Breaking News: As several of you guessed (or already knew), it's Hosanna Mahaley Johnson, former education adviser to the Mayor, Duncan chief of staff and current Ren10 head, who's leaving next month -- to Atlanta, where's she's launching a new local education fund along the lines of the Boston Plan for Excellence.
Why' she's leaving, why now, and what to make of her departure? Read below. Also -- some new charter transfer stats I'd never seen. You read it here first.
According to HMJ, the folks in Atlanta have been after her for several
months now, and finally won her over with the chance to start a new
local education fund, work with ATL supe Beverly Hall, and be a
"critical friend" to the district. [In CPS, BTW, there are critics,
and there are friends, but no critical friends -- not even, alas, the
Chicago Public Education Fund.]
It may surprise some that HMJ is most proud of her work on Renaissance 2010. She wasn't "a charter person" before taking on the job, she says, but seeing things over the past few years and more recently like the opening day at Sherman or the student induction ceremony at Urban Prep has convinced her. (Two of her kids attend Ren10 schools.)
Through Ren10, she says, she "learned what's possible." She says her work in CPS was also shaped by the fact that she went to "some of the worst" schools when she was a student and feels like adults have to do better.
About the near-constant complaints that charters cream kids, either during the lottery procedure, before school starts, or during the year, she says that almost all the schools hold public lottery ceremonies and that the lotteries for charters are audited -- oversight features that may not be in place for the city's magnet schools, far as I know -- and that the transfer out rate for charters is roughly half (7 percent) of the CPS rate (14 percent), even though charter parents might arguably be predisposed towards moving their kids around. I'd never seen that reported, and have asked for school by school figures.
HMJ wouldn't say how the mayor or Arne reacted, but did say that she was sad to go and that she expected Ren10 and all the rest of the CPS initiatives to keep moving forward. She also said that at some point she hopes to do some work on the state or national level.
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