Jean-Claude who? Oliver what's his name?... Mercenaries come and go, as 'Accountability' claims from CPS officials ring more and more hollow

One of the featured guys at the dramatic May 22, 2013 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education was the diminutive CPS "Chief Transformation Officer," Todd Babbitz. It was Babbitz who was called upon by the larger CPS "Chief Executive Officer" Barbara Byrd Bennett to deploy another CPS Power Point providing the public with another version of the CPS version of reality.

Sitting behind Babbitz during the dramatic meeting was a guy that observers have nicknamed the CPS "Chief Pacification Officer," the "Ex-Marine" Tom Tyrell, who was hired by CPS less than eight months ago, and whose chief qualifications for his current job seem to be (a) that he can tell reporters he is an "Ex-Marine" and (b) that he was part of the NATO work in the pacification of Kosovo.

And by the weekend following the Board of Education's vote to destroy more than 60 of Chicago's remaining real public schools, mostly by closing them, the papers were reporting promises from Tyrell, Babbitz and Byrd-Bennett that everything would be OK. That every child would be accounted for. That every transition would be smooth.

... just as Oliver Sicat and Jean-Claude Brizard had assured Chicago two years earlier how "accountable" they would be for everything. As in "Trust us."

Oliver who?

Jean-Claude what, where and when?

Flashing back 18 months, Chicago could have heard similar assurances and gotten a different Power Point from three other guys who were prominent at the time. In the months before the closing of schools in 2012, CPS had a "Chief Portfolio Officer" named Oliver Sicat, a former charter school official who was regularly officiously presenting the latest reality, CPS version, in, naturally, Power Point. In those days, the "Chief Portfolio Officer" was often standing beside the then "Chief Executive Officer," a guy from Rochester New York named Jean-Claude Brizard. Sicat has disappeared, as has Brizard. In those days, nobody knew that Chicago would need an "Ex-Marine" to serve as a pacification chieftain after the largest school closing orgy in American History.

And it wasn't until the summer of 2012 that anyone in Chicago knew that the city would need a "Chief Transformation Officer," let alone that the most qualified person for that job would be a guy who had spent his adult life in "consulting" for corporations and have no experience in education.

By the time the current platoon of CPS officials, all hired from out of town and half with their bags still half unpacked (Byrd Bennett can't even get straight what city she's in, telling Fox News last week about the work she is now doing for "Cleveland"...), are done assuring the reporters with the latest round of talking points, CPS will be hiring the next round of Sicats and Brizards.

It's the era of the Mercenary School Official, and Chicago is the place where the largest number of them get their advanced training. By the time the Chicago newspapers were reporting that Byrd Bennett, Tyrell, and Babbitz were going to make sure that every child being undermined by this round of closings was followed, others were taking bets on which of them would be still in town and at the schools in two years. And nobody was betting on the mercs.


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