Brizard Out, Byrd-Bennett In

Brizard is out, according to the Sun Times, Mary Mitchell, NBC, and others.  Some of you will be gleeful about it.  Personally, I'm a little bid saddened and embarrassed for everyone -- most especially the Mayor and the folks at City Hall who came up with bad and unworkable ideas one after the other and then somehow thought that we would think that it was all Brizard's doing. It wasn't.  And Brizard's departure won't change anything unless City Hall has learned its lessons. As I've said before I don't think this is really very good news for critics of the mayor, either. There will be some moments of relief and loving glances, but it won't likely last long. We'll see.  What do you think?



Leave a comment
  • I agree about it not lasting long.....hope the next CEO isn't worse!

  • Headache299
    Brizard Out, Byrd-Bennett In
    I think I told you that four months ago

  • Just a few of observations.

    1. The mayor and his team will come looking the worst. How will Emanuel try to spin this? After the "rumors" of JCB's "demise" were leaked, he and the whole CPS misled (as we can now see) the public into beleiving that JCB still had the confidence of the administration. I think we all can see that, that was only a cover up to a "rumor" that was true. What else are they voluntarily misleading others on?

    2. This whole scenario reminds me of what happened when Daley announced he would not run for office a few years ago. There was an initial satisfaction there within the teacher ranks. Little did we know that waiting for us was something much worse! Beware of BBB. Not good news at all!

    3. The biggest losers of them all- the students. Again, they are in a system in a constant state of flux. No stability, no long term vision for the district, no leadership. Who knows what ideas BBB will spew out there. I know some will not go anywhere (CCSS and REACH), but what will teachers and staff be subjected now? Who knows? This revolving CEO bit is getting old!

  • In reply to Maestro:

    What's her track record on fixing special education in big city districts? Any? I'd like to know. It would say a lot about her.

  • Emanuel isn't serious about education. That was obvious from the beginning. Triple B is a dud and education deform hack- Cleveland and Detroit? Really?

    Hopefully she earns frequent flyer miles with her moving company. In the last 14 years she has gone from NYC to Cleveland to L.A. back to Cleveland to D.C. to Detroit to L.A. to Chicago. She'll last 2 years tops and leave a mess in her wake.

    How big of a raise will she get over JCB. In Cleveland she raked in $300,000.

  • This is disgraceful. Let's hope that this is the last CEO our Mayor hires. WE NEED AN ELECTED SCHOOL BOARD. Four CEOs in less than 2 years? And this is supposed to HELP us? Please.

  • CHAOS ON CLARK STREET: I knew that CEO JC Brizard would be out as head of CPS back in May, 2012. In the last year, four top CPS executive cabinet postions filled by people of color are out at CPS. African-Americans- JC Brizard, Jamiko Rose and Latinos- Noemi D'noso, Andrea Suenz.

  • I have to agree with Alexander that the problem here is the Mayor’s office. Why Brizard was forced out before Christmas break when he supposedly was going to leave for other greater opportunities I don’t know. But Ms. Byrd-Bennett will be just as ineffectual as Mr. Brizard unless the Mayor grants her some real control over the budgeting process, which in my opinion Brizard never really had.

    The CPS Board and the Mayor I believe are fearful of granting the CEO too much budgetary power because the CPS Board in no way oversees the budget process. The Board does not have budget committee meetings and the drafts of budget proposals are passed via email to Board members who individually comment on them without any staff to drill down on the details. Because of the open meetings act there is never a check on the CPS budget office by the Board, that check comes to the degree that it does from the Mayor’s office which also does not have staff to carry out that function. The current amended budget that is on line is simply put a disgrace, CPS simply plugged in a few paragraphs and said their work was done.

    I also agree with Alexander’s current theme that CPS needs its own culture of calm right now. Getting into a discussion of massive school closings and charter conversions in the current context is a form of organizational insanity. Closing schools will not immediately generate cash for CPS, over time there could be savings, but not immediately. I have no doubt the Mayor is pushing the pace at CPS and it is very dangerous to keep doing this. If Ms. Byrd-Bennett wants to do something to begin to make things better fast she can lift the hiring freeze for unfilled budgeted positons at the central office because with the reductions in positions over the last few years and huge retirements it has become dysfunctional.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    "The current amended budget that is on line is simply put a disgrace, CPS simply plugged in a few paragraphs and said their work was done."


  • In reply to urbanteach:

    As far as the budget, they're clearly just buying time to figure out what to do.

    As far as the central office hiring freeze, that was likely to keep Brizard from picking his people. But I expect the money is being spent. If I was the board/mayor I would be spending some major consulting dollars for strategic planning.

    There are advantages to Byrd-Bennett (besides her race); The mayor knows he can work with her. She has seen the mess up close and personal, and has had a say in hiring. She won't need to start over. Having another new person come in and pick her staff would be horrible at this point.

    Brizard had fulfilled his function as scape goat and unintended interim superintendent for a rookie mayor. He seems like a nice guy. I hope he moves on to a job where he can be a real educator.

  • In reply to Donn:

    As of two days ago in at least three major central office units the unfilled positions were not being filled by direct order of the budget office. In fact there are situations where people were set to begin jobs and the funding for the position was frozen. I have discussed this directly with people at CPS, via their cell phones or in person.

    Now if Donn (who ever he is) works at the central office and his unit is getting positions filled please tell us which unit it is so all the others that are getting screwed can complain about how unfair CPS is.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    The freeze is theoretically lifted. Tim Cawley said something about a review of open positions being done or almost done and any position the review board found actually necessary could be filled immediately. He had previously said that there would be no hiring freeze because managers won't cut poor performers if they can't replace them. I actually agree with that in theory, but poor performers are not cut anyway.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Thanks for that information. But there is a problem isn't there? A review board created by the budget office or Chief Operations Officer effectively can over rule approved and budgeted positions without actually having a discussion in the open about this.

    What might be "actually necessary," from Mr. Cawley's perspective might be somewhat different from the perspective of let's say a principal who is trying to get something done but is getting no response from central. Or a teacher trying to get information relating the their insurance policy options and on and on.

    In relation to the elimination of additional poor performing central office staff Catalyst has gone through the payroll of central office and has an article on line discussing its findings. In particular Ms. Karp found massive replacement of central office workers in the last two years.

    In the case of the complete firing of all budget office staff below the level of chief in October of 2011 (I think that is correct) the eliminations were base on cost analysis not on productivity. I talked directly with several fired budget analysts all of whom had advanced degrees in finance and there was no performance review, the jobs were simply eliminated and retitled. There is simply no question that more experienced central administration staff (below the level of chief) are going to cost more than those who are less experienced.

    The CPS is a bureaucracy is being dismantled and replaced with directives issued without implementers. Even charter school networks have had to create mini-bureaucracies, there is really no avoiding it. The question isn't getting rid of ineffective staff its whether the current level of work staff are responsible for is simply impossible to accomplish within even a 10 hour day for five days a week. I would argue that what is happening is not that more central office staff are ineffective but rather they are simply not doing some of the work assigned to them because they refuse to pull 14 hour days and work on the weekends too in order to attempt to keep up. The tasks are picked up on an as needed basis, with the biggest fires put out first.

    We all know Mr. Brizard did not create this situation, but he clearly made it worse. Ms. Byrd-Bennett can't fix it without money and that she will not be given. Because the mantra is cut administration.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    There are a few office where have been on hiring sprees for months now. But those are the political offices--Intergovernmental Affairs and Communications, along with Portfolio. Meanwhile, the educational offices have seen huge cut backs. While this is all going on, leadership has been waging a civil war, which will continue until there is a CEO with actual hiring and firing authority. It's not hard to figure out which departments are winning.

    I think you're being harsh on Brizard. While he had major flaws, he wasn't the problem at CPS. If Byrd-Bennet doesn't have hiring or firing authority, like Brizard, she will be undermined and yet another causality of the civil war at CPS. It's pretty well known at CPS that Brizard wasn't allowed to make changes, and thus it's impossible to say if he was a problem or not.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Portfolio and communications are ineffective and adding people doesn't seem to have helped at all.

  • I'm sad about Brizard's leaving too. But sad that he was positioned as a puppet of Emanuel's and Emanuel's connections. I did not like Brizard's lack of honesty about CPS, or his Broad approach, but it seemed he had to be the mouthpiece of Emanuel.

  • Is 3B a member of a sorority? If so, which one?
    Broad should take care of Brizard. He was too tall for Rahm.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Does Rahm know this? "She was liked so much that people said she should run for mayor... At one time, she was probably the most popular public figure in Cleveland.”
    When she left Cleveland in 2005, Byrd-Bennett was making $278,000. She was criticized for micromanaging and using private money for first-class travel and meals at expensive restaurants, according to a report on governance and urban school improvement by The Institute on Education Law and Policy at Rutgers University.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    As Cleveland Schools CEO, Byrd-Bennett defended the use of Compass Learning and other "drill and kill" programs, telling a Baltimore Sun reporter, "I would argue that there is very little intervention [for struggling students] that isn't rote. For some things, you just have to learn facts to build to higher-order skills."
    How did attendance rates jump in Cleveland from 89% in 2001 to 93.8% in 2002? Absent students were counted ‘present’ if they were given make-up assignment. ( District staff aimed to skew absence data, Janet Okoben, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Oct. 17, 2005)

  • Brizard’s exit is a costly one. He signed a three-year contract in June 2011 and, according to the terms, the severance package is a 60-day notice, which must be paid, and a year’s salary of $250,000.
    Where does Rahm find all this money? Where?

  • New Chief Named for Chicago Schools - includes a quote from detroit about how she dealt with teachers during the contract negotiations there

  • Big Byrd is coming to town to teach all the little girls and boys how to count (1-2-3 ha, ha, ha) and spell (CPS is being sponsored by the letter R, as in Rahm).

Leave a comment