What budget deficit? Chicago Public Schools continues expanding the bureaucracy it said it cut by adding a new department and another outside consultant as a top administrator

Most teachers from Chicago may have disagreed with Vice President Joe Biden about the Obama administration's Race to the Top program (and the continued work of former Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan as U.S. Secretary of Education) when Biden spoke to the national convention of the American Federation of Teachers on Sunday, July 29, 2012. But few of those who heard Biden's forceful speech would disagree with one of the signature lines of his remarks to the delegates representing the union's 1.5 million members: "Don't tell me what you value," Biden repeated a couple of times, quoting his father. "Show me your budget and I'll tell you what you value."

And while the leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union were in Detroit representing their union's 30,000 members and listening to Biden, Biden's former White House colleague was continuing his trashing of Chicago teachers by appointing yet another outsider to a top position in the administration of the nation's third largest school system, and creating a completely new department while doing so, during the time that CPS claims it is facing an "unprecedented" deficit.

In a press release dated July 26, 2012, but not provided to most of the press (or to Substance) until it was discovered on line three days later, the Chicago Board of Education's expensive "Office of Communications" announced the latest appointment of someone from outside teaching and public education to a top executive position. The press release announced the appointment of another guy from the world of consulting — and another person whose main qualification for educational leadership in Chicago is an MBA from the University of Chicago (full disclosure: this reporter's undergraduate alma mater) — Todd Babbitz to the $195,000-per-year position of "Chicago Transformation Officer", head of the newly created "Office of Strategy Management." For the first time in the more than 150 year history of Chicago's public schools, the school system has apparently discovered two of the important things it was lacking: a "Chief Transformation Officer" and an outsider with management consulting experience to lead its "Office of Strategy Management."

The CPS press release came out on line the day after the Board's July 25, 2012 meeting, which featured widespread protest from teachers, parents, and students.

Those who were able to read the "Proposed Budget, 2012 - 2013" (not one copy of the budget had been distributed to the public in print prior to the quickie budget hearings reported earlier at substancenews) knew this was coming. The "Office of Strategy Management" was already in the proposed budget, although it's not clear how Brizard was legally able to create the office before the Board passed the budget creating the office (the Board of Education postponed consideration of the Proposed Budget at its July 25 meeting). According to the Proposed Budget:

KEY BUDGET INITIATIVES From the Office of Strategy Management will be:

Manage ongoing refinement and execution of the overall district strategy

Provide project leadership for key initiatives by establishing clear goals, metrics and


Provide timely and complete performance updates and facilitate action-oriented performance

dialogues to ensure progress

Support CPS leadership team in problem-solving and removing barriers to achieving districtwide


The new Office of Strategy Management is supposed to have a budget of $1,212,236 for the 2012 - 2013 school year and have ten positions in it. Given that Babbitz's position alone, at a salary of $195,000 per year plus benefits, will cost a quarter million dollars, it's highly likely that the budget for the office that hasn't yet been approved will wind up at a considerably higher price than $1.2 million, but CPS has been less than "transparent" with such things, while talking constantly about "transparency."


CEO Brizard Names Chief Transformation Officer to Lead New Office of Strategy Management Skilled change agent to drive implementation of plan and ensure CPS’ vision for success remains on track. July 26, 2012

CHICAGO – The Chicago Board of Education yesterday approved the appointment of Todd Babbitz as Chief Transformation Officer for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to oversee the newly created Office of Strategy Management (OSM). The highly anticipated position and office is critical to ensuring the District remains focused on its long-term vision for improving the quality of education for CPS students.

CPS has identified and begun to create the conditions necessary to improve the educational opportunities for all students in the District. These range from providing additional instructional time to give teachers and students the time needed to boost achievement to implementing the rigorous Common Core Standards and improving accountability systems at all levels. The District has focused on leadership development, engaging families as partners, and adding proven and innovative school models that will effectively meet the demands of families in communities across the city.

Through the new OSM, Babbitz will work across all CPS departments guiding day-to-day execution to ensure alignment with overall District strategies. He will serve as a strategic thought partner for senior leadership and drive the organization to implement effectively the initiatives laid out by the administration.

"The task for my team at CPS isn't to start the education reform process in Chicago, it's to complete it thoroughly, deliberately and systemically," said CEO Brizard. "That is why we are extremely excited to welcome Todd to CPS. He brings an incredibly dynamic strategic experience that we need to ensure we are carrying out the long term vision we have set for this District and for our students."

Babbitz has experience as a change agent having made his mark with McKinsey & Company consulting Fortune 500 organizations undergoing major transformation. He most recently was Chief Marketing Officer, Benefits Outsourcing for Hewitt Associates, where he led strategy and strategic marketing for a $1.5 billion business unit and previously served as a partner at the Chicago-based law firm of McDermott Will & Emery, focusing on antitrust law.

"As the son of a teacher and as a new parent, I have the greatest respect and appreciation for the vital and challenging roles that teachers, school administrators, communities and parents play in educating our children and helping them to reach their full potential," Babbitz said. "I look forward to using my experience from my business and legal careers to improve the execution of Chicago Public Schools' strategies, in pursuit of a shared mission of preparing every student, in every community, to succeed in college and career."

Babbitz has an MBA from the University of Chicago's then-Graduate School of Business (now the Booth School). He earned his JD from the University of Michigan Law School and his BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.