CTU reacts to CPS 'Five-Year Plan' without noting the sordid history of 'five-year plans' in previous decades... Byrd Bennett lists 'Five Pillars" of the Plan

The officers and staff of the Chicago Teachers Union have resisted the temptation to note the historical ancestors of the most recent announcement by Chicago Public Schools "Chief Executive Officer" Barbara Byrd Bennett -- viz., that she had developed a "Five-Year Plan" for Chicago's schools. As a result, the CTU issued a mild statement by President Karen Lewis noting the irrationality of the latest propaganda announcement from the CPS "Office of Communication."

Substance is not so constrained.

Long before Chicago's Rahm Emanuel became a Time magazine cover boy, TIME showed its political proclivities by featuring Benito Mussolini on its August 6, 1923 cover. The accompanying story, for the fascist's birthday celebration, also celebrated his black shirts' use of castor oil against opponents. Some American plutocrats going back decades have had a proclivity for duces who made the trains run on time -- or at least who claimed they could when nobody dared contradict them.Three facts came immediately to mind as Substance staff read the press materials sent out by CPS and reported in the news: the Autobahn in Germany, castor oil in Italy, and the "Banquo's ghosts..." parading through 125 S. Clark St. That last includes a listing of recent CPS CEOs -- all of whom by the way talked a lot about "accountability" but were never around when the results of their plans and proclivities landed across a city with more than 660 public schools.

As the dwindling number of Chicagoans who get to study history know, "Five-Year Plans" were a favorite of the more notorious tyrants of the 20th Century, from the original fascist, Benito Mussolini, to Germany's Adolph Hitler to Romania's Nicolai Ceausescu. Every Supreme Leader issues Five-Year Plans. And every Supreme Leader's Five-Year Plan's "matrices" (whatever they were called) were always met. All bureaucrats and reporters in those places were too frightened to fail to provide the "data" and "matrices" to make sure that the official reports were verified. Thus, the leadership of the the Supreme Leader (whether he was called "Fuehrer" or something else) was proved by the "data", then praised by the Henry Beinens of the era, who always note superciliously that the "facts" are eternally on their "side".

Another fact of history is that a little over a year ago Barbara Byrd Bennett was dismantling the public schools of Detroit. Before that, she was in charge of gutting the public schools of Cleveland. During those years, she was also training (via the Broad Leadership Academy) like-minded people to take their five-year Power Points plannings to the world.

No one who takes Chicago seriously believes that Barbara Byrd Bennett will be in Chicago by the time the fifth year (or even the third year) of her "Five-Year Plan" arrives. Most are betting she will decamp, along with many of the mercenaries she has brought to town the past six months, to another lucrative position in another city on the ruling class's hit list.

Time magazine's affinity with Five-Year planners, dictators and torturers continued through the ages, as the above March 18, 1966 cover of Romanian Nicolai Ceausescu shows. Time's cover story, like the one decades earlier about Benito Mussolini, praised a "relaxed form of Communism" under the Romanian dictator. Just as in Italy in 1923, Time's reporters were unable to locate those who had had disagreements with the Supreme Leader and his Five-Year plans.But just as a reminder:

Arne Duncan, who has served as "Chief Executive Officer" from July 1, 2001, left CPS in January 2009.

Ron Huberman, an ex-cop and favorite of Mayor Richard M. Daley, became CEO of CPS and served from January 2009 through November 2010, promising at each point that he loved Chicago and wanted nothing more than to serve Chicago's children forever and ever and ever... Until he didn't.

Terry Mazany who had controlled plutocratic philanthropy through the Chicago Community Trust became "interim CEO of CPS" when Huberman jumped ship. Mazany served from November 2010 through April 2011 when...

Jean Claude Brizard was appointed CEO of CPS amid great fanfare by Rahm Emanuel. Brizard served from May 2011 through September 2012, when he was dumped by Emanuel for...

Barbara Byrd Bennett, who has been CEO of CPS from October 2012 through May / June 2013.

And now Byrd Bennett is issuing a "Five-Year Plan" without noting that she is the fifth CPS CEO in less than that amount of time. CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION RESPONSE TO THE FIVE YEAR PLAN:

CTU President Karen Lewis issues statement on CPS's new "five-year action plan"


June 10, 2013 312/329-6250

CHICAGO -Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis released the following statement regarding today's announcement by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) on its proposed five-year action plan:

Time magazine's editors have shown a fondness for fascists for over 90 years, as the cover story of the June 10, 2013 edition of Time, featuring Chicago's Napoleonic mayor Rahm Emanuel, shows. "Our schools communities do not lack inspiration, they lack revenue. It doesn't matter what new initiatives CPS concocts from year to year if it has no way to appropriately fund them (i.e., the longer school day). Chicago has to break its addiction to tax-breaks and find ways to generate revenue for our schools," Lewis said. "This so-called five-year plan is once again done in the silo of CPS without any stakeholders at the table. It is still widely driven by testing and a complete lack of democracy.

"It is amazing that CPS's first impulse, no matter who heads it, is towards an autocratic, top-down approach that people who actually work with kids are expected to implement without the appropriate resources or tools," she continued. "When will CPS understand that having a 'plan' that never includes the voices of parents, students, CPS workers, and a realistic blueprint on how to generate revenue will continue to foster mistrust, alienation and lowered expectations, especially after the tragic closing of 50 schools?"


The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third largest teachers local in the United States and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information please visit CTU's website at



CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett Releases Five-Year District Action Plan, “The Next Generation: Chicago’s Children” Action Plan Establishes Comprehensive Accountability System Tied To Goal Of Providing Every Child in Every Neighborhood With A High-Quality Education

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett today unveiled “The Next Generation: Chicago’s Children,” a comprehensive, 5-year action plan designed to provide every CPS student in every neighborhood across the city with a rigorous, well-rounded instructional program that prepares them for success in college, career and life.

“Every child in every community deserves a high-quality education in a safe learning environment with rich and robust investments that will give them all the tools they need to be successful in school and throughout life,” said CEO Byrd-Bennett. “While the District has made steady progress over the last few years, this plan will put every child on a path toward a 21st high-quality education.”

“The Next Generation – Chicago’s Children” was developed based on feedback from parents, community members, principals, teachers and civic and faith leaders who expressed demand for better educational opportunities. The action plan builds on the Mayor’s educational priority of expanding high-quality options to neighborhoods across Chicago.

“As a city, the most important thing we can do is make sure we offer a bright future for the next generation, and a critical component is ensuring that every child in this city has an education that matches their full potential,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This comprehensive action plan provides a strategic roadmap for achieving this goal, grounded in the idea that with teachers and principals, engaged parents and supportive communities working together, our children can succeed.”

The action plan will act as a roadmap for delivering positive outcomes tied to the District’s five strategic pillars:

Pillar 1: High standards, rigorous curriculum and powerful instruction

CPS is raising standards and improving curriculum through a combination of transitioning to Common Core State Standards, setting more rigorous expectations, and putting in place new academic requirements that will provide children with a well-rounded education. In addition, enhanced professional development for educators and greater opportunities for student learning such as extracurricular activities, afterschool programs, and internships will help challenge students to think critically, spark their creativity, and support their diverse needs.

Pillar 2: Systems of supports that meet all students’ needs

CPS recognizes that every student is unique and high expectations must be coupled with an approach that systematically supports the individual needs of every student. Through the action plan, a greater emphasis will be placed on assisting all schools, especially struggling schools, in providing a safe learning environment, expanding social and emotional learning, using data to inform decision-making, and ensuring every student not only graduates high school but graduates ready with a postsecondary plan.

Pillar 3: Engaged and empowered families and communities

To improve the District’s ability to provide comprehensive support to every child in every neighborhood, CPS must engage and empower families and communities as partners in its work while also raising the rigor and expectations of CPS staff and school leaders. By increasing outreach opportunities and offering more transparent information about the District’s work, CPS will encourage active partnerships with parents and families as well as nonprofits and businesses, universities and community groups, faith-based leaders and government officials, and philanthropists and activists. With parents as active partners in our children’s education, the support and guidance from our great teachers, and community involvement, there is no limit to what our children can achieve.

Pillar 4: Committed and effective teachers, leaders and staff

To fill vacancies within our system, CPS will seek to promote high-performers while recruiting national candidates. For the professionals already serving in our District, performance will be evaluated more thoughtfully through improved evaluations, professional development will be tailored more specifically to meet schools’ and students’ needs, and success will be recognized and rewarded.

Pillar 5: Sound fiscal, operational and accountability systems

Overall, the action plan will be guided by sound fiscal, operational and accountability systems. Every position, program and expenditure will be an investment that is deemed essential to fulfilling the action plan and making progress on the Mayor and CEO’s vision of providing every child in every neighborhood with a high-quality education. A comprehensive accountability system will be put in place to measure performance and progress throughout the District, including in all public schools – neighborhood, charter and contract – and at CPS Central Office. To support the plan’s overall goals, CPS will issue an annual District scorecard that incorporates multiple performance metrics, including evaluations of school climate; feedback from parents, school staff, and students; retention rates of high-performing employees; student attendance; academic growth; graduation rates and college enrollment.

From unprecedented investments in early childhood education to Full Day Kindergarten, a Full School Day, a single school year calendar, and ensuring there are quality principals and teachers in every school, Chicago is building a strong foundation that provides every student with the tools and resources needed to succeed.

“High school graduation is no longer the goal, it is only the starting point,” added CEO Byrd-Bennett. “I faced many of the same challenges that our young people face today, but I know that they can triumph if the adults in their life make it their mission to ensure they achieve their dreams.”


June 10, 2013 at 8:32 PM

By: Susan Zupan



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