Jobs: UofC Researcher Gets Top Education Job

image from www.chicagodefender.comThe news is out this morning (announcement happening just about now at Fiske) that Charles Payne has been tapped for the top education job in CPS, which has gone unfilled since Barbara Eason Watkins left: U. of C. prof gets top education officer post in Chicago schools Chicago Sun-Times: Interim Chicago schools CPS taps new chief ed officer Chicago Tribune... Payne tapped as CPS' chief education officer Chicago Defender. What do you think?  He's not a career administrator, but he's steeped in urban  has written about reform vs. reality.  Does he connect well with principals, and know how schools really work?


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  • It will be interesting to review professor Payne's blue print for education in Chicago. Clearly whoever is the new Mayor will have to some how respond to this plan. Ninety days to write such a plan and get input from various stakeholder is not much time. I look forward to meeting with him and discussing the problems CPS has with special education.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    You're right about one thing, Rod, ninety days IS a short time to get a plan with stakeholder backing. I'm not sure I agree with , however, that the new mayor will have to respond to the plan that Mr. Payne produces. Every candidate has promised to bring in their own education leaders, and what newly appointed CEO/CEdO is going to want to take someone else's vision and run with it. Seems like a lot of work and money in the short run for a plan that will probably not be used by new leaders that will be in place next year.

  • Ron Huberman, former CEO for the Chicago Public Schools has recently found employment in two Chicago-based private equity firms searching for investments and buyout opportunities in the fields of security, transportation, and EDUCATION! Do I here Chicago lobbyist?

  • Let's not lump everything together and make everyone out to be tainted without reason

    Payne is a phd ... arne was an undergrad.

    Payne is from uofc but not to my knowledge directly inolved in running the uc charters.

    A lot of good people work at charters, just like at cps

    If payne is tainted simply by working at uchicago then you're tainted by working at cps and I'm tainted by taking money from the tribune.

    Like with age and race and income and sex, let's focus on what folks do not where they're from.

  • I exaggerate for effect here but by that standard all cps employees are guilty of mismanaging the district, all ctu members are responsible for the contract snafus, and any american is responsible for its governments foreign policy decisions. Do you have any specific information about payne? Can you differentiate between an andividual and an institution?

  • Professor Payne has visited many inner city homes. If one reads his book So Much Reform, So Little Change: The Persistence of Failure in Urban Schools you can see he is critical and realistic about poor families and their children. He understands that poor children are both the result of poverty and that they often make their own situations worse by their behavior.

    Professor Payne has indicated that he believes the regular classroom teachers of Chicago are often resentful of Teach for America because TFA teachers are optimistic. I don't agree with that, I think it has a lot more to do with the fact that there is a social class divide between many teachers educated at working class schools like Northeastern, Chicago State, etc and TFAers who come largely from more high end selective colleges. TFA optimism may stem in part from the fact that many do not beleive they will be urban teachers their entire working life because they have other options once the economy gets better

    People can read Professor Payne's perspectives on charter schools in a 2009 essay he wrote with Tim Knowles, its free go to

    I do not fully agree with the positive picture Professor Payne paints of the U of C charters schools in this essay, while the elementary schools seem to be doing reasonably the high school program is not. This is why Payne and Knowles never discuss the high school program in their essay. In 2010, 86% of the U of C charter students who took the ACT did not reach the college readiness benchmark in reading. This compares to Kenwood high school where in 2010, 69% of the students who took the ACT did not reach the college readiness benchmark in reading. I personally know of two special education due process cases filed against the U of C charter high school for failure to provide a free appropriate education to students with disabilities. I know the charter schools settled effectively out of court, more than that remains unkown because of a confidentiality argeement linked to the settlements.

    Payne I think wants to be balanced on charter schools, and his eassy with Tim Knowles is at places critical of charter schools, in particular about not taking all students and high teacher turn over rates. But I think he completely avoids looking at the charter model and its fiscal implications for long term survival. What happens to the positive aspects of the U of C charters when the University stops writing checks to cover extra costs? What happens when Gates and the Walton Family foundation get tired of funding charters? What then? Professor Payne never looks at these very big issues.

    Still I am glad to see him working on a CPS plan for the future, he is an extremely thoughtful man who merits respect even if one does not agree with him on everything.

    Rod Estvan

  • Actually, you (or I, or anybody else) could sit on the Supreme Court. There are qualifications specified. I get your point though, just not the right example to use.

  • The level of paranoia on this blog is astounding. Long on accusations and guilt-by-association, and short on facts and ideas.

  • Amen.

  • "this is an ad hominem post"

    No, it isn't. Someone's using big words s/he doesn't understand?

  • here's WBEZ's segment on the appointment, along with audio of the friday morning event

  • here's what catalyst wrote

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