Duncan leaves to continue attacks on public education from Obama cabinet post as U.S. Secretary of Education
Following his January 21 appointment as U.S. Secretary of Education, Chicago Schools Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan will be leaving town during the week of January 26, 2009, while the Chicago Board of Education and corporate Chicago continue the campaign of attacks on the city's democratic public schools that was launched by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Duncan under the "Renaissance 2010" plan.
As Duncan was departing from Chicago to implement the Chicago Plan nationwide, rumors began spreading that Mayor Daley was about to appoint a third "CEO" for the school system who has no experience, training or credentials in education. On January 25, 2009, the Chicago Tribune and other media reported that Chicago Transit Authority chief Ron Huberman, a former Chicago police officer and formerly Daley's Chief of Staff, was in line to head the school system. Huberman, whose controversial career was defined by his loyal (some said slavish) service to Chicago's mayor and his ruthless suppression of dissent within the ranks at any place where he had power.
Although the Huberman appointment had yet to be confirmed on January 25, 2009, the mayor was under pressure to install a new "CEO" for the school system by January 26. On that date, the agenda for the January 28 monthly meeting of the Chicago Board of Education has to be published for the public. The Board meeting is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, January 28, beginning at 10:30 in the morning. Chicago has had a "Chief Executive Officer" (CEO) heading its pubic school system since Daley was given dictatorial control over the system in 1995 by the Republican controlled Illinois General Assembly. Under the "Amendatory Act", Daley was give complete power over the city's massive school system, the third largest in the USA. Daley was given the power to appoint a "Chief Executive Office" to replace the "Superintendent of Schools" and all seven members of the Chicago Board of Education (which for four years was dubbed the "Chicago School Reform Board of Trustees"). Media reports carefully spinning the Chicago story led to the establishment of "mayoral control" in other cities, even though the claims for Daley's success in overturning traditional forms of school governance were never verified and have been refuted in most cases. Corporate media claims continue to promote the "mayor control model" even as more and more reports and studies refute its claims to success.
Both of Daley's appointees as CEO of the Chicago Public Schools have been from outside education. Paul G. Vallas (CEO from July 1995 through June 2001) was a former patronage and budget administrator under Daley. Gery Chico, the first President of the Board of Education under Daley, had served as Daley's Chief of Staff before becoming school board president in 1995.
In 2001, after some controversy, Vallas resigned his position and was replaced by Arne Duncan, who likewise had no education experience, training, or certification. Duncan served as CEO from July 2001 until January 2009, when he left for Washington to serve as U.S. Secretary of Education. If the rumor regarding Huberman's appointment turns out to be true, Huberman will be the third "Chief Executive Officer" appointed by Daley since 1995, and the third to come into the top executive position at the nation's third largest school system with no experience, training, or credentials in public education.