Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Questions for Jean-Claude Brizard

“We have to take immediate action this year. . . . Too many of our students are in what I call an educational emergency room.’’ -- J.C. Brizard
With today's announcement by Brizard, that 10 more Chicago schools were being "turned around," complete with mass firings of faculty and staff and the contracting of new management groups to take them over, a few questions come to mind.

1. In your telephone interview with reporters you say: “We can no longer defend a Chicago Public School system that fails our students year after year.’’ If that's true, exactly how many years-after-years has the system been failing its students? Is that an assessment of the Daley/Duncan years? Does it include Arne Duncan's "Chicago Miracle" tenure? Mayor Daley's Renaissance 2010 reform years? The more recent Huberman period marked by previous turn-arounds, teacher firings and mass school closings? The entire Daley era of mayoral control and top-down reform? Has it all been a bust?

2. Why do you think that more of the same, more turn-arounds, more teacher firings and more school closings  will produce different results? Any evidence in the research or from your previous experience in Rochester that firing entire school faculties improves student learning outcomes? Where can we find it?

3. Why are you and the mayor going it alone again on top-down reform? Doing it to teachers and communities rather than with them? Any evidence in the research or from your previous experience with your bungled longer-school-day initiative that the war on teachers and their union is an effective reform strategy?

4. Where are all these great replacement teachers going to come from? Do you have a thousand of them stashed away someplace we don't know about? Or is this just a ploy to get rid of veteran teachers and bring in TFA 5-week wonders who will be more compliant and take home smaller pay checks?

You have my number. I await your answers.


  1. Spot on questions which will never be answered. It's all about the money.

  2. Agree!!
    All of the the teachers who are being fired including myself) are considered "very highly qualified" by the previous Arne Duncan administration. So why are these schools failing? I've got one word for you- poverty. The students attending these schools are disadvantaged. Mr.Brizard and Mr. Emanuel can fire all the teachers, hire ones who will work for less money, make their charter schools, and push out lower performing students to the rest of the CPS schools and try and call that progress but it is not. Oh and FYI.... some of the schools being closed and "turned around" are already performing better than some of these charter schools. Good luck to the new teachers who get these students because they have A LOT of work ahead of them. Most people have absolutely NO IDEA what inner city teachers deal with everyday! We have put our blood sweat and tears into these schools, made great progress (most of us), and now we are being fired.

  3. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-met-charter-schools-performance-1130-20111130,0,1660032.story


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.