Claypool and Claypool's policies and cronies must all be gone for a true clean up to begin... CTU statement reminds leaders that the job of cleaning up the mess after Claypool has barely begun and Chicago needs the elected school board...

The December 8, 2017 announcement that Chicago Public Schools "Chief Executive Officer" Forrest Claypool (above left) would resign his schools job as of December 31 left more questions than answer for the public and those concerned with the future of America's third largest school system. Claypool's successor will still be appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel (right above), and given the fact that Claypool and his predecessor both had to leave office because of corruption, Emanuel's record of appointing school leaders who can work in the best interest of the city's 400,000 public school children is dubious. Socialist Worker photo.Every teacher fighting against principals' pressures to pass everyone to sustain the silly "Sophomore on Track" (SOT) version of reality to goose the statistics in Chicago's public schools can barely be cheering now that the conductor of the silly SQRT evaluation system for schools is gone. Claypool seeded the nation's third largest school system with loyal and highly paid cronies during his two and a half years as head of CPS, and while he is not headed to prison like his predecessor Barbara Byrd Bennett, Claypool's legacy of craven (not creative by any means) disruption of classrooms and schools continues.

Oversize classes, a huge interest debt to Wall Street, a huge number of unqualified cronies in expensive administrative positions, and some of the silliest teacher-bashing regulations in the history of teacher bashing in Chicago will be among the other legacies of Claypool and Janice Jackson when Claypool finally leaves office on New Year's Eve. As hundreds of parents and thousands of children learned the hard way the past two years, Claypool was even unable to get right the busing and bus routes for Chicago children despite the fact that one of his previous administrative jobs was head of the Chicago Transit Authority. (Disclosure: One of this reporter's children has to board a bus a mile and a half from our home in order to get to school every day because of the Claypool administration's botching of bus routing for CPS children).

Corporate media coverage of the resignation was growing as Claypool reportedly met with Board of Education members on December 7 and learned that he did not have the support he wanted. Despite Claypool's lies and the cover up, Mayor Rahm Emanuel continued praising Claypool right to the bitter end, refusing to take questions at the December 8 press conference that announced Claypool's departure.

As usual, Claypool and Emanuel were surrounded by preachers who continued praising the two at the final event. Coverage of the preacher patronage that has been a secure base of the Emanuel administration is still lax in Chicago media.

Two major statements follow here:

The Chicago Teachers Union gave the following statement on December 8, 2017, following the announcement that Claypool was leaving and begin replaced by Janice Jackson, who had been serving as "Chief Education Officer" under Claypool:

As Claypool goes, so must his policies


CONTACT: CHRIS GEOVANIS, 312-329-6250, 312-446-4939 (M),

CHICAGO, December 8, 2017—Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey issued the following statement today in response to news that CPS CEO Forrest Claypool would be resigning in the wake of an ethics scandal:

Our members are delighted to see Forrest Claypool go, but he’s got to take his policies with him. Ninety-nine percent of our members voted 'no confidence' in him last year because his decisions have pushed thousands of students out of Chicago Public Schools, he’s cut our schools’ funding to the bone and he’s populated his administration with cronies and political insiders while running roughshod over the voices of parents and teachers.

We’re also glad to see an interim CEO chosen from among the ranks of CPS educators. It’s been 20 years since we’ve had someone at the helm of our schools who’s also taught in our classrooms.

But interim CEO Janice Jackson has also been an integral part of the Claypool administration. She’s got to show that she will take a different approach on revenue, reject her predecessor's agenda to close schools and expand charters, and start listening to educators and parents.

Claypool was brought down by this latest scandal, but his misdeeds run deeper. He’s handed out millions of dollars each year in no-bid contracts to political insiders, with zero public oversight or accountability; cut special education funding from our most vulnerable students; perpetuated a failed policy of closing schools in Black and Latinx neighborhoods; personally targeted whistleblowers—including some of our members—for exposing wrongdoing in our schools; and insisted on sticking with a school funding formula that violates state law and treats our children like lines in a ledger instead of students who have a right to adequately funded classrooms.

Our school system also desperately needs an elected, representative school board that can provide the kind of leadership, oversight and commitment to our students that the residents of this city deserve, and which Mayor Rahm Emanuel has failed to provide. Emanuel has now chosen three failed CEOs to run the third-largest school district in the nation, but Chicagoans deserve a qualified educator at the helm of our schools, and one who is vigorously vetted through a publicly transparent review process and found to be both highly qualified and without ethical stain or conflicts of interest. This should ultimately be the responsibility of the elected, representative school board that Chicago residents have overwhelmingly demanded. The mayor can help right this ship by moving to embrace that today.


CPS chief Forrest Claypool resigns after being accused of ethics probe cover-up

Embattled Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool resigned Dec. 8, 2017, after being accused of engaging in a “full-blown cover-up” during an ethics investigation by the district’s inspector general. (Lou Foglia / Chicago Tribune) Juan Perez Jr., Bill Ruthhart and Hal Dardick

Chicago Tribune

Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool resigned Friday, becoming the second district leader appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to leave office amid allegations of wrongdoing.

Claypool was accused of orchestrating a “full-blown cover-up” by the district inspector general, who called for the CEO’s ouster in a blistering report given to the school board Wednesday. Emanuel staunchly defended his longtime ally for two days, but after Claypool met with all six board members Thursday, sources said it was clear he did not have their full support.


That lack of backing, paired with the intense scrutiny the investigation had brought to Emanuel’s administration, led Claypool to decide to step down, a source said.

At a late afternoon news conference that seemed more like a poignant retirement party than the political funeral of an ally, Emanuel noted the length of his relationship with Claypool and lauded academic and financial improvements at CPS under Claypool’s leadership.

“He can walk out with his head held high,” Emanuel said.

“An individual in time is judged by the entirety of their service,” Emanuel said. “When you look at Forrest’s service … he has always gone to work with his sleeves rolled up, ready to get the job done.”

School board President Frank Clark said Claypool’s resignation is effective Dec. 31. CPS Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson, who has long been seen as the heir apparent to the district's top office, was named as interim CEO. The board will vote on her appointment at its Jan. 24 meeting, Clark said.

Claypool on Friday again apologized for his actions. Neither he nor the mayor responded to questions from reporters.

“I am experienced enough to know that I’ve accomplished all that I can accomplish here at CPS,” Claypool said. “I hope that when this chapter of my career is written, people will say, even good men can make stupid mistakes.”

While Claypool is Emanuel’s second school chief in a row to resign while accused of impropriety, his alleged transgressions are nowhere near as serious of those of his predecessor, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who was ultimately sent to prison for taking kickbacks.

But a report from CPS Inspector General Nicholas Schuler was scathing in its criticism of Claypool. The district CEO “repeatedly lied” during an ethics investigation involving the top CPS attorney, the report said.

Schuler on Friday said the latest upheaval at the district’s top ranks could have been avoided if Claypool agreed to remove General Counsel Ron Marmer from overseeing a contract with his former firm, Jenner & Block. CPS hired the firm, which was still making severance payments to Marmer, to manage a civil rights lawsuit against the state of Illinois that was ultimately dropped.

“If they’d owned up to it and they removed him, I don’t think this would’ve been a serious discipline issue,” Schuler said. “They could’ve gone public with this, asked for the board to ask for an exception, have this aired publicly. But I think the investigation showed that Mr. Claypool didn’t want this to be public."

Until Friday, Claypool was not only a longtime survivor in the rough-and-tumble world of city and state politics, but someone who was viewed as the guy to call in during times of trouble.

Among those who relied on his political and managerial skills were former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon, former Mayor Richard M. Daley, Pat Quinn as state treasurer and high-level political consultant David Axelrod.

In each case, Claypool left key campaign, business and administrative posts not only with his reputation intact, but also with an image as someone who could fix problems others couldn’t — even if he ruffled some feathers in the process.

At the start of his first term in 1989, Daley installed Claypool as chief of staff. When things got tough at the Chicago Park District, Daley sent in Claypool. Later, Daley brought him back to City Hall as the mayor faced scandals connected to his top police officials and City Council floor leader.

Claypool served eight years as a Cook County commissioner, styling himself as an effective reformist counterweight to former President John Stroger and, later, son Todd Stroger.

When Emanuel became mayor in 2011, he put Claypool in charge of the CTA, where he avoided fare hikes and oversaw the tricky but ultimately successful and lauded rebuild of the Red Line South. As Emanuel started his second term in spring 2015, he picked Claypool to be his City Hall chief of staff. A few months later, however, the mayor dispatched Claypool to CPS.

Claypool was Emanuel’s third schools chief, and his selection marked a reversal of course for a mayor who previously turned to outsiders to set policy at one of the nation’s biggest public school systems.

The mayor’s first selection, Jean-Claude Brizard, lasted a little more than a year before losing Emanuel’s confidence. He resigned in October 2012, not long after a seven-day teachers strike ended.

Brizard’s successor, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, brought with her an impressive resume of school leadership in New York, Cleveland and Detroit. She resigned after less than three years on the job while embroiled in a federal investigation into kickbacks that led to her conviction and imprisonment.

Claypool was hired to bring stability to the district after Byrd-Bennett’s abrupt departure. He inherited a financial mess, and also faced a potential labor shutdown by the Chicago Teachers Union that wasn’t settled until a contract was reached minutes before a threatened strike deadline in October 2016.

For much of his tenure, Claypool was the voice of doom as cutbacks and even the shutdown of schools was threatened if the state couldn’t overhaul its education funding formula. Claypool’s team embarked on aggressive cost-cutting plans, presented annual budgets with massive gaps state lawmakers were expected to fill, instigated furlough days and slashed school-level spending partly because of the district’s collapsing enrollment.

And as with previous schools administrations, Claypool presided over massive amounts of short- and long-term borrowing that brought much-needed cash into the system at a long-term cost to future generations.

But the district’s financial picture brightened, a bit, when state legislators finally came to terms on an education funding plan that bolstered the CPS bottom line.

Now yet another new leader will have to confront the district’s ongoing challenges.

“I think it’s the right decision for CPS, I think it’s the right decision for the students and their families,” Schuler said. “It’s a way for the district to move on and work on establishing institutional credibility, which it needs to do at this point.”


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