With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Thursday, September 9, 2010

We don't need no stinkin' Chief Education Officer

CPS starts school without an ed leader

Since Barbara Eason-Watkins' departure in April, Chicago Public Schools have been operating without anyone in the system's top educator position. BEW was one of few remaining African-American educators at Clark Street where CEO Huberman runs the show for the mayor, with his cadre of former CTA dept. managers and City Hall transplants. Apparently that's all he needs since school opened last week minus a replacement education chief.

Clarice Berry,  head of the Principals Assoc., says the job of education chief is critical and is pushing for an educator to be chosen to fill the position.   
The principals are feeling a little lost at sea. There's no continuous stream of educational advice, strategies, and directions coming out. I think we really do have to get someone. This is a post that can not go unfilled much longer. (City Room)
Crucial though it may be, under the system of mayoral control, the school system has been turned into a big part of the City Hall patronage system and every top administrative job has to be negotiated through a sea of contending forces and interests.

Mayor Daley caught heat back in July, especially from many black community leaders, when he tried to install one of his trusted managers, Mary Ellen Caron, in the position. The mayor picking Caron, founder and former principal of Daley's daughter's Catholic elementary school, would have looked exactly like what it was, another patronage pick for a job that has been held by a black educator since 1995, the year Daley took control of the schools. Caron is currently the $147,060-a-year commissioner of the city's new mega-Department of Family and Support Services.

Daley's announced retirement this week, may make it even more difficult to place someone of his choosing and he may decide to punish his critics by appointing no one.  He says he's not worried about starting a new school year without a chief education officer because, "We have enough educators at the Board of Education." (Sun -Times)

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