Does the sign over CPS read 'Chicago teachers, principals, and dogs need not apply'?... Donoso purge shows push to purge all remaining teachers from top ranks of Chicago Public Schools administration... Rahm's minions add to the ranks of outsiders at CPS vetted by the Broad Foundation

One of the brittle memories of every immigrant or minority group member who ever suffered discrimination in the USA is how that discrimination was expressed. The most notorious examples from the history of the USA, of course, are the "White Only" and "Coloreds" washrooms and fountains (and hundreds of other things) that prompted, finally, the civil rights marches and sit-ins of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Less widely known, but etched into the memory of every Irish family in the USA still to this day, were the famous signs in New York want ads in the 1850s and 1860s "Irish and dogs need not apply."

The original ad from the London Times (February 1862) was treated to a song written in the USA in 1862. Discrimination against Irish-Americans, along with a great deal of racism in the community, led to the deadly "Draft Riots" of 1863 in New York City. Virtually every immigrant group coming to the USA has faced discrimination, but rarely have veteran teachers and principals been excluded from leadership roles in their own home towns, as the administration of Rahm Emanuel and Jean-Claude Brizard are now doing in Chicago in 2012.Under the administration of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his hand picked hand puppet Jean-Claude Brizard, there is now a sign over the headquarters of the Chicago Public Schools that might as well read: "Veteran Chicago teachers, principals and dogs need not apply..." As April ended and May 2012 began, Chicago's public schools "Chief Executive Officer" Jean-Claude Brizard (who, one year ago, was still the controversial lame duck superintendent in Rochester New York), Brizard once again showed his bias against Chicago's veteran teachers and principals.

Chicago Teachers, Principals, and Dogs Need Not Apply...

Despite the claim by Broad Foundation protegé Jean-Claude Brizard that he is really a "teacher," the continued purge of the top ranks of Chicago public schools' administration of anyone who has any idea (even, as was the case with Donoso, most as a result of charter schools experience) of what the reality of a Chicago classroom is like. The struggles creating the "chaos" (as described by Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis) at the top of the nation's third largest school system is the direct result of the decision by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to replace teachers and other educators with hundreds of people whose qualifications to lead the schools come as a result of the fact that their families could afford to pay for their education long enough for them to get MBA degrees from the nation's most expensive colleges and universities.

The Broad Foundation, bankrolled by California billionaire Eli Broad (easy to find through Google) has been running a training program for school superintendents and an internship program for underemployed overeducated MBAs for more than a decade. Most of the recent administrative appointees in Chicago have no Illinois teaching or administrative credentials or experience, but have been vetted by Eli Broad himself or his protegés, in the person locally of Jean-Claude Brizard.

Barbara Byrd Bennett (above left) testified before the Michigan legislature with Robert Bobb in February 2011 (above) during the process of dismantling the remaining public schools in Detroit. Both Byrd Bennett and Bobb were brought into Detroit from outside to provide the proper diversity for the job of privatizing and charterizing as much of what was left of Detroit as possible, while completing the job of busting the Detroit Federation of Teachers.While Chicago's teachers and principals were busy with the challenges of educating the real children of Chicago in the real classrooms of the second decade of the 21st Century — facing the daily tragedies of a world created by ruthless "Race To The Top" monopoly capitalism — those who rule the schools were replacing everything left about education with bizarre models and expensive gimmicks designed to enable the maximum profit of those who are in 2012 called "edupreneurs."

After criticism of the CPS leadership over the recent departure of Noemi Donoso (who had served as Chief Education Officer) and Barbara Bowman (who had served as Chief Early Childhood Officer), CPS officials moved quickly to appoint two people to replace them.

To the surprise of few who are carefully watching the school system as it moves away from Chicago's realities, both of the new appointees are heading into town from outside Chicago.

The following press release was issued by CPS late in the day on April 30, 2012:

Chicago Public Schools Names Two Key District Leadership Posts. CEO Brizard Taps Experienced Educators as Interim Chief Education Officer and Early Childhood Officer

CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today [April 30, 2012] announced two new appointments to key education posts. CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard named Barbara Byrd Bennett as Chief Education Advisor and Elizabeth (Beth) Mascitti-Miller as new Early Childhood Officer.

Following the May 31st resignation of the District’s current Chief Education Officer, Bennett will assume the role of Interim Officer overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Chief Education Office (CEdO) and provide support to the CEdO leadership team during this transition. Bennett is an experienced educator who has served in multiple leadership roles at national, state and district levels across the country from district superintendent and CEO, to executive coach for school superintendents, and as a teacher for 12 years.

“Barbara Byrd Bennett is a seasoned and respected leader with depth and expertise across a broad spectrum of education issues,” Brizard said. “She has the experience to step in on day one and provide the leadership required to support critical reform initiatives designed to drive student achievement across the District.”

Bennett served as the Chief Executive Officer for the Cleveland Municipal School District and as Supervising Superintendent for the Chancellor’s District in New York City in the late 1990s. She also has served as Chief Academic and Accountability Auditor for Detroit Public Schools’ Emergency Financial Manager and was an Executive Officer for New Leaders for New Schools. She is a national education consultant and has served as an executive coach for the Broad Superintendents’ Academy, a highly competitive professional academy that offers administrative training and managerial preparation for prospective superintendents of large urban school districts.

Bennett received her bachelor’s degree from Long Island University, her master’s from New York University, and a second master’s from Pace University. She has received honorary doctorates from Cleveland State University, Baldwin-Wallace College, John Carroll University and Notre Dame.

Beth Mascitti Miller had just been appointed deputy superintendent of schools in Rochester New York when Jean-Claude Brizard got the call from Eli Broad and Rahm Emanuel to continue the corporate agenda in Chicago's public schools. On April 30, 2012, Brizard announced that he was bringing her to Chicago to replace long-time Chicagoan Barbara Bowman as head of Chicago's early childhood programs. Once again, anyone from outside Chicago with a Broad pedigree is more "qualified" to lead in Chicago's public schools under the mayoral control regime of Rahm Emanuel.The new Early Childhood Officer, Beth Mascitti-Miller, is currently deputy superintendent of teaching and learning in Rochester, N.Y. Brizard said she brings a wealth of experience to CPS drawn from her work as teacher, principal and administrator.

“Beth will provide outstanding leadership to the Office of Early Childhood Education,” Brizard said. “With Early Childhood as one of our top District priorities, we will look to Beth for guidance in developing programs and initiatives that will allow our youngest students to grow and thrive at this critical stage of development.”

Mascitti-Miller began her teaching career at a school for students with severe disabilities in Rochester, and later became the school’s preschool education director. Over the years Mascitti-Miller has held a variety of administrative positions at the elementary and middle school level. Two years ago, she assumed the role of Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning in the Rochester City School District and is responsible for the city’s zone school chiefs and instructional directors.

Under her direction, teaching and learning reform initiatives have included continued development of an on- line district-wide curriculum framework, including the Common Core State Standards.

Mascitti-Miller received her undergraduate degree from Syracuse University and her master’s degree from Nazareth College. She earned an administrative degree from State University of New York at Brockport and is currently a doctoral candidate at St. John Fisher College.

Last Friday, the District’s Chief Education Officer, Dr. Noemi Donoso, announced her resignation, effective May 31st, to pursue national projects that will support the next generation of leaders in urban education. Barbara Bowman, Chief Early Childhood Officer, also announced that she is leaving the District after more than eight years under contract in that role to return to the Erickson Institute, which she co-founded.

The Chicago Public Schools serves approximately 405,000 students in more than 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school system.


May 1, 2012 at 8:57 AM

By: John Kugler

Barbara Byrd-Bennett is a Professional Union Buster


Posted on 02/16/2011 by Diane Bukowski

LANSING—Hat in hand, Detroit Public Schools (DPS) czar Robert Bobb and his Chief Academic Accountability Officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett begged a Feb. 9 joint meeting of the House and Senate Education Committees for legislation that would ensure approval of another $219 million deficit bond by the end of March.

The legislation has not yet been presented, but Bobb said it was being drafted.

Several Democratic legislators subjected the two to severe criticism for Bobb’s actions in slashing school services while still not reducing the district’s alleged $327 million deficit. The Committee chairs, Sen. Phil Pavlov and Rep. Paul Scott, and other Republican legislators were skeptical that DPS could repay the debt and said they opposed additional financial burdens being placed on the state.

We are not asking for the school district debt burden to be shifted to the state,” Bobb said. “Enacting this legislation will not cost the state one dime. This legislation is not a request for a cash infusion in any way. And this legislation does not in any way ask for the school district’s debt burden to be shifted to the state.”

He said later, “The state intercepts the district’s foundation allowance [per pupil aid] to ensure debt service.” This was the first time he has publicly acknowledged that a state trustee gets DPS’ entire allowance, then withholds what he considers necessary to pay the district’s debt before turning over the remainder to DPS.

His presentation shed light on the willingness of district officials to submit to draconian proposals by the Republican-dominated legislature expanding the powers of Emergency Financial Managers across the state, while closing schools, laying off workers and privatizing school services.

As minority vice chair of the House Education Committee, Sen. Pavlov wrote a bill last year to give the EFM power over academics, dated January 14, 2010, which died at the end of that session. (Read bill at Pavlov EFM bill 2010-HIB-5747. (See accompanying story on Senate committee meeting on EFM powers held Feb. 9 in the afternoon, and currently proposed bills.)

Eighty-seven percent of state DPS per-pupil aid this year, $512 million out of $590.5 million, was already set aside by the state trustee for debt payments, according to documents previously published on the DPS website, but since removed. (See chart below, go to to read previous article.)

Bobb said former DPS CEO Kenneth Burnley gave Financial Security Assistance, now Assured Guaranty Municipal Corporation (AGM), the right to sign off on all short term borrowings when Burnley borrowed $210 million in 2005, in order to guarantee repayment of that 15-year loan.

Bobb said if approval of the new loan is not forthcoming, payments on the 2005 debt would rise from $22 million a year to $39.5 million.

He did not say how much interest AGM is charging, but it is likely substantial.

AGM is a subsidiary of the $ billion Bermuda-based Assured Guaranty Ltd. (AGL), which is backed by billionaire Wilbur Ross. According to Bloomberg News, Wall Street bond rating agency Standard & Poors (S&P) just downgraded AGL’s ratings one tier, leaving AGL in an uproar.

“Shares of Assured Guaranty Ltd., the only active investment-grade rated municipal bond insurer, fell the most in three months . . . .” Bloomberg reported.

It said the two biggest bond insurers, MBIA Inc. and Ambac Financial Group Inc, along with most of the rest of the industry lost their top AAA ratings in 2008 as a result of the mortgage payment meltdown.

S&P has now proposed changes in its methods for evaluating bond insurers.

“Among the biggest proposed changes to S&P’s ratings criteria is a new leverage test to assess the amount of risk (ed. italics) a bond insurer is assuming from guaranteeing debt relative to the capital it holds,” Bloomberg said in its Jan. 24, 2011 article.

Bobb said, “Because of all the national headlines raising concerns about municipal and school district bankruptcies, Assured is looking to protect the DPS debt it insures from a potential filing even though the district has no plans to engage in such an action.”

Bobb then ticked off numerous attacks on DPS that he has initiated since the beginning of his tenure in March, 2009.

“It is vitally important that the Emergency Financial Manager must remove the rot from the system he is involved in,” Bobb said. He blamed the district’s current alleged deficit of $327 million on previous administrations over the last 11 years.

The “rot,” said Bobb, included 59 schools he has closed, with another 30 to 40 schools on the chopping block. He threatened a total of 70 more schools would be closed if the loan is not approved.

He boasted of concessions made by the Detroit Federation of Teachers under Keith Johnson, including deferment of $500 a month in pay, an assault on the “Holy Grail” of teacher seniority which excludes 52 schools from bumping in the event of lay-offs, and a new teacher evaluation system for all schools.

He boasted of the lay-offs of 232 security officers, 384 transportation workers, and the recent elimination of 823 custodial, maintenance and engineering positions, along with their outsourcing to the notorious union-buster Sodexo and other companies.

Despite a ruling by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Wendy Baxter last December which barred Bobb from interfering in academics in his role as EFM, Bobb also boasted that he had developed a “long-term” academic plan for the district. Baxter just re-affirmed that ruling Feb. 12.

Governor Rick Snyder did not announce the extension of Bobb’s contract beyond two years, through June, 2011, in violation of Public Act 72, until Feb. 14. But members of the committee spoke of it as a done deal, as have Detroit Board of Education President Anthony Adams and a number of union leaders.

“Why should the state keep you on when you have not been able to prevent these deficits and possible bankruptcy?” asked State Sen. Coleman Young II (D-Detroit). “The legacy debt was created beginning with the 1999 state takeover. The state has violated Art. 9, Sec.29 of the state constitution which prohibits the imposition of non-funded mandates.

Sec. 32 says that any citizen can file suit to enforce this provision.”

Young evidently referred to the state’s insistence on the district’s maintenance of a balanced budget while providing no funds to see that it happens. Text of State constitutional citations is below.

“MICHIGAN CONSTITUTION Sec. 29 State financing of activities or services required of local government by state law. The state is hereby prohibited from reducing the state financed proportion of the necessary costs of any existing activity or service required of units of Local Government by state law. A new activity or service or an increase in the level of any activity or service beyond that required by existing law shall not be required by the legislature or any state agency of units of Local Government, unless a state appropriation is made and disbursed to pay the unit.

Sec. 32. Suit to enforce sections 25 to 31. Any taxpayer of the state shall have standing to bring suit in the Michigan State Court of Appeals to enforce the provisions of Sections 25 through 31, inclusive, of this Article and, if the suit is and, if the suit is sustained, shall receive from the applicable unit of government his costs.”

“You have said repeatedly that you are not asking the state to pick up the debt and intend to close up to 70 schools leaving 62 students in a class,” State Rep. Tommie Stallworth (D-Detroit), said. “This absolutely results in failure, which we cannot afford as a state. During at least nine of the 11 years you cited in which DPS incurred deficits, DPS was under state control.”

State Rep. Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield) blasted Bobb’s labor and travel policies.

“Why did you contract with Sodexo to save $75 million when according to the Detroit News and Free Press, the unions said they put a $92 million savings proposal on the table? With the number of consultants you’ve hired, why did we hire you? Your budget shows travel expenses of $900,000 in one month, $12,000 to the Sheraton Hotel. The food suppliers you choose are not the cheapest.”

Bobb denied the union savings were real and claimed that his use of Sodexo did not disadvantage current DPS workers. He said his consultants will go when he does, although he also said other officers he hired included the district’s auditor general have three year contracts and will remain.

Helen Moore of Keep the Vote No Takeover, Russ Bellant, and former DPS music teacher Callie Smith traveled all the way from Detroit to testify at the hearing. Pavlov dismissed the committee meeting without hearing from them or from the president of the Detroit School Board Anthony Adams. They did testify that afternoon at a joint Senate committee session and their testimony is presented in the following article.

May 1, 2012 at 9:00 AM

By: John Kugler

Paid for by Corporate Club

Bellant, who has done clandestine research on the district’s financial practices, said Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Bobb’s Chief Academic and Accountability Officer, is required be contract to work only two days a week for her $200,000 salary. He said she brought in a team of her friends from the Cleveland school district (where her husband still lives) at high-paying salaries and has had an otherwise checkered past (ed: reflected in the following commentary from Cool Cleveland):

The real problem with the high spending from a special fund by Cleveland CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett wasn't totally about what she extravagantly spent. More important was where she got the dough. Although distasteful, the fancy dinners and trips to London and Hawaii were peanuts in comparison with the cost incurred by Cleveland schoolchildren by Byrd Bennett's co-opting by Cleveland's Corporate Club. She’s being pampered (fed money to entertain herself and others) by the Cleveland Foundation, Gund Foundation and Cleveland Tomorrow (so discredited that it recently changed its name to Greater Cleveland Partnership). They give her dough to do this fancy stuff so that it wouldn't come from public funds, thus likely not be revealed in a school system now run essentially as a private club for its hierarchy, including its mayoral-named school board.

Byrd Bennett, the $300,000 wonder, complains she wasn't cavorting on the taxpayers' dime. Actually, worse -- the money she's taking came from those who siphon off gobs of taxpayer's money -- particularly from Cleveland schools -- every chance they get to pocket it. Tax abatements, exemptions and reductions on property taxes are their game. The spending became public because of statements in a document of State Auditor Betty Montgomery. Pumped up TV news outlets had their own orgy with the revelations that startled Byrd Bennett, not accustomed to being treated as a mere mortal. What does this funding by private sources mean? It means that she becomes indebted to their leaders. Who are their leaders? The people who run the town and the people hired to do their bidding. This control of the public agenda by these experts in manipulation and subtle propaganda is old stuff, though. Walter Lippmann, in one of his treatise on public decision making, divided decision making into two segments: the "responsible men" -- the Corporates -- who make the decisions -- and the "bewildered herd" -- the rest of us who have to live with the verdicts of our betters.

So, when you think of the 600 or so teachers and 300 others ready to be laid off, when you think of the school children who won't have proper textbooks, and when you think of the kids who won't have sports and extra curricular activities, think Cleveland Foundation, Gund Foundation and Cleveland Tomorrow. Why? Because the schools should have asked for a levy last year. Why didn't they? Because the people who run the town, i.e., the people of the institutions mentioned above, intent upon getting Cleveland and Cuyahoga County to buy them a new Convention Center.”

by Cool Cleveland contributor Roldo Bartimole

May 4, 2012 at 12:27 AM

By: John Kugler

Successful at What?

so on eof these cronys is coming from detroit and hailed as a good leader. lets see what the news has to say:

"We're walking out to try and save our public school system," said Raychel, a 17-year-old student attending Western. "It's on its way to being privatized and we think that we deserve equal opportunity and an equal education."

She said the district's state-appointed emergency manager, Roy Roberts, has been unresponsive to efforts to meet with students.

Wasko said Southwestern parents failed to participate in a two-day retreat with DPS officials and the Detroit Parent Network held last week that would have addressed some concerns.

The Wednesday action marks the second walkout by DPS students in less than a month. According to the Detroit Free Press, 50 students were suspended after leaving their classrooms at Detroit's Frederick Douglass Academy on March 29 to protest a lack of teachers and the removal of the school's principal.

Detroit High School Walkouts At Southwestern High, Western High Look To Stop School's Closure,b=facebook

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