Brizard arrived as superintendent in Rochester in January 2008 and was received warmly by the community and even by union president Adam Urbanski. But it didn't take long for Urbansky to realize, “Brizard’s definition of shared decision-making was to make a decision and then share it with others.’’ By 2010, with graduation rates falling and Brizard pushing school closings and "merit" pay, 94.5 percent of the city's teachers gave their superintendent a vote of No Confidence. Brizard went to Chicago leaving in his wake, a largely broken school district with dismal test scores, shaky finances and a fractured relationship with teachers..." (Chicago Tribune)
After serving just one year as the mayor's hand-picked schools CEO, Brizard seems to have done it again. The 90-percent strike authorization vote by CPS teachers is but one reflection of the unanimity Brizard and Rahm are forging within Chicago's school community.
*****Brizard's latest fiasco involves his cancellation of a supposed "informational meeting" about the contract negotiations. The Sun-Times' Roz Rossi reports:
Thousands of Chicago parents who answered the phone, only to hear the voice of city Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard personally invite them to an “informational’’ meeting about teacher contract talks will have to wait at least a month to get their information
This means, that between now and August, the CTU's voice will be the only credible one heard. Anything coming from the board should be challenged by any reporter worth their salt -- "I thought you said you won't have any reliable information from the fact-finder until August..."
Now the question is, whose gambit is this? Exactly who told Brizard to duck and cover on this one? Was it Rahm himself? Or was it Axelrod Strategies?
There's little doubt in my mind that if a vote of No Confidence were to be taken today, not only among teachers but across the whole city, it would pass overwhelmingly and Brizard would once again emerge as the great unifier.