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Chicago: Emanuel's Scapegoat

IL_CST (1)News got out last night during the VP Debate that Mayor Emanuel's top education guy, Jean Claude Brizard, was leaving and that Barbara Byrd-Bennett was replacing him.  See scads of coverage below.

City Hall went to great pains to describe the decision as mutual, and unfortunate, and the Chicago Teachers Union and others could barely restrain their glee at having bloodied Rahm Emmanuel's nose a second time in such a short period. 

However, as I and others have observed, this isn't a great result for Emanuel or for the school system, or even perhaps for the teachers union and others who oppose the Mayor.  Brizard was not really to blame for the many ill-considered decisions and actions that were taken during the first few months of the Emanuel administration, which led to the strike and resulted in a contract that nearly everyone agrees was a big win for the teachers. Brizard shouldn't have agreed to take the job without being able to name his own senior team, and was perhaps too affable and not strong enough on implementation.  But education was being run out of City Hall. There's little of what's been happening in Chicago lately that can reasonably be laid at Brizard's feet.  

Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard out by ‘mutual agreement’ Sun Times: With the city’s first teachers strike in 25 years in the rear view mirror and a new contract to be implemented, Emanuel said it’s “time for a clean break.” 8:58

Chicago Public Schools CEO Brizard exits WGN: Mayor Rahm Emanuel's choice to run the Chicago Public School system, is out after less than a year and a half. 9:37

Jean Claude Brizard out as CPS chief after 17 months Tribune: Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean Claude Brizard is out, to be replaced permanently by the school system's chief education officer, a spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday. 10:09

Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard out by ‘mutual agreement’ Sun Times: Brizard was Emanuel’s pick to lead CPS and push through the mayor’s aggressive education agenda. But with the city’s first teachers strike in 25 years in the rear view mirror and a new contract to be implemented, Emanuel said it’s “time for a clean break.”10:10 [expanded]

Emanuel: Brizard stepping down, Byrd-Bennett next CEO Catalyst: "As the district leader, I am proud of the results we achieved in such a short time: graduation rates are up, test scores are improving, a higher percentage of freshman are on track for graduation, we achieved the lowest one-year drop-out rate in the city’s history and we have seen tremendous growth on the ACT – an important college readiness benchmark." 11:00

Brizard out as CPS chief: 'We agreed it is best' Tribune: “I have to tell you it’s a little bit of melancholy and mixed emotions because I’ve come to love the people who work in CPS,’’ Brizard said. “I love to work with kids ... that’s more important to me that keeping a job. This is stressful but at the same time It’s about the city.’’6:25 [expanded]

NB Some of the first emails I got were from folks who'd heard it on WBEZ, but I can't tell when they first aired their story or whether they were leading or following.

CPS chief Brizard to step down WBEZ: Heather Anichini, the head of the Chicago Public Education Fund which has worked closely with Byrd-Bennett, issued a statement late Thursday evening. “I am optimistic Barbara will build on the successes and talent in schools today, while pursuing a nuanced and aggressive plan for achieving the goal of world-class educational options for all of Chicago’s children,” Anichini said.

Again, an imperfect measure.


Next Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has done it all, from teacher to superintendent Sun Times: Only some four months into her role as Chicago’s “interim” Chief Education Officer, Barbara Byrd-Bennett was tapped to sit at the contract negotiating table while Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard remained in his office, receiving only second-hand reports about events that topped the news night after night. Now, Byrd-Bennett will be moving into Brizard’s office.



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