The Next CPS: Bring Back Vallas, Says Chico

Michelle Rhee and Ron Huberman
Who should be the next head of CPS? Chicago Mag's Carol Felsenthal asked around to see if anyone wanted to keep Huberman -- or bring in Rhee. Who do you think should get the job -- and who do you think will get it?


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  • whomever it is should bring in a longer school year, says james warren

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    There you go again, Alexander, hawking that tired ole story. Never mind that it isn't true.

    Chicago Public Schools does have the shortest school year in the state. So do MOST of the school districts in this state. The state has set a minimum number of student attendance days (beyond which the state does not offer any further remuneration). And that's how long CPS (and most other Illinois districts) setup their calendars.

    OTOH there are a few things we could do differently.

    First, CPS teachers have 4 Teacher Institute days; 3 Professional Development days; and 4 Staff Development days (all of which have no student attendance) each year. While I have no statistics on this, I cannot believe any other district needs 11 days per year to "develop" its teachers. Those 4 staff development days (and possibly one of the TI days at the beginning of the year) should be converted to days of student attendance.

    Further, the inadequacy of the IMPACT information system has shortened the number of teaching days. Last year, my school held final exams on June 9 & 10 (Wed & Thur)so that we could get grades finalized by Monday 14. That means that there was no instruction on the final 4 days of school (June 11, 14, 15, and 16). Students didn't attend school on the 17th (the 4th and final TI day of the year), and the 18th isn't a full day of school.

    In the past, we would have given final exams on Monday and Tuesday (the 14th and 15th); and had just one wasted day (Wednesday 16th).

    Until we fix these things, it makes no sense to add more days to the school year.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    here's the "manifesto" that huberman and rhee and others signed and released over the weekend.

    does this mean huberman's going to stay in education, or just that he's willing to sign anything now that he's headed out the door?

    or, a reasonable strategy to stay relevant during the next few long months?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    The "manifesto" says, in part,

    "As President Obama has emphasized, the single most important factor determining whether students succeed in school is not the color of their skin or their ZIP code or even their parents' income -- it is the quality of their teacher."

    Big-time oops!

    Actually, the demographic indicators--particularly family income--have the greatest impact on a child's education.

    What the reform crowd usually says is that--discounting those demographic indicators that a school district cannot do anything about--the biggest factor under the control of the school district is teacher quality.

    I actually agree with them in that thinking, but it's a big boo-boo to say what they did.

    As for why Huberman signed the manifesto, I think it's what he actually believes. That simple.

    CPS is well-represented with past administrators Paul Vallas and Arlene Ackerman. And the superintendents of Rockford and Elgin are also signatories.

  • 1. Vallas was never tight with Dart. No divided loyalties there. Vallas was, however, very popular in the ward, even though the leadership in the ward shafted him.
    2. Chico and Vallas were much closer than the media portrayed them. They could work together again, no problem. they had great respect for each other. The alleged conflict was just the dynamics of the situation

  • more reaction quotes (but nothing definitive) from various contenders, for all you tea leaf readers out there --

  • Not at all. Just trying to enforce the contract and the law that CPS has violated.

    For the reasons stated above, the Teachers Union

  • Included in the district's debt portfolio is $725 million of variable rate bonds (16% of total debt outstanding), most of which is hedged with interest rate swaps.

    CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS INVESTMENT POLICY, Section: 403.1, Board Report: 08-0827-PO1, Date Adopted: August 27, 2008 that specifically states XVIII. Prohibited Transactions - derivatives that are speculative in nature are prohibited.

    Illinois law prohibits these kind of investments that are being made by officials of the Chicago Board of Education because the Board is required to put its money in banks that met certain public service criteria. There is no evidence that any investments made by CPS fulfilled these requirements under Illinois law.

    30 ILCS 235/ Public Funds Investment Act Sec. 2.5 Investment policy: a public agency is authorized to consider the financial institution's record and current level of financial commitment to its local community when deciding whether to deposit public funds in that financial institution.

    On December 6th, 1994, Orange County California became the largest municipality in U.S. history ever to file for bankruptcy. The financial difficulties leading to the bankruptcy were the direct result of an enormous gamble with public funds taken by a county treasurer who was seriously under-qualified to deal in the kinds of investments he chose. Because of his shortcomings, because of Orange County's national reputation as a land of rich, spoiled, archconservatives, and because the bankruptcy did not play out as other municipal financial crises have, many observers have dismissed it as an anomaly. It may have been a nasty surprise for Wall Street, they argue, but it is not something that is likely to happen again, even in Orange County.
    ...strategy was to use the funds on deposit to borrow money to invest in derivatives, inverse floaters, and long term bonds that paid high yields.(SWAPS)
    (March 18, 1998, When Government Fails: The Orange County Bankruptcy A Policy Summary)

    Lehman defaulted on the derivatives deal

  • Interesting analysis Anon @ 11.21

    My first thought was "but they didn't get along!"

  • There is no one great leader whether it is Mr. Vallas or Mr. Huberman that can keep the CPS ship on course. The problems CPS will face whether or not Governor Quinn gets reelected in relation budget issues are going to be very big and very real. TIF money will help for one year if the surplus is transfered.

    But the sad truth appears to be each and every school district will have to look to its own resources to keep public education funded. So whoever becomes head of CPS they will have to get the people of Chicago to pay much more for education whether it is via property taxes or a city income tax. Chicago can not get away with another Mayor like Daley who kept going down to Springfield to fund CPS. Those days are done.

    If the state does pass an income tax increase that money is needed simply to pay back bills and money owed to the pension funds. Really very little will go to local school districts for future costs.

    Rod Estvan

  • I think more needs to be said about the quality of Principals and the impact on school communities. A great instructional leader at the helm of a school makes a tremendous difference, yet sadly so few CPS principals (in my experience) have the complete tool set to be effective. More highly qualified principals is a key component to school reform.

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