DETROIT NOW LEADS CHICAGO SCOOLS: Rahm's school 'team' -- the detroiting of Chicago... The majority of top executives hired by the Chicago Board of Education during the past 18 months came from other cities -- with the most coming after they helped 'bankrupt' Detroit!

Rahm Emanuel may be warning Chicago about becoming Detroit, but at the same time his school board is promoting what can only be called the "detroiting" of Chicago. A half dozen members of the "team" brought into Chicago to run the public schools during the past eight months came from Detroit public schools. And Chicago's school board voted to pay for them to move to Chicago.

Chicago Schools Chief Executive Officer Barbara Byrd Bennett was awarded a quarter million dollar per year contract at the October 2012 Board meeting, following the Board's termination (with a golden parachute) of her predecessor, Jean-Claude Brizard. At the December 2012 Board meeting (above), she continued adding expensive Detroit school administrators to her "cabinet" by creating the $170,000 per year position for Tracy Martin Thompson. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. The current Barbara Byrd Bennett contract was approved on October 24, 2012: “The Chief Executive Officer’s base salary shall be $250,000. The Board shall pay the Chief Executive Officer $30,000 for relocation and transition expenses incurred by her in connection with her acceptance of this position…” The duration of the contract is from October 12, 2012 to June 30, 2015. The Board did not discuss the contract in public during the meeting, nor has the Board ever described or discussed why it began paying "relocation and transition expenses" to newly hired out-of-town bureaucrats expanding radically since 2011.

The claims made by CPS and City Hall officials during the era of Rahm Emanuel can usually be counted on to be the opposite of the facts actually happening. The mayor and his school board talk about "transparency," then cover up as many expensive public costs as possible. Members of the Board talk at public meetings about "hiring locally", but then hire most executive positions for the "cabinet" of the Chicago Executive Officer from other cities.

All of these decisions are kept from the public. Andrea Zopp, a member of the Board, currently serves as CEO of the Chicago Urban League. Wearing her Urban League hat, she promotes equity and minority hiring in Chicago (and from the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund). Meanwhile, she routinely votes, without public disclosure, to hire out of towners at six-figure salaries for the most powerful positions in Chicago's public schools.

One of the many picket signs devoted to the machinations of Chicago's mayor during the 2012 strike said (above): "How do you know when Rahm Emanuel is lying? His mouth is open!" During his first summer, Rahm held public hearings on the city budget. The second year, he claimed the city was more "transparent," but refused to hold public hearings. Every day, Chicago's mayor is staging publicity stunt media events to announce the addition of corporate "jobs" to the Chicago economy, while his own school board has been hiring only out of town administrators for the CEO's "cabinet" for more than a year. Substance photo by Kati Gilson.All seven of the members of the Chicago Board of Education are appointed, without public input, by Mayor Rahm Emanuel under the terms of the 1995 "Amendatory Act," which created the nation's first iteration of mayoral control. The mayor also appoints the "Chief Executive Officer" of the city's public schools. (The Chicago Public Schools have not had a superintendent since 1995).

The December 2012 meeting of Chicago's Board of Education was a good day for high paid executives from Detroit's public schools who know nothing about Chicago. That day, Barbara Byrd Bennett, in a press release, announced five new executive level appointments to her "cabinet." Two of them were being imported from Detroit, paid six figure salaries in Chicago, and also awarded moving expenses! (Called "relocation" in current CPS jargon). The Board members had no public discussion of the appointments. Here is the Press Release version:

First, the appointment of Jack Elsey to the newly created "Office of Innovation and Incubation".

"Chief Innovation and Incubation Officer, Jack Elsey: The Office of Innovation and Incubation will ensure that all new schools, schools that are phasing-in additional grades, or growing in programs or student population will receive the supports they need to be successful. The formerly known Office of Portfolio will report to the Office of Innovation and Incubation and will be focused on “quality school” support for growth regardless of school operator type. Student enrollment will fall under this office and will be working toward a more inclusive enrollment process with more choices for students and families. This office is also expected to bring forward innovative learning strategies to test and pilot throughout the District.

Two months after he was hired from Detroit to become Chicago's "Chief Officer for Innovation and Incubation," Jack Elsey (above at podium) was presented to the members of Rahm Emanuel's Board of Education under the watchful eye of Chief Executive Officer Barbara Byrd Bennett. At the February 27, 2013 meeting of the Board, Elsey presented a Power Point going over what his department was going to do to innovate and incubate. At no time did the members of the Chicago Board of Education explain in public why Chicago needed an "Office of Innovation and Incubation", let alone why the best person in the USA to head it had been working in Detroit as the city collapsed and the city's teachers faced massive layoffs and pay and benefit cuts of as much as 50 percent. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt."As Chief Innovation and Incubation Officer, Jack Elsey will bring creative new approaches to grow performance across the District by ensuring high-quality educational options are available throughout the city. At Detroit Public Schools, Elsey served as Assistant Superintendent where he focused on creating and piloting systems that strategically use data to drive instructional and operational decision-making. As Assistant Superintendent for Detroit Public Schools, Elsey oversaw and supported a group of 26 pre-K-12 schools and focused on closing the achievement gap and improving student performance. As Chief Schools Officer of Detroit Rising College Prep Schools, Elsey helped found and lead a line of nine schools with the mission to transform low-income, neighborhood open-admission high schools into schools whose goal is to achieve 90 percent graduation and 90 percent college-going rates.

"An accomplished and passionate educator, Elsey has trained at the Broad Center for Management of School Systems. Elsey’s work as Chief Officer of Innovation and Incubation will be tied to the pillar of high-quality schools."

Hundreds of teachers, students and parents protested outside the Board of Education meeting on July 24. The protests also deployed to the State of Illinois building and City Hall. Substance photo by David Vance.In addition to Jack Elsey, the Board voted at its December 2012 meeting to hire another Detroit administrator, Tracy Martin-Thompson, to be "Chief Officer for School Strategic Supports".

According to the CPS press release:

"Office of Strategic School Support – Chief Officer of Strategic School Support, Tracy Martin-Thompson: The Office of Strategic School Support will be accountable for driving improvement in CPS’ lowest-performing schools and developing a District-wide strategy to ensure sufficient resources are directed to them. This office will play a critical role in supporting neighborhood schools with sufficient supports and resources. The former Office of School Improvement (OSI) will be housed within this office, but, unlike the past, this Office of Strategic School Support will not be focused only on providing "turnaround" or "transformation" schools with support. Rather, all under-performing neighborhood schools will receive support from the District. This office is inclusive of and will be responsible for the resource allocation, strategy, and operational support of all of the District's under-performing schools.

Although five members of the "CEO's cabinet" are in the above photo, only one of them (Little) has had any classroom teaching or principal's office administrative experience in Chicago. Left to right (above): Jack Elsey (Chief Officer Innovation and Incubation), Denise Little (Chief Officer of Network Chiefs of Schools); _____, Elizabeth Mascatti Miller (Chief Officer for Early Childhood Education); and Tracy Martin Thompson (Chief Officer for Strategic stuff) during a recent meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. "Tracy Martin-Thompson comes from Detroit Public Schools with a strong track record of ensuring that students and faculty are provided with the necessary tools for success. As Chief of Staff, Academics for Detroit Public Schools, Martin-Thompson supported the District’s lowest-performing schools, developing and executing implementation of a comprehensive five-year academic plan. She also assisted in the redesign of teaching and learning framework, supporting the alignment of curriculum, instructional strategies, assessment and professional development.

"Prior to her work at Detroit Public Schools, Martin-Thompson served as Chief of Schools for D.C. Public Schools in Washington, DC; as Chief of Education for the City of Cleveland (Office of the Mayor); and a teacher, principal, and Supervising Superintendent for the Cleveland Municipal School District, where she began her career in education in 1993. Martin-Thompson has participated in the Harvard University Executive Leadership Institute for Educators, the Turnaround Leadership Institute at the University of Virginia, and the Institute for Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. The work of Martin-Thompson and the Office of Strategic School Support will be closely aligned with the pillars of quality schools and student needs."

Current Chicago Public Schools "Chief Executive Officer" Barbara Byrd Bennett was awarded an annual salary of $250,000 (plus performance bonus which hasn't been made public) and "relocation and transition expenses" in October 2012. Above, Byrd Bennett pledging during the July 24, 2013 meeting. In the rear is Board member Carlos Azcoitia. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.One year earlier, in March 2012, the Board of Education, without fanfare, brought in Byrd Bennett and another Detroit person, Robert Boik. At the time, no one noted that the Emanuel administration was preparing to dump Jean-Claude Brizard and replace him with Byrd Bennett. Never once has the Board of Education discussed the Detroit "team" it is now paying more than $1 million per year for.


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