Byrd Bennett gets another job and escalates her attacks on Chicago's real public schools -- New Schools for Chicago 'Director' means trashing public schools and touting charter lies

The Union Busting organization, New Schools for Chicago, has named CPS "Chief Executive Officer" Barbara Byrd Bennett as a Director. If anyone was counting I think this is Job Number 6 -- while still employed as CEO of the third largest school district in the nation. A district with a clear stated policy of no double, triple, quadruple or quintuple dipping when working as a government employee in Chicago, CPS has apparently made several exceptions for Byrd Bennett -- NONE of them in the public record.

Since she was brought to Chicago after helping organize the final destruction of the public schools of Detroit by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Barbara Byrd Bennett has been treated like local royalty and allowed to ignore every conflict of interest and ethics policy CPS enforces against everyone else. Socialist Worker photo.What is more interesting about this sixth job Byrd-Bennett now has is that it is a clear conflict of interest. As the head of the Chicago Public Schools Byrd-Bennett is now also working to push the agenda of New Schools for Chicago that is diverting resources away from neighborhood schools to privately run charter schools. The annual "New Schools Expo" held now at Soldier Field is sponsored by "New Schools for Chicago" but should be called the "Charter Schools..." expo, since it has been devoted almost exclusively to promoting charter schools (and at almost every booth, trashing real public schools) for the past five years, as Substance has reported.

Charter schools are not the only agenda of "New Schools for Chicago."

The website makes it clear that the only investments this fund will make is to schools that promote increased reliance on testing and increased push for all students to attend college; both schemes of the ruling class to divert money into testing companies like Rupert Murdoch's Wireless Generation, whose parent company News Corporation has been banned from doing business with the New York Department of Education for its role in wiretapping phone line.

Then there is the trillion dollar student loan industry that has destroyed the ability of the nation�s young people to start families, own houses and start small business because of their large debt loads from going to college and getting degrees that do not lead them to good paying jobs or in many cases no jobs at all. Also being pushed by organizations such as New Schools for Chicago whose Board of Directors directly profit from increased debt of consumers.

"No Official or Employee shall make, participate in making, or in any way attempt to use his or her position to influence any Board decision or action in which he or she knows or has reason to know that he or she has any Economic Interest distinguishable from that of the general public." (Section XI. Conflicts of Interset A., Code of Ethics, 25 May 2011, Board Report 11-0525-PO2)

Part of the false advertising that comes out of "New Schools for Chicago" infects the so-called "New Schools Expo" every year. The "New Schools Expo" is not about new schools, but completely about promoting Chicago's charter schools (some of which are more than ten years old) as the only "choice" option available to Chicago parents. With the addition of Barbara Byrd Bennett to the Board of Directors of "New Schools for Chicago," the brutal attacks on the city's real public schools continue while the plutocrats who promote "New Schools" smirk as much as "BBB" does about all the deceptions.The most interesting thing about this appointment is that Byrd-Bennett is a paid employee of the Chicago Public Schools yet she is on Board of Directors of an organization which has the sole purpose to close as many public school in the city of Chicago as possible. Maybe the ethics policy does not apply to Bryd-Bennett since she lives in Cleveland and therefore Chicago Board Policy does not apply to her.


�Too Much Emphasis on Testing?� Parents for Public Schools, July 2012.

�Ricken: Too much emphasis on school standardized tests.� Long Island Newsday, 6 June 2013.

"Rupert Murdoch Empire's Rebekah Brooks Charged in Hacking Scandal." CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 15 May 2012.

"How The $1.2 Trillion College Debt Crisis Is Crippling Students, Parents And The Economy." Forbes Magazine, 07 August 2013.

�Lack of skilled labor threatens U.S. manufacturing.� The New York Times, 21 January 2008.

�TECHNOLOGY TRANSFORMS MANUFACTURING INTO A HOTBED OF INNOVATION: Manufacturers Must Address a Ticking �Biological Clock� to Realize Growth.� Thomas Industrial Network, Inc., September 2013.

"Plant Engineering Workforce Development Study: Lack of Skilled Workers Leading to Unfilled Jobs." Plant Engineering. 17 September 2013.

�As Economy Gains Momentum, Manufacturers Could Be Left Out of the Party.� Thomas Industrial Network, Inc., 12 December 2013.

"Chalk It up to the Hacks: New York Scraps $27 Million Education Contract with Murdoch Firm." NY Daily News, 27 August, 2011.

Below is some of the text from the New Schools for Chicago website [formatting of headers is direct from the website]:


In June 2004, Mayor Richard M. Daley, then Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Arne Duncan, and leaders from the Chicago business community announced Renaissance 2010 (Ren10). The goal of this bold initiative was to open 100 new schools and provide all students, regardless of socioeconomic background, with the opportunity to compete on the global playing field. The Renaissance Schools Fund (RSF) was established by the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club as the fundraising and strategic partner to the Renaissance 2010 effort.

RSF has been the catalyst for the charter school movement in Chicago, raising over $70 million to open 70 new schools which will serve over 40,000 students at capacity. We established the due diligence process and infrastructure for the selection, evaluation, and authorization of quality new schools.

Our initiative has more than tripled the number of charter schools in Chicago. We created 13 charter networks and developed top performing models. We have helped launch the city�s first all-boys public high school, the first public high school for the arts, and the first partnerships among universities, corporations and K-12 education entrepreneurs to design math, science and technology schools.

In April 2011, we launched a new fund under a new name: New Schools for Chicago.


To radically improve outcomes for Chicago�s children through public education. We do that by investing in excellence, driving innovation and promoting school choice.


We believe every student in Chicago deserves a quality education. Through our New Schools Fund, we will invest $60 million in new top-performing schools in neighborhoods that are most in need of quality school options. In five years, our schools can serve about 20 percent of the District. The return by 2020: Our schools serving about 30 percent, with 10,000 more students graduating and 12,000 more enrolling in college.

Our efforts are focused on three areas:

Accelerate change

We invest in the best talent�top-performing operators who have a proven track record of success and have sound and sustainable plans for growth. Working closely with them to open more campuses in Chicago, we also seek out the most promising innovative models�from turnarounds to technology hybrids�and help accelerate their growth.

District-wide innovation and quality

We promote innovation and share information to improve the entire education system. Our aim is to tear down silos, allowing innovation to flow freely from our schools to the District and back so all boats rise. We make certain schools we invest in are accountable to investors, parents, policymakers and taxpayers alike. We�ve learned what works, and more importantly what doesn�t, so we not only invest in great schools, we partner with the District to ensure only the best school models open and remain open.

Parents demanding the best

We will lead the way for parent engagement in public education. Through a public awareness effort, organizing and energizing, our Parents for New Schools Campaign helps parents and communities demand the best for their children. And our annual New Schools EXPO helps thousands of families learn about their options.


The schools where we will invest � and the students attending them � are seeing major success through test scores, graduation and college enrollment.

� Noble Street Charter High Schools graduation rates compare with the best schools in the state and 91% of grads enroll in college.

� CICS sees 97% of their students accepted to college.

� LEARN Charter Elementary Schools outperform comparisons by an average of 21 points on the state test, 99% of their students graduate from high school, and 95% of them go to college.

STRONG DEMAND FOR QUALITY SCHOOLS IN CHICAGO Our city�s children do not have access to enough quality school options. We must be willing to make bold changes if we are going to provide the quality education our students � and our city � deserve.

� Only half of the children in our city will graduate from high school only 8% will earn a college degree.

� Research shows that two-thirds of CPS parents have seriously considered a private or charter school for their kids, and half would send them if they had the opportunity.

� Quality schools are so scarce in many Chicago neighborhoods they could be called education deserts.


Today�s classrooms are filled with tomorrow�s leaders. Chicago�s business community maintains an urgent mission to create systemic change in public education in order to secure a seat at the global table for our city and ensure ongoing competitiveness for our nation.

� Monopolies don�t work. We cannot sustain a one-size-fits-all education system and expect to be competitive.

1 Based on ACT Scores


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