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Have you heard the one about the Quintinity replacing the Blessed Trinity? Five-year plans, Five 'Pillars' of Performance, and Five 'levels' of 'Accountability'... Chicago Public Schools forges ahead from its blessed trinities to a new theology -- SACRED QUNTINITIES?

Anyone with a droll sense of humor about the historic tyrannies of the 20th Century -- and the origins of the Volkswagon -- must be shaking his head as Barbara Byrd Bennett and her "cabinet" roll out, week after week, another "Five-Year Plan" or five.. somethingorother. At its August 28, 2013 meeting, the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education voted, with a straight face, to approve a new school, child, and teacher ranking and sorting system. Instead of three rankings for schools, Chicago will now have five.

No one yet has asked Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who appointed Byrd-Bennett and the Board members, whether he's OK with the idea of the "Rule of Five," especially since a little more than a year ago he rolled out a massive Web site that parents could use to find out how badly their schools sucked -- and Rahm's version had three "levels" -- not the new five.

But a close examination of the Barbara Byrd Bennett version of "accountability" for teachers and schools shows that the ploy is still the same, with the cart pulling the horse so to speak: viz., it doesn't matter what the ranking and sorting are based on (and over the past ten years, CPS has based them on more than 25 "matrices" and "metrics") but the fact that CPS gets to sit in judgment on schools, teachers, principals and the rest of the educational world without ever having to be ranked and sorted for the basic sanity or insanity of its obsessions: a system that ranks and sorts in the first place.

Another important component of this particular version of plutocratic insanity is churning: Each new iteration of "accountability" requires a new "accountability chief" (the names changed, see below) and "Chief Executive Officer." Then, since the members of the school board are simply arrayed to rubber stamp whatever it is, the game is fixed from the beginning. As long as there is a "bottom" to skewer and slander (and those with wealth and privilege are virtually guaranteed not to ever be there) and the losers continue to agree to pay the game, the system will continue.

Trinity.

Quadrinity.

or the current Quintinity...

What matters is the Five-Year Plan and the fact that the fat cats in power get to sit in judgement while their judgement continues unquestioned.

On August 28, 2013, Chicago Public Schools, with a straight face, trotted out a guy who a year ago was firmly planted in Memphis, Tennessee, and firmly cheering the Tennessee version of all this stuff. John Barker, who was paraded with his Power Point before the Chicago Board of Education on August 28, 2013, was in another state on August 28, 2012. But in December 2012, Barker was hired, without public discussion, to become the latest "Chief Accountability Officer" (version 5.0 or 6.0, depending upon who's being counted) of Chicago's corporately reformed public schools. Barker, who is currently being paid $175,000 per year, presented the seven members of Chicago's current school board with a well rehearsed (albeit rather smarmy) Power Point elaborating the latest Accountability System.

Barker's system was preceded by Jean-Claude Brizard's system.

Which was presented by Ron Huberman's system (overseen by "Chief Performance Officer" Sarah Kremsner).

Which was presented by Arne Duncan's Chief Accountability Officer(s), among whom were Ginger Reynolds and Dan Bugler.

Who were preceded by Paul Vallas's Chief Accountability Officer, a guy from the 19th Ward named Phil Hansen.

Each of the "Accountability" chieftains who has been in charge of Chicago's version of corporate reform since 1995 has presented the latest iteration as the sure fire best way to measure and rank and sort teachers, principals, schools -- and at times children (who may or may not be retained in class or forced to do summer school if they are ranked among the lowly).

Whether the guy or gal, though is Phil Hansen, Dan Bugler, Ginger Reynolds, Sarah Kremsner, or John Barker, each of the "performance"/"accountability"/whatever chiefs has to be able to keep a straight face was babbling on about "metrics" and "matrices" and "bottom lines" -- without ever discussing real Chicago children in the real world of Chicago.

And so, as the 2013 - 2014 school year begins, because the plutocracy demands it as a matter of faith and morals, this year we have a Quintinity instead of a Trinity lording over performance and accountability.



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