MEDIA WATCH: Crain's Chicago Business calls Claypool press conference what is was...'That 4 p.m. 'press conference' turned out to be any thing but — a classless exercise in ignoring reality as much as humanly possible...'

While the editors of the Chicago Tribune continued to ignore reality as they editorially praised outgoing CPS CEO Forrest Claypool, more and more Chicago reporters and media got it right. Among the most interesting to call it like it is was Crain's Chicago Business, which called the press conference that announced Claypool's resignation "ignoring reality as much as is humanly possible." After all the praises for Claypool and his career were over, those at the press conference refused to take questions from reporters...


Bowing to a scandal that shows no signs of ebbing, Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool has decided to resign, according to a source close to the matter. Janice Jackson, CPS chief education officer, is expected to be tapped as his replacement, initially on an interim basis. (Last year, Crain's profiled Jackson, the No. 2 at CPS, in our annual 40 Under 40 feature.)

Claypool's action comes a day after CPS' inspector general accused him of "a full-blown cover-up" over his use of an ethically compromised attorney to supervise preparation of a lawsuit over state funding for schools.

Longtime Claypool friend David Axelrod, who worked with him on numerous political campaigns in recent decades, said Claypool wasn't fired and "would have survived a vote of the Board (of Education)," had things come to that. "But it would have been a rocky road, moving forward."

Added Axelrod in an email, "(It's) really a loss for the city and for the CPS."

The change in command is to come at a news conference later this afternoon at CPS headquarters. Among those scheduled to attend: Claypool, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and board President Frank Clark.

More​ on​ Claypool:

He​ was​ City​ Hall's​ 2nd​ in​ command,​ and​ he​ knew​ how​ to​ cut​ spending

He​ was​ named​ to​ lead​ the​ schools​ in​ 2015

He​ explained​ why​ CPS​ sued​ the​ state​ over​ school​ funding

5:15 p.m. update:

That 4 p.m. “press conference” turned out to be any thing but—a classless exercise in ignoring reality as much as humanly possible.

Clark read a short statement, terming Claypool “a dedicated public servant.”

Emanuel spoke a little more, declaring in the end, “An individual in their time is judged by the entirety of their service….He will always be my friend.”

Then a group of ministers testified about the wonderful man Claypool is and the great experience they had working with him.

Claypool himself got to the bottom line: “I made serious errors in judgment. I’ve made mistakes, and I apologize for them.”

After that, they all marched out, without a single one of them answering a single question. Included in the marchers was incoming CEO Jackson, who should have been allowed to say something about the future and her role, but might as well have been a potted plant.

Among unanswered questions: What changed since yesterday, when Emanuel was standing by Claypool?

How could CPS find itself in yet another scandal, just two years after the resignation of Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who got caught with her hand in the cookie jar?

Has the time come to finally elect the board, given that its members seem incapable of standing up to either the mayor or whoever he wants to be CEO?

What exactly was Claypool’s “mistake,” and how does he think the school system should prevent a repetition?

I could toss in a few more, but you get the idea. To paraphrase Paddy Bauler, “Chicago still ain’t ready for reform.”

Meanwhile, outside, Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey was handing out metaphorical glasses of champagne.

“I’m happy to see him go,” said Sharkey, adding that he spoke to Claypool maybe two or three times in three years, even though union President Karen Lewis has been sick and out of commission much of the time. Jackson “is an educator,” Sharkey added. “That’s a good sign. But it depends on what happens with policy.”


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