Thursday, July 16, 2015

Claypool will run Rahm's Clark St. Operation. Otherwise known as CPS.

At a news conference with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CTA President Forrest Claypool talks about making the Red Line trains run on time.. (Sun-Times photo)

Okay, so it looks like the hated David Vitale is out and ComEd/Excelon nukes guy Frank Clark is in as Rahm's hand-picked school board chief. And Rahm's faithful sidekick Forrest Claypool replaces Byrd-Bennett and interim Jesse Ruiz as the 6th schools CEO in 6 years.

For those who don't know Clark, he was the head of the commission that managed the secret list of supposedly "underutilized" schools and made the recommendations leading to the closing of 49 neighborhood public schools, mainly in the city's black community. He also did the suspect deal  with the Civic Consulting Alliance—a politically connected group of private business consultants linked to the pro-charter group New Schools For Chicago  -- to run the work of the same school-closing commission.

He's so into privately-run charter schools, he even had a Noble charter named after him (a la Gov. Rauner). It stands as a monument to his and Excelon's stewardship over the privatization of public space.

I thought Fran Spielman's reference to Claypool, back in April, as Rahm's "wartime consigliere" was appropriate.

He's the Clark in Rowe/Clark Charter
Having had it up to here with Broad Academy careerist education types --  J.C. Brizard and Byrd-Bennett -- and apparently steering clear of the Tribune's recommended "Mussolini" type, the Mayor has moved his fixer Claypool over from City Hall to run his Clark Street operation, otherwise known as CPS. Forget about national searches, public input, City Council review and all that small-d democratic crap. This is war.

Claypool can hit the ground running since he's already marshaling the CTU contract negotiations while doing damage control around the various federal investigations and grand jury hearings over UNO charter corruption and no-bid contract kick-backs. Claypool btw, is the master of privatization and no-bid contracting from his days as Daley's chief of staff as well as his running the park district and the CTA for Rahm. Remember the 2012 fiasco with Bombardier?  I do.

He's also got to be the guy who can cut the grand bargain agreement between Rahm, Madigan, Cullerton and Rauner to bail out district and find some short and long-term revenue (that means taxes, folks) to make pension payments and hopefully save the system from collapse.

I'm trusting that teachers, parents, the CTU, SEIU and the rest of us won't be just spectators while this grand bargain is made at our expense.

At the risk of repeating myself, Rahm's choosing another white, male Paul Vallas/Ron Huberman (Arne Duncan?) prototype manager as opposed to another traditional ed bureaucrat as schools CEO will matter little as far as teachers, parents and students are concerned.  So long as the schools CEO works solely at the pleasure of a mayor who has autocratic power over the schools, the change means little more than putting a ribbon on a donkey.

We need an elected school board and a taxing system that's fair.

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