when federal special education laws are governing.

The January 25 memo, which was provided to Substance by an anonymous friend of education and confirmed, deals with a couple of the places where CPS is trying to be on the offensive against teachers and the union.

Along with other directives to principals — some of which are put in writing and others of which are passed along by word of mouth from Network “Chiefs of Schools” and their staffs — the latest memo seems to demonstrate that what CPS lost in the face of the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012 they are now trying to "win" back by undermining the contract relentlessly at the local school level.

From security to substitutes, behind the smokescreen of a "financial crisis" (which has been proved a lie with the release of the latest CAFR), CPS is sabotaging the city's real public schools. At the same time, CPS is preparing to launch another round of privatized and anti-union charter schools — despite citywide opposition to their continued spread. Instead of freezing charter expansion as the examples of charter corruption multiply and the need for massive audits and reviews grow, the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education are preparing to do more charters before the end of the 2012 – 2013 school year.

Perhaps as seriously, because it could jeopardize millions of dollars in federal funds contingent on CPS providing special education services, it the refusal of CPS to provide schools with enough special education teachers, PSRPs, and clinicians to provide the services required by federal law. Meanwhile, the privatized and outsources special education services, when investigated, are showing to be examples of the kinds of abuse of children with special needs that haven’t been seen in supposedly civilized societies since the novels of Charles Dickens 160 years ago shocked the middle class.

A major confrontation is looming. CPS offers one version of how special education work should be done, while at the same time CPS now has the least qualified administration of special education services in the history of the nation's third largest school system. The danger to children with special needs -- and the challenges to teachers who may have to risk much as whistle blowers -- grows because during the second year of Rahm Emanuel's reign over the schools, the CPS special education offices have been gutted. The top posts are now held, for the most part, by people with no knowledge or experience in Chicago. But since the agenda is privatization and cronyism, the beat goes on.

The following memo went to principals on January 25, 2013, one week before the confrontations that seem to be developing for February 1 (the half day for children).

MEMO TO PRINCIPALS JANUARY 25, 2013… [Editor’s note. The insertion of ‘sic’ in the memo is from Substance, indicating misspellings and other typographical errors in the original memo. Following the purge of the central office in 2011 – 2012 on orders from the mayor, CPS has lacked many of the clerical and middle-management people to do these jobs, and the result has been everything from recommending that parents visit a porn site to the memo below].


February 1st is a full work day for all school based [sic] employees. Principals and payroll clerks should note that all employees in the following classifications are scheduled to work on the February 1st full-day professional development day for teachers and PSRPs: All teacher [sic], PSRPs, lunchroom employees, CWAs, bus aides, SECAs, custodial emploeyes and all security personnel.

Teacher/PSRP PD on February 1st should be half principal-directed and half teacher-directed. IEPs and Teacher self-directed time. It has come to our attention that CTU Field Representatives are telling teachers that IEP meetings should not be scheduled during teachers' self-directede [sic] preparation periods. This is false. Attendance at IEP meetings is something that is appropriately done on a teachers self-directed preparation. That has always been the case and no change in that practice was negotiated.

Elementary Teachers 64-minute preparations. Questions continue to percolate regarding the 64-minute preparation period. 60 minutes of that is non-supervisiory [sic], teacher directed preparation and 4 minutes are for supervision. However, elementary principals should work with their PPCs collaboratively and in good to find opportunties [sic] for other self-directed time for teachers (on PD days at other times when the opportunity presents itself). That was the agreement struck with CTU and that is how principals should implement the agreement.

If you have questions regarding these topics, please call Joe Moriarty at 3-1641, Lara Shayne at 3-1727 or Lorena Montenegro at 3-1717.


January 28, 2013 at 3:45 PM

By: Marc Sims

Disruptive students, charters

Can you make a good argument why a parent should not the their children to a charter school?

January 28, 2013 at 4:01 PM

By: George N. Schmidt

Most charters are frauds, some bigger than others

Yes, Marc, since it is possible to visit your blog. After more than 15 years of unregulated and overprivileged existence in Chicago, the vast majority of Chicago charter schools are frauds, pure and simple. The exploit young and inexperienced teachers (often but not always women) working them incredible hours and then dumping them. They promote fraudulent versions of reality (viz., all you need to succeed in the real world of urban schools is a belief that "ALL CHILDREN CAN LEARN"; gee, why didn't they tell me that during my 28 years of inner city high schools and upper grade centers !!!?). They have become Ponzi schemes borrowing money against the future largess of CPS in providing them students forever (UNO is biggest at this)...

And they undermine public education, public institutions, and public schools with lies, half truths, etc.

January 28, 2013 at 6:49 PM

By: Bob Busch

Charter schools' dumpings begin

It started about two weeks ago like a broken faucet,the steady drip of students being kicked

out of charter schools has begun. Many show up alone and usually take a week off before showing up at our door. The charter operators have milked every last cent out of their hides

and now -- six weeks before the big test -- they dump them.

January 29, 2013 at 6:29 AM

By: Bob Busch

Mistake on exam time...

I am sorry. It will be ten weeks before exams not six.

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