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New Leaders for New Schools got its start in Chicago, New York

The controversial "New Leaders for New Schools" program to train public school principals who did not have the traditional experience in public school classrooms got its start in three locations — Washington, D.C., New York, and Chicago. The program, which was long part of the strategic plan by the bipartisan neo-liberal corporate school reform consensus, received an early boost to the media in Chicago from former Chicago Board of Education President Gery Chico and former Chicago Schools Chief Executve Officer Paul Vallas during the years between the loss of the White House by the Democratic Party (in the November 2000 election) and the loss of the Chicago Schools CEO position by Vallas in July 2001.

Key to the imposition of New Leaders for New Schools and its teacher bashing "executive leadership" philosophy were the leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, Tom Reece (at CTU) and Beverly Tunney (at CPAA). Underlying the marketing approach of "New Leaders for New Schools" from its inception was the notion, never challenged by the nation's major teacher organizations, that there was a certain type of executive training and experience that would, by definition, make a person more able to lead public schools than experience as a teacher in classroom.

Shortly after Al Gore was defeated by George W. Bush in the November 2000 Presidential Election, a large number of members of the Clinton administration, which had been in power for most of the 1990s (January 1993 through January 2001), faced the prospect of unemployment.

By the time George W. Bush was sworn in as President of the United States in January 2001 (and months before the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City gave the Bush administration the chance to proclaim itself a "war" administration") former federal officials from the Clinton administration's executive departments were being placed in public and private jobs across the country.

One of those officials, a mid-level appointee in the Department of Education, was named John Schnur. As the Clinton administration was leaving the executive branch, Schnur was picked to head another new thing called "New Leaders for New Schools."

Schnur introduced to the media in Chicago

The public announcement of Schnur's new venture was Chicago, where Schnur was introduced to the Chicago media at the monthly press briefings that were held at the law officers of Gery Chico. Gery Chicago was the former City Hall Chief of Staff who was picked by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley to be President of what was called the "Chicago School Reform Board of Trustees" following the vote in the all-Republican Illinois General Assembly to give Daley dictatorial powers over the Chicago public schools in the 1995 "Amendatory Act." 



Comments:

July 12, 2009 at 3:42 PM

By: Valora

Nothing New About Snake Oil Salesmen

“Underlying the marketing approach of "New Leaders for New Schools" from its inception was the notion, never challenged by the nation's major teacher organizations, that there was a certain type of executive training and experience that would, by definition, make a person more able to lead public schools than experience as a teacher in classroom.” – George N. Schmidt

This dead-on analysis lays down the marker for all future candidates for Chicago Teachers Union leadership. Teachers have no representation from any major teacher organization, anywhere, when it comes to classroom instruction. If the integrity of teacher independence in the classroom is not written into the next contract, teaching as we know it is over. Only those teachers who enjoy the comfort of mindless parroting of a publisher’s script will stay in the schools—and not for long, I guarantee.

Critics, who know nothing of what it means to engage 30 little minds in an ongoing delivery of content and skills for 10 months, think that the telemarketer approach will assure uniform reception and synthesis of information by students and thus assure homogenized achievement. They are completely wrong and it is tiresome to keep giving explanations to adults about all the variables that exist in a group of 30 children…or even 3.

As to the second half of George’s statement, I have to borrow an approach that Bill Clinton used (gasp!). “…more able to lead public schools…” depends on the meaning of “lead public schools.” Leading public schools in the Erin Roche New Leaders for New Schools’ manner means to publish a New Leaders for New Schools’ educational philosophy, claim it as your own, purge the building of any undesirables (teachers who immediately recognized that there was no THERE there, and special needs students) much like Omar al-Bashir did in the Sudan, and oversee a staff of Stepford Teachers.

NLNS, epitomized by Erin Roche, is a bigger scam than what Bernie Madoff pulled off. At least in Madoff’s case, officials finally did their jobs in bringing Madoff to justice. Roche is like Styrofoam in a landfill.

July 27, 2009 at 8:45 AM

By: Bernard

Shameful gossip

This is a horrible, filthy gossip column. You should be ashamed of using it to launch personal attacks on public school educators.

July 27, 2009 at 4:04 PM

By: Horrible Filthy Gossiper

Truth Hurts

At least the opinions voiced here about the value of New Leaders for New Schools' educational philosophy don't result in the loss of money by the New Leaders for New Schools principals. Erin Roche has cost Prescott teachers and teacher aides money in so many ways this year that there isn't enough room on this website to print all the horrible filthy truth about him. If you're not one of his victims, you should be ashamed of launching an attack when you don't know what you're talking about.

You at least have a solution to the damage that's been done to your sensibilities. Click Off.

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