Chicago's Barbara Byrd Bennett shows how to Opt Out -- but only to bully principals into joining silly CPS 'training'... 'It is not my intention to add any additional burden to your schedule, but to offer a quality professional growth opportunity...'

Parents have been asking for months for a CPS statement or form that allows them to Opt Out their children from the crazy increase in mandated tests (now generally referred to as "assessments" by CPS officials because of the movement against too much testing) being forced on most Chicago public schools. The most recent Opt Out authorization from an official of Chicago Public Schools, the nation's third largest school system, is a letter written by a one-time (long ago) CPS "Chief Education Officer" (Barbara Eason Watkins) many years ago.

After seven months of brazen mendacity, Chicago Public Schools "Chief Executive Officer" Barbara Byrd Bennett on May 22, 2013 followed orders from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and closed 50 of the city's real public schools. The campaign to close the schools consisted of nearly a year of public prattle about an "underutilization crisis" and hearings at which more than 30,000 people turned out sometimes in the harshest weather to oppose the closings and propose options for the development of public schools and public assets. Byrd Bennett dutifully followed the script she was hired (from Detroit) to promote in Chicago, and at the end of the 2012 - 2013 school year, she forced the closing of the same number of schools that Rahm had demanded after the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012, partly in revenge for the strike. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt taken at the May 22, 2013 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. Some speculated that the current CEO of CPS was against Opt Out. But on November 22, 2013, CPS "Chief Executive Officer" Barbara Byrd Bennett showed that she knows how to tell someone how to opt out.

So "BBB" does know how to propose an "Opt Out." Only in this case, it was Byrd Bennett threatening principals who were not joining her silly CELA program. Chicago's principals, long suffering, do not have an anti-bullying paragraph in their contracts, and there is no one in the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association willing to stand up in public and demand that Byrd Bennett (and her minions in the latest iteration of "Network Offices") stop bullying principals. As a result, principals are warned that they can "Opt Out" of one of the gooofier programs of the current goffy administration, while parents continued to wait.

The following letter went out to all principals on November 22, 2013:

November 22, 2013

Dear Principal,

I believe that high quality principals are a lever for change. Leadership development is a key priority for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Board and me. It is an integral part of our vision for The Next Generation: Chicagos Children, the Districts action plan.

Through the Chicago Executive Leadership Academy (CELA), we have prepared and offered all principals professional opportunities to increase their knowledge and improve their practice. I strongly believe this opportunity not only exposes our leaders to experts in the field, but also provides each principal with a coach who has experience and success in leading urban schools.

As I shared with you in our first session, I do not require your participation in these professional development series. However, please know, should you chose not to take advantage of this opportunity you will still be held to the same high standards for measured success in school achievement, community relations and culture building with teachers and other staff at the school as the principals who do participate in the sessions. It is not my intention to add any additional burden to your schedule, but to offer a quality professional growth opportunity.

However, I want to be clear, I am not requiring any principal to participate. Should you choose to obtain professional growth in another manner, or if you believe that you do not need professional development in leadership, please sign the attached form to opt out and return it to me.

We look forward to ensuring that the Next Generation: Chicagos Children are successful, ready for college, career and a productive future. I hope you will take advantage of this exceptional opportunity.


Barbara Byrd-Bennett

Chief Executive Officer

Chicago Public Schools


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