Friday, January 23, 2015

Col. Tyrrell jumps ship, goes over the hill…

If timing is everything, Col. Tyrrell's sucks. Today is his last day as CPS school-closings chief.

Just as the latest study of disastrous CPS school closings hits the streets, the military man Rahm brought in to engineer the assault on the city's black community,  jumps ship and goes over the hill (sorry, those are the only military metaphors I can come up with this early in the morning), leaving the mayor, a month before the election, to deal with the fallout from the report.

The colonel, who became the district's chief operating officer, was hired in 2012, with no background in education, to run the school closings operation. He had already been through the wars, but nothing like this. He cut his teeth on the prisoner exchange operation after the war in Kosovo -- talk about bad metaphors for "welcoming schools" and "safe passage". He then went on to work as Chief Operating Officer for the Intrepid Sea*Air*Space Museum in New York City, "helping instill in young people some of the virtues" of the military.

Tyrrell explained his Kosovo-style battle plan to the Sun-Times in 2013:
“I’m not saying it looks similar to now, but there was great distrust to the process on both sides but there was a lot of chaos and stress,” Tyrrell said at the time, laying out plans with Byrd-Bennett to transition children into new schools. What was similar, he continued: “It requires you to plow through the noise and get the planning done and get it done in detail, and then be flexible enough to adapt as the plan unfolds.”
Then he told WBEZ,
There are obvious differences between closing 50 schools and starting a new country or fighting terrorism. But there are also similarities. "Surge teams are available." 
Bloody but not bowed after 40,000 angry parents and community members turned out at neighborhood meetings to protest the closings, sending his boss's ratings in the black community into the dumper, Col. Tyrrell, courageously took on his next big assignments -- moving furniture from Clark Street over to CPS' new headquarters and then trying to sell-off Rahm's abandoned, shuttered school buildings. Neither project has won him any medals.

Tyrell walks
The Tribune reports that conclusions in the Consortium report, "echo the most stinging rebukes from school closing opponents — many of which are being aired frequently in the runup to next month's city election."

For example, Only 21% of displaced students attended schools that had a top rating under a now-retired CPS assessment model, the study said, slightly lower than what would have resulted if all students enrolled in their designated school in fall 2013.

But the report doesn't even scratch the surface of the damage the closings have done to suffering families living in further blighted and poverty-stricken communities. 80% of the children and parents impacted by the closings were black.

So Col. Tyrrell is toast but the CPS battle-wagons (caissons?) keep rolling along.

1 comment:

  1. Col. Tyrrell, I salute your service in the military, but as you found out, running a school system has little in common with running a military operation. As you go rolling along out of Chicago, please keep the CPS caissons rolling along with you, roll right out of Chicago and keep going!


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