“I think Barbara Byrd Bennett's legacy is going to be she'll be remembered by educators and community members as the person who sold the mayor's schools closings,” -- CTU VP Jesse Sharkey.Carol Felsenthal at Chicago Mag interviews Paul Vallas and comes away thinking he may be the man for the job. I come away thinking, what has Carol been smoking?
Actually, my blog was intrigued by the idea. It kept whispering to me, "Oh please, yes, yes. Bring him on. Especially now, right in the middle of the Byrd-Bennett/SUPES grand jury hearings."
I mean, the guy has been running one step ahead of the feds and grand jury hearings since he left Bridgeport, where he gave FUSE a fat no-bid consulting contract a la SUPES/Synesi.
I know I have at least 70 more Vallas exposés stored away in virtual SmallTalk file cabinets. A Vallas appointment, while a total disaster for public ed, as it was in Philly, N.O. and Bridgeport, would be a windfall for SmallTalk.
But then my brain answers my blog: "No way in hell will Rahm go there". Mr. Brain is right. My sources tell me that Rahm will go with another loyal bureaucrat/manager, turnaround type like CTA boss Forrest Claypool. Think Ron Huberman. What could possibly go wrong?
We got a hint of another Huberman type from last week's Tribune editorial. Remember the Mussolini reference? Make the trains run on time? Get it? However, even Mussolini would be just another bureaucrat serving totally at the pleasure of the mayor.
Meanwhile, the media debate is all about whether Rahm should appoint another career educator like BBB or J.C Brizard, or another non-educator business guy? I don't think it makes a damn bit of difference so long as either one, along with the hand-picked school board, are mere puppy dogs. It's mayoral control of the schools that's the real issue here. The fact that Rahm is shopping for Chicago's 6th CEO in 6 years following Huberman, Mazany, Brizard, Byrd-Bennett, and Ruiz, makes my point. Instability is the name of the game and when things go south, like a major scandal or a teachers strike, they are all easily replaceable.
We need an elected school board and an end to autocratic rule over the schools.