'A Slap In The Face...' and 'Public Humiliation' for principals as Barbara Byrd Bennett orders 'State Of The Schools' from principals to follow rigid Board-provided templates

While Chicago Teachers Union members are winning more and more grievances against the stupid evaluation system put into place by the administration of Rahm Emanuel, Chicago principals, which have a "union" but no protection, are facing daily humiliation at the hands of "Network Chiefs" who have never taught a week in Chicago's schools, cronies of Barbara Byrd Bennett who know more about Ohio than Chicago, and a limp corporate media that covers "public education" while ignoring the realities of more than 600 real public schools and a growing infection of charter schools.

The cover of the "State of the School" Power Point template ordered on all elementary school principals by Barbara Byrd Bennett's administration on January 16 - 17, 2014. "Straight Jacket!" and "Orwellian Insult" were some of the comments received at Substance when the principals were ordered to (a) deliver their school's address to a Local School Council meeting and (b) submit attendance to CPS administrators from the meeting at which the "State of the Schools" address is to be given. Most of the members of the "Cabinet" of the "Chief Executive Officer" and a large number of "Network Chiefs" by January 2014 are out of town MBAs and consulting firm types who have never taught in a real public school for a moment -- or who were imported from other states while Chicago veterans were subjected to the kinds of insults depicted here. "It's simply a slap in the face," one principal who asked to remain anonymous told Substance after receiving a group of documents from the central administration of the nation's third largest school system. The documents are ordering the principals to follow a straight jacket "State Of The Schools" address formula. The formula will also provide the central administration with "data" that will be used to claim that the majority of citizens love the Board's current policies.

The first piece of the puzzle came from former "Network Chief" Adrian Willis, who is now one of the "Chiefs of Chiefs" at the school system's central office. Willis told the "Chiefs" (the current jargon for sub-district superintendents; Chicago doesn't have school supterintendents under corporate reforms, but "Chiefs" of various kinds, beginning with the quarter million dollar "Chief Executive Officer." Willis's January 17, 2014 memo reads (verbatim following):

Chiefs attached is the final "State of School Address" template. Forward to your Principals to use as they prepare for the presentation. I have also attached a "State of School" rubric that is aligned to the presentation deck for you to use. Read all materials before you decide to share it with your Principals, Deputy and FACE managers. Finally, due to the inclement weather days, be sure to update the Google Doc from Natalia asking for date, time and location of schools that have not completed the annual "State of School Address".

A.G. Willis

Office of Network Support

125 S. Clark Street, Chicago, IL.

But Willis's order to the "Chiefs" to issue orders to the principals only began the indignity.

CPS officials have ordered the fascist depiction of the Emanuel administration's five-year plan to be posted throughout the current CPS administration building at 125 S. Clark St. and at as many schools as CPS "Chiefs" can force to post it. In some schools, wry wits are pasting the "Pillars" over the plaque of the Gettysburg Address" which was provided to all of the city's public school during the years before the privatization attacks on public service and public schools were launched over the past quarter century by what historian and analyst Diane Ravitch calls "the Billionaire Boys Club."Principals, at least at the elementary school level, have also been provided with a Power Point that they are to adapt to each of their schools. The Power Point forces each school's analysis into the "Five Pillars" formulation that the Emanual administration has forced on the schools in place of the other three-tiered system. The "Five Pillars" depiction has been criticized by many as resembling the "Five Year Plans" favored by the dictators of the 20th Century, including Germany's Adolf Hitler and the Soviet Union's Joseph Stalin. Emanuel's combination of relentless propaganda attacks on independent and democratic organizations across the city (led by the Chicago Teachers Union) has continued unabated since his inauguration in May 2011 and his appointment of the current seven-member Chicago Board of Education. He is already on his second "Chief Executive Officer" in Barbara Byrd Bennett, following the golden parachute Chicago provided to Emanuel's first CEO, Rochester New York's Jean-Claude Brizard, who ultimately left Chicago with almost three quarters of a million dollars (and a job at the College Board) for less than two full years of work in Chicago.

Just so the principals don't mess up, the CPS administration has provided each of them, in addition to the Power Point, with a checklist of stuff to do. The checklist indicates that ultimately the "COS" ("Chief of Schools") had to report on each principal to downtown. The title "Chief of Schools" is the current CPS jargon for the Network Chiefs. The "Network Chiefs" after Rahm Emanuel appointed Jean-Claude Brizard replaced the Chief Area Officers (CAOs). The CAOs were the sub-district superintendents under Ron Huberman and Terry Mazany (2009 - 2011). The CAOs replaced the Area Instructional Officers (AIOs), who were empowered under Arne Duncan "Chief Executive Officer" time (2001 - 2008). Until the end of the Duncan regime, the "instructional officers" had to have Illinois administrative credentials (with one exception), which was why they were called "instructional officers." The AIOS replaced the "Region Eduction Officers" (REOs), who were in charge of the "Regions" while Paul G. Vallas was the first CEO of CPS (1995 - 2001) before being dumped by Mayor Richard M. Daley.

All of these sub-district designations were invented following the beginning of mayoral control, which was inaugurated in Chicago after the passage of the Amendatory Act in 1995. The Amendatory Act gave the mayor dictatorial control over Chicago's public schools, empowering the mayor to appoint the top officers of the school system and the members of the Board of Education.

Despite claims by Barbara Byrd Bennett and the CPS "Communications" staff that CPS has been "reducing bureaucracy," what has actually taken place is a radical decentralization of bureaucracy, with numerous staff being moved out of the central office and into the every-shifting number of so-called "Networks." Because CPS has been able to cover up its own "Position File" for the past year, researchers are finding it more difficult to track the tracks of the various bureaucrats.


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