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$2 million program tries cheap product placement? New Leaders for New Schools hoists banner at July 20 Huberman Track E media event

Less than a month after the Chicago Board of Education voted without discussion or debate to renew an expensive contract with the group called "New Leaders for New Schools," an advertisement for the group appeared during a media event at Chicago's Piccolo Elementary School on July 20, 2009. According to at least one Board report, the total cost of the Chicago Board of Education's partnership is more than $2 million.

While at least one blog (Chicago's District 299.com) was heating up with comments following a carefully placed press report that the controversial "New Leaders for New Schools" program had tried to recruit First Lady Michelle Obama when she was working for the University of Chicago Hospitals (prior to Barack Obama's rise to the U.S. Senate and then the presidency), "New Leaders" was also promoting itself in less major ways during a small media event in mid-summer in Chicago.

The banner promoting "New Leaders for New Schools" that was placed for TV cameras to record during the July 20, 2009, CPS media event promoting Chicago's "Year Round Schools" program. The event took place at Brian Piccolo school, 1040 N. Keeler. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.On July 20, 2009, Chicago Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman and Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason-Watkins hosted a sun-drenched media event at Piccolo school on Chicago's west side to promote Chicago's expanding "Year-Round Schools" program.

In addition to banners and balloons for the Year-Round Schools event, CPS officials had placed a banner promoting "New Leaders for New Schools" on the school fence adjacent to the small awning under which speakers (including Huberman and Eason-Watkins) were supposed to speak to the press.

There was no official explanation in CPS press materials as to why "New Leaders for New Schools" was being promoted during an event that was unrelated to "New Leaders for New Schools." Neither the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association (CPAA) or the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) was present or featured during the July 20 Piccolo school event. Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman (above, at podium) addresses a crowd during the media event promoting Chicago's year-round schools on July 20, 2009 at Piccolo school. In addition to the placement of the "New Leaders for New Schools" banner (which was behind the photographer when this photograph was taken), CPS had difficulty getting its announcement regarding the starting date (August 10) for the new "Track E" schools in TV shots of the event. The balloons which decorated the awning under which Huberman and others spoke blocked a reading of the banner in the background (above). The Track E banner (which is in front of every "Track E" public school in Chicago) reads: "School Starts Monday, August 10, for TRACK E Schools".
It is not yet known how much confusion will be caused by the "August 10" message for children and families who are not in TRACK E schools. The regular school year begins for most families on September 8. During the July 20 media event, it was clear that many of the neighbors of Piccolo school — where Huberman spoke and then walked two blocks adjacent to the school distributing back packs to children — were confused about why top Chicago school officials were holding a "back to school" walkabout in the middle of July. Ostensibly, the July 20 Piccolo event was a back-to-school promotion for a school year which is either beginning August 10 (for Track E schools) or September 8 (for the majority of Chicago schools and children). Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.
Given the fact that Chicago's version of year-round schools (which retain the 170-day school year but shift school starting and vacation dates around) under "Track E" is affecting hundreds of principals and thousands of teachers for the first time this summer, the advertisement for New Leaders for New Schools was, to say the least, a puzzle...

New Leaders for New Schools has been given preferential treatment by the Chicago Board of Education over the years, despite the fact that many of its product, in part because of their lack of teaching experience in Chicago's challenging public schools, develop difficulties in the city's more challenging schools. Some critics have compared them to the so-called "90-day wonders" who were produced as military officers during the height of World War II and other conflicts. As the military allowed more and more inexperienced or partly trained men and women into the officer corps, rank-and-file (enlisted, in the case of the military) morale was often undermined, dangers increased because of inexperience, and casualties that were avoidable were often taken. The satiric depiction of such in movies from "Attack" to "Patton" was a mainstay of the post-World War II Hollywood movie.

On June 24, 2009, the Chicago Board of Education had approved the fourth renewal of a contract with New Leaders for New School without discussion or debate. According to Board Report 09-0624-PR33 (June 24, 2009, "Approve Exercising the Fourth Option to Renew Joint Participation Agreement with New Leaders for New Schools to Provide Principal Internship Services"), CPS will pay the group $156,000 for the latest iteration of the contract CPS began under Arne Duncan.

According to the "Scope of Services" description in the Board Report: "The Principal Internship Program is a 1-year program that is designed to develop candidates for principal and assistant principal positions in the Chicago Public Schools. Training will begin with a 5-week summer institute that includes case-based and problem-based coursework focused on instructional leadership, community leadership, and the management of systems, people, and financial resources. NLNS will provide additional training throughout the year. For the practicum component, each New Leader Resident will be placed with a mentor principal in a Chicago Public School for the 2009-2010 Academic Year and will gradually assume principal duties. NLNS will continue to select and supervise the mentor principals, hire related principals to oversee the internships, coach mentor principals and New Leader Residents as needed, and provide follow-up services. The specific roles and responsibilities of the Board and NLNS will be specified in the Joint Participation Agreement."

The FINANCIAL section of the Board Report reads as follows:

"Source of Funds: Title II Teacher Quality

"13815-353-51100-221316-494025-2010:

$2,138,406.

"13815-353-54125-221307-494025-2010:

$156,000

" 

Final edited version of this article posted at www.substancenews.net July 23, 2009, 1:00 a.m. CDT. If you choose to reproduce this article in whole or in part, or any of the graphical material included with it, please give full credit to SubstanceNews as follows: Copyright © 2009 Substance, Inc., www.substancenews.net. Please provide Substance with a copy of any reproductions of this material and we will let you know our terms. We are asking all of our readers to either subscribe to the print edition of Substance (a bargain at $16 per year) or make a donation. Both options are available on the right side of our Home Page. For further information, feel free to call us at our office at 773-725-7502.



Comments:

July 21, 2009 at 1:55 PM

By: Transparency Where Are You?

Conflict of Interest Big Time

Let's see. Erin Roche gets fired by the Ravenswood LSC. It's later reported by the Prescott Principal Selection Committee that AIO, James Cosme worked hard to get Roche into the Prescott job right away, even telling them that they HAD to give Roche a 4-year contract, not a 2-year interim contract.

LSC member, Jennifer Lister, allegedly threw a tantrum when a different candidate was picked as first choice and called the first choice, who then bowed out of the running.

A former teacher who is now a New Leaders for New Schools principal may have already been accepted into the NLNS program at the time she was on the Principal Selection Committee and casting her vote for Roche, but didn't disclose that interesting fact.

Supposedly, Lister is in communication with Cosme all the time and used to dial up Arne during Prescott council meetings.(What a celebrity Lister is!)

Now we have CPS acting as publicity agents for NLNS. Is it any wonder that Prescott teachers and parents can’t get Board members to even work up a sweat about Roche’s unprofessionalism?

Follow the money, folks.

July 23, 2009 at 1:38 AM

By: Union Busting

Collusion in the Open

while hundreds of veteran teachers are terminated and displaced CTU is advertising for CPS for new teacher training.

What about protecting the teachers and filing a grievance that the board is violating the contract by firing teachers and then hiring new younger teachers to get around tenure and seniority.

CPS will hold seminar for new teachers

http://www.ctunet.com/newsnotes.html

Click here for more information.

http://www.ctunet.com/assets/New_Teachers_Summer_Academy_flyer_FINAL%20(2).pdf

New teachers participating in the following programs will receive intensive professional development and coaching support directly from these partners rather than CNTC: Academy for Urban School Leadership, Chicago Teaching Fellows, Inner-City Teaching Corps, Teach For America, Chicago Teacher Advancement Program (TAP), and Fresh Start.

I do not know how much lower the union can go! This is even worse that the 88 dollar cash washes Stewart gets on a regular basis for her union paid Cadillac.

John Kugler

kuglerjohn@comcast.net

July 23, 2009 at 11:11 PM

By: Judy H.

I know this will be unpopular but...

the problem with many of the schools is the fact that there are more than a few veteran teachers are sitting on their a**es doing nothing but collecting a paycheck while young, talented teachers get cut due to lack of seniority. I know at my school, the best 3 teachers in the building were cut due to the lowest on the seniority pole while there are literally 5 veteran teachers sitting pretty, doing nothing but spreading negativity, and are comfortable in their positions because they are high on the seniority scale. This is a disgrace! This is exactly one of the reasons why Unions don't work.

They may "protect" veteran teachers from principals, but who is "protecting" many of our children from the veteran teachers doing NOTHING in their classrooms???? Something needs to be done about this! I keep seeing George refer to the "purges" happening. In my opinion, many of the "purges" really need to be the veteran teachers who do nothing to help the children, refuse to go back for any furthering education, and simply collect a paycheck!

July 24, 2009 at 10:10 AM

By: Margaret Wilson

Retired teacher

To: Judy H.

While I agree that there are some teachers who do nothing and are protected, it is not true of the vast majority. Teachers do not stay in education for the money because with our education, we could be paid much more in the private sector. It is also not true that teachers don't go back for more education. About ten years, a bill was passed that teachers must complete a certain number of hours of continuing education every year. In most cases, school inservices don't count and the teachers have to seek the hours elsewhere. In the suburbs, teachers are paid to go back to school or take workshops, etc. In Chicago, teachers have to absorb the expense. I can remember one week-long workshop that I took during the summer at Lutheran General Hospital, I was the only Chicago teacher and the only one who had to pay my own way. The suburban teachers were making a great deal more than me and didn't have to purchase as much for their classrooms out of their own pocket and their districts were picking up the tab for the class. Fair? No. but I think it was proof that Chicago teachers are dedicated because we did it anyway.

July 27, 2009 at 3:15 PM

By: Chicago Educator

Do your research

Your lack of research is astounding. Ms. Hammond, the principal at Piccolo, went through the New Leaders program, as did one of the APs. It's not really that much of a mystery.

July 27, 2009 at 5:20 PM

By: Sealthea

Who's Paying Whom?

The mystery is why the institution that a principal attended in order to get his/her Type 75 should be advertised on the school fence. Let's have the Board print up banners for every principal's university, please. I'm sure that Roosevelt, et al will be delighted.

But why stop there? If it is of concern to the public at which place the principal attended for the Type 75, I'm sure we'd like to know which coffee shop, fast food joint, grocery store, doctor, dentist, and religious sanctuary contributed to the making of a leader.

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