Historical amnesia... How Chicago makes the 'trains' (er, schools) run on time... In the bizarre world of corporate 'school reform,' Chicago's mayors have known that the best people to run a city's public schools are the people who have run the city's subways and buses...

Surrounded by black people all of whom praised his decision to continue to screw Dyett High School and ignore the wishes of the Bronzeville community, Chicago schools "Chief Executive Officer" Forrest Claypool (above, fourth from right) stood whitely with supporters while Congressman Bobby Rush (at podium) on September 3, 2015, praised the latest surge in corporate "school reform", Chicago-style. None of the highly paid public servants in the photograph above was asked any serious questions about the subsidies they have been receiving to vouch for any program or policy promoted by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the "one percent." As school opens in Chicago on September 8, 2015, and about 400,000 children (incuding two of mine) return to their classes in America's third largest school system, it's worth taking a step back and demanding an answer or two. People should want to know how and why, for the past 20 years or so, the "Second City" (as Chicago is known in some places) had been in the forefront of the bizarre world of corporate, test-driven so-called "school reform" and why the best people to run schools are those who once ran buses and subways.

Truly: The central question as the 2015 - 2016 school year begins is why America's corporate media haven't looked more closely at the one glaring fact of Chicago's mayors and how they pick people to run the public schools: According to former Mayor Richard M. Daley and our present mayor, Rahm Emanuel, the best guys to serve as "Chief Executive Officer" in our city's public schools are those who once ran the city's buses and subways.

And that's not a skit from Saturday Nigh Live or an improv for Second City (when the main stage reopens following the recent fire). Those are historical facts:

-- In January 2009, following the departure of the fatuous non-entity Arne Duncan to Washington D.C. (where he was designated to become the nation's Secretary of Education courtesy of Chicagoan, President Barack Obama), Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley picked a guy named Ron Huberman to become the third "CEO" of Chicago Public Schools. Huberman's qualifications? He had, supposedly, made the trains run on time as President of the Chicago Transit Authority.

-- And in July 2015, following the resignation of his second schools CEO (Barbara Byrd Bennett, who is facing indictment as a federal grand jury investigates corruption during her career as a school reform leader), Daley's successor, Rahm Emanuel, knew to go to the same place Daley had gone for leadership talent to run the schools, picking former Chicago Transit Authority chief Forrest Claypool to become the third (or fourth, if you count the "interim" on who took over after Byrd Bennet departed) CEO since Rahm was inaugurated in May 2011.

Clearly, the school system that has provided the United States with the longest standing Secretary of Education (Duncan has been in power since 2009) has become some kind of model for the rest of the nation. But still neglected is that Chicago model that shows, at least if Chicago's mayors have their way, that the best experience to run a major urban school system is to have run a major urban transit system.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel watched carefully as Forrest Claypool, Rahm's latest appointed "Chief Executive Officer" for the nation's third largest school system, delivered his talking points to a supine corporate media at a July 16, 2015 press conference. Since May 2011 when Emanuel became mayor, the CEOs of CPS have been Jean-Claude Brizard (June 2011 through October 2012), Barbara Byrd Bennett (October 2012 through May 2015), and Jesse Ruiz (interim, June and July 2015). And if that doesn't make sense beyond being a punch line, then a closer look at all of this has to resume as the school year begins for those hundreds of thousands of children.

Well, it might be said, HE MADE THE TRAINS RUN ON TIME...

And therefore he's obviously ready to make the schools run on time. Too.


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