Twenty-Four Hours To Go

When it's announced on Thursday, the latest reorganization of CPS offices will have to serve a number of different purposes -- functional, political, financial, educational -- despite the reality that it is ill-timed for the Mayor and for the Scott and Duncan team. 

The comments and ideas have been pouring in here and here

Below is a compilation of things I've heard, been told, read floated, etc.  Nothing definitive.  Some of it doesn't even make sense.  If you know better -- or can do better -- have at it. 

To be sure, the current CPS org chart has some problems -- too many
reports for some folks, too few for others,  no explicit responsibility
for elementary schools, etc. 

There are also some functions -- planning and evaluation among them -- that could arguably be moved over to the Vitale side, where power and capacity increasingly reside. 

Since the areas were created, there's been a tension between those
who favor sending more staff and authority out to the AIOs -- making them closer to mini-superintendents -- and those
who want to maintain capacity centrally and don't trust the AIOs to do much good. 

Right now, the AIOists seem to be winning the debate, despite the fact that regional and area models in other cities like New York have chronic problems and few if any of the AIOs are standouts or have developed a clear model for how it's done.

Back at Clark Street, some offices -- intergov, literacy -- are (or are considered)
under-performers.  Others like Curriculum and OMSI are open at the top and clear tradeoffs with the growing AIOs, making
them easier to revamp. 

Basically, anything to the right of BEW on the org chart could go, or get melded into something else. Trujillo and Laho could get moved around.  (Rivera is mentioned below.)

Personnel-wise, the rumor is that some senior staff -- Barbara Eason
Watkins, Dan Bugler, and Audrey Cooper-Stanton come to mind -- are
ineffective or in trouble for other reasons.  Pittman is all but a lame
duck in the high schools office.

There's no real rhyme or reason surrounding the timing of the
reorganization.  Far as I can tell, the BCG folks started working on it
in the late fall after finishing the high school transformation
project. 

Maybe it was leftover Gates money, or some Broad dollars at work, but
it certainly wasn't on any political timetable.  There's little public
clamor for a change at the Board, and it's too close to the mayoral.

That's why some top staff -- Arne Duncan and Barbara Eason Watkins--
can't be removed entirely just yet, despite complaints from many inside
the building that they provide little effective leadership.  (All bets
are off if the 06 scores tank.)  Remember that BEW has fought off efforts to remove or marginalize her before. 

Regardless of timing, there are also race and gender politics that
shape what can and can't happen.  Most obvious is the need to import
and elevate black and Hispanic leaders, who are few and far between at
the top levels. 

This might mean a new job for Duncan pal David
Pickens, for example, or an elevation for Medina or Vasques in OLCA.  Relatively new faces like Melissa Megliola might get something.  Or new or familiar faces from outside the building.  CHSRI's Pat Ford is an obvious contender.   

Wild cards?  Genita Robinson, Amanda Rivera.

Meanwhile, Anglos like Stanton aren't likely to get the call.  Science guy Mike Lach could get moved out to an area -- or pulled into a non-curricular office to get things done. 

And there's little discussion among all the reorg rumors about
cost-savings goals.  Expect to hear about much money's being saved by
all the chair-rearranging. 

One such strategy might be to outsource even more functions, like
research and evaluation.  It'd probably be cheaper and perhaps even
better.  It'd be harder to cook the results, though.  At the high school level, curriculum has already been outsourced in some ways through the high school transformation plan.

Filed under: 125 S. Clark Street

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