Brizard Tells All

Today's big news is the Jean-Claude Brizard media tour, where he talks about his experiences and what really happened, sort of.  (My latest theory:  Brizard was just too tall.) Ames Elementary parents are concerned about a possible military academy there.  There's also a lot of political news, and allegations against a CPS administrator from 20 years ago.  Oh, and LA reporter Hillel Aron seems to have broken the news that CPS and CTU have agreed on an application for Race to the Top funding, something that several West Coast school districts and unions have been unable to do.  (See previous post). BRIZARD SPEAKS

Jean-Claude Brizard tells Rick about his past with CPS and his plans for the future WBEZ: Jean-Claude Brizard recently decided to call it quits after just 17 months as CEO of Chicago Public Schools. We talk with the former CEO about his departure, the state of Chicago schools and what’s next for him.

ABC7 Chicago Exclusive: Brizard details CPS resignation | Former CEO cites chemistry with Mayor among reasons ABC7: During the seven day teacher's strike, Brizard was not at the negotiating table and he was yanked from speaking publicly after he'd been very accessible to the media. He says, all of a sudden, requests were no longer forwarded to him.


Logan Square parents: We want a voice in military school proposal Catalyst:  CPS Chief of Family and Community Engagement Phil Hampton was at the Ames meeting Thursday, but was not able to answer any questions. He says there’s a meeting scheduled next Wednesday between the Ames community and an official in the Office of Portfolio, which deals with closures and school changes more directly.


Mayor Emanuel and Rep. Pelosi to Speak at UNO Annual Awards Dinner Hispanically Speaking News
In addition, while Chicago Public Schools move toward closing underutilized facilities, UNO CEO Juan Rangel will announce a $70 million school construction program to build new schools in Chicago's Hispanic communities.

Illinois unions fight continuing decline in ranks  Chicago Reporter:  During the past decade, Illinois lost the third highest number of union members in the country, behind Michigan and Ohio, from 1,013,000 in 2001 to 876,000 in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Illinois’ escalating super PAC arms race  IL Times: Pat Quinn signed a bill into law this year which removes all contribution caps once a super PAC crosses that $100,000 threshold.


Authorities: Award-winning CPS teacher accused of molestation Chicago Tribune: A veteran, award-winning teacher at Chicago Public Schools has been accused of molesting two people nearly four decades ago in Ohio, including one he was found guilty of abusing while a teacher there.

CPS teams up with Walgreen Tribune: Mayor Rahm Emanuel, center, and schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, far left, pose for pictures Tuesday with parents at Eugene Field Elementary School, 7019 N. Ashland Ave., after a news conference announcing parents at 70 CPS schools will be eligible ...

Schools helping students, parents cope with tragedy Chicago Daily Herald: Justin was a student at Scott Elementary School and Olivia was a kindergarten student at Brookdale Elementary. Bothschools enacted their plans Wednesday that included bringing in additional counselors for students, staff and parents.

Image via WBEZ





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  • I don't see why Brizard should be going on a media tour. He got an extra year of severance pay and that should be it.

    I said when he came in that he was overmatched in that there were questions whether he could handle a city 10 times larger than the one where there were questions whether he could handle that.

  • What a scumbag. He smiles as we pay him more than $300k ($250k severance plus three months of paid leave $75k, plus benefits) to go away and then he has the audacity to "thank us" for him screwing up CPS more than when he got here. Look at a very partial list of how bad he was:

    1. He strained relationships with teachers, city hall, principals and community organizations. He will leave Chicago without a friend in town (Reminder, Russo is in NY. Maybe they can hang out).
    2. He was point man (no matter who he blames now) for the first NINE months of the negotiations that led us to a strike!
    3. He takes credit for test score gains that were more likely the work of his predecessors.
    4. He pushed out a number of highly qualified educators from the district and network offices.
    5. He NEVER presented a strategy for the district so no one in 125 S Clark or the schools had any idea what to do under his "leadership".
    6. He oversaw the raiding of all CPS funding reserves creating a $1 billion dollar hole for BBB for 2013-2014.
    7. He let crazies like Jen Cheatham and Alicia Winckler run roughshod over school administrators that forced the largest single year exodus of school leaders ever!
    8. When the Mayor took away his press duties, we found out that was all he was doing anyway. So, with nothing else to do he started to sulk.
    9. Now he is torching the Mayor to try to cover up the fact that he just plain sucked. The mayor is crazy, but J.C. took the main seat and now everyone (including Russo) wants to defend him. Come on, he was CEO, not Executive Assistant. Brizard was responsible for CPS and if he was so hamstrung by the mayor and he felt so strongly why not take on the mayor while in the job and get fired like a man as opposed to allow yourself to play eunuch when in the role and cry after it is snatched from you for gross negligence. No one in Chicago respects that.

    Thank god he doesn't want to be Superintendent again. No one sane would want him (see Rochester for equally bad leadership). Hopefully, he is done with education. Certainly no child deserves him as the steward of their education.

  • In reply to westofwestern:

    Absolutely wrong. Rahm is making all the decisions. JC challenged him, and that is why he is out. Don't kid yourself. Nothing happens at CPS without Rahm and Vitale at the helm.

  • In reply to 1a2b3c4d:

    JC, is that you? Are you checking the blogs as you pack up for NYC? I am in 125 S Clark, so I know I am dead right. I watched Brizard at first with curiosity, soon after with concern and during the final four months with utter disgust. Rahm doesn't make all the decisions. He opines and tirades on CPS leadership at most a few times a month and his minions come around a couple of times a week and call more frequently. But at the end of the day, the Mayor is really only worried about public opinion and Becky Carroll and Mike Rendina make sure they do whatever they need to spin the public view. No one at City Hall knows anything about education and Vitale is at best an operations guy. So the CEO, if he/she had an original thought or a work ethic, could get a lot done. I hate to break it to you, but Brizard had neither. WAIT A MINUTE, you may be right. Since JC completely neglected to make ANY decisions in his 17 months as the leader of CPS and Rahm made many decisions caused by the vacuum Brizard created, you probably are right. But, also still wrong.

  • JC was/is Broad - Where is Mr. Broad and his program's responsibility in this?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Barbara Byrd Bennett=Broad, brought to Chicago by Penny Pritzker! New face, same agenda!!

  • Just goes to show Broad doesn't mean you're qualified to run this district or any of it's departments. I hope B3 listens to the very few veterans with institutional knowledge who remain at central office. The Mayor and all others have to know you just can't cover all areas effectively without institutional knowledge. Barbara can benefit from some Chicagoans who are in the know.

  • Barbara will benefit from really meeting and listening to savvy, honest and forthright principals who serve 600 or more students and especially the schools with over 1000 that are neighborhood schools--without the area officers present--if she wants an honest answers, thoughts, ideas, etc.

  • cut the crap and talk to those who know:

    exit surveys from teachers who leave

    anonymous surveys from teachers who stay

    analyze the data at schools with a high teacher transfer rate

  • In reply to district299reader:

    the same thing they do with information from principals-I know what you are saying but I am always hoping that the new person will at least attempt to do what is right...been hoping since 1974....I know I am a hopeless optimist....


  • In reply to district299reader:

    Exit Surveys....WHY do they leave AND WHERE do they go? WHAT could have been done to encourage them to stay? Teacher Turnover is the PURPLE elephant reformers refuse to consistently and persistently fail to confront. How much does it cost per pupil for each teacher who exits the system?

  • In reply to Owlmountaincoach:

    Thanks Owl. We seem to lose a lot of our young, newly trained on our dime, special education teachers. I can't blame them but the children have to get used to a new teacher almost every year-one who is still learning.


  • ok--say they do--surveys--what the hell does CPS do with the information? Nothing. or--they pay UC's Consortium $$$$$ to interpret the surveys. UC's my voice for parents were so confusing last year, that many parents just threw the surveys away.

  • Here are the few area experts left standing downtown who she could benefit from talking to:
    D Little - Network information
    S Murphy - Operations and Capital Improvements
    B Lash - Revenue
    C Davis - Sports, Driver Ed and Phys Ed
    Ed Klunk - Curriculum and Instruction
    C Holloway - Procurement
    C Colston - Labor Relations
    L Cosme - Human Resources
    J Deans and R Kyles - Community
    W Tate - Accounts payable
    Budget - No one
    Payroll - No one
    Transportation - No one
    Technology (IMPACT) - No one

  • In reply to sammy:

    Ed Klunk? Are you kidding me?

    He will try to make you think he is well-versed and knowledgeable on all subjects, but he is quite often wrong. He'll sound convincing, but that doesn't mean he is correct. It is long been time for Klunk to leave CPS.

  • In reply to sammy:

    Labor Relations-No one!

  • And if BBB is wise, she'll consult Rod Estvan of Access Living, although he's not employed by CPS.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The CEO and the CPS's new head of special education have a meeting set with myself and Access Living's CEO. We have shared a proposed agenda with CPS that includes many of the issues we have all been discussing including the impact of any proposed school closures on special education programs. Access Living is looking forward to this discussion.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    This is a good start.

    Please bring up the following issues:

    special education teachers being used for recess, lunch and all day subs-unable to meet the IEP minutes

    being forced to reduce minutes or services to meet the needs of CPS not the child

    entire special education departments being told to shut down all self-contained programs in order to dump all of the children into gen ed rooms under the guise of inclusion

    SPED teachers being ordered not to pull SPED children out for small group instruction

    minutes are rarely increased due to lack of progress at an IEP meeting-we are told that is all the help they can get in CPS

    illegal unwritten mandates from OSES

    shared aides-health and safety is compromised in case of a fire

    gen ed teachers who fail sped students because they ignore the IEP-high school teachers who fail sped students because they are unable to learn a second language-what is best practice on learning a second language? We ask the SSAs but get the run around....

    Why isn't making AYP important in CPS? Why are SPED positions being cut in schools that used to make AYP but now are not because the SPED students are not getting the help they used to get.....very interesting what CPS has been doing.....

    why haven't the Corey H. monitors addressed any of these issues?


  • In reply to district299reader:

    Also, students need EARLY intervention when a disability is suspected by school OR family, and the school counselor should not be able to obstruct a prudent request for (appropriate & timely) evaluation (or punish a teacher or family that makes the request).

    IEPs must be written in a way that PLOPs are real, goals are meaningful (with the eye toward the future), measurable, and implemented.

    These two items would be great. If they were real and not "faked" by CPS!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    responding to anniesullivan: All of the Corey H monitors except the head monitor and one assistant are now gone because the case's time line has ended. It is my understanding the head Corey H monitor is in the process of writing a report to the court due in January that will fully close down the case.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Thanks for the information.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Please add: Aides and security guards having to carry handicapped children up-down flights of stairs because the school elevator does not work.
    Self-contained students unable to have recess since there are too few aides to watch them outside—open for injuries-falls.
    Not enough staff to cover recess due to full school day--special ed personnel, case managers, and counselors having to run recess since there is no one else
    School psychologists not being assigned to schools and because for this, schools are out of compliance—also, why does Dr. Charles have to yell at these workers?
    Area officers making special education teachers do more work, complete more forms and attend workshops that do not pertain to them.
    Some area offices that still do not have SSAs—although who would want to be one?
    What is CPS doing to encourage and keep special ed teachers?

  • In reply to district299reader:


    This is why we are short of certified special education teachers in CPS.

    Someone needs to investigate the distribution of specialized services across the city. Shared aides/no aides, lack of certified special education teachers, low referral rates etc are prevalent in low income schools. As someone from teh Northwest side said, "Our parents show up with attorneys and our students get aides" On the south and west sides we have students sitting in feces because the aide is in another building taking a second or third child to the washroom. It is inhumane yet more common than people realize.

  • Brizard might be "telling all," but Chicago School GPS isn't (comments from cpsobsessed):

    158. Chicago School GPS | October 30, 2012 at 6:29 am

    I spent an afternoon with CPS officials learning all about the latest High School offerings (new IB programs, new SEHS, neighborhood STEM), resources (CPS High School Guide) and application/selection changes (IB, Military Academies & CTE). Plus, tiers are changing in November (not by much, but changing) and got the real scoop on IEP for SEHS.
    Join us at our Nov. 5th HS Seminar to hear more!

    159. alcott mom again | November 3, 2012 at 9:57 am

    CPS apply site keeps crashing.

    Wasting time entering all information and then it crashes.

    They can do nothing properly.
    161. alcott mom again | November 3, 2012 at 9:59 am

    And chicago gps how is it proper in a DEMOCRACY that you, a business, are given inside information from CPS to SELL TO PARENTS LIKE ME STRUGGLING? I am going to the tribune with this story they will love it.

    162. Sped Mom | November 3, 2012 at 10:26 am

    @ Chicago School GPS

    “…and got the real scoop on IEP for SEHS.”

    You have GOT to be kidding me! You’re collecting this info and then asking to share it only for pieces of gold? Do you have ANY idea how embattled and drained of resources families who are trying to extract FAPE from CPS are? You should be posting and offering this for free. Taking it to Rod Estvan at Access Living, a NFP that works tirelessly on behalf to students with disabilities who are discarded by CPS. If nothing else, you should be advocating for your CPS contact to publicly share this info she/he shared with you.

    Yes, it would be wonderful for the education reporters in this town to bother to do what you did to gather the info. And, yes, it’s a free market in which people can hire others even to paint their toenails. But, really. Think of your professional ethics.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    thanks for the comments -- i've heard and read this observation (indecisive) frequently, but still don't have a clear sense about which decisions did JCB not make, or make incorrectly? i know that the big ones -- SB7, attempting to implement the longer day immediately, and the takeback of the raise -- weren't his. can you give us an idea of the things that he or his team were supposed to be deciding but didn't?

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    One of the first things Mr Brizard said was that he was going to help the children with disabilities-that did not happen-specialized services in CPS is a misnomer-full of incompetents-needs an audit of sped funds....

  • In reply to district299reader:

    right, but that was already broken -- he didn't mess it up dramatically that i know of. can anyone give me something that JCB absolutely botched, in terms of making a wrong decision or muffing the rollout, that was his call not city hall's?

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Alexander, just guessing here but I don't think JCB was let go over what happened in the immediate past. The mayor does not seem like the type to do a lot hand-wringing over what is done. My guess is that he and Rahm were at odds on what to tackle/reform/change next. Probably school consolidations would be my guess. Rahm probably wants it all done now and all at once (I'm in that camp - one year of disruption and then its done, a year later no body remembers) or prolonged agony over years just like Daley was doing.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    No "CPS Parent" would claim that you could close or consolidate 100-140 schools and that a year later "no body remembers." Furthermore, if you were a parent at one of the many CPS schools that have been neglected for decades you wouldn't suggest that parents have such short memories.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Your're making my point - when they have left that neglected school for the better building which can now be properly staffed and improved because savings achieved from not needing administrators, engineers, custodians, security etc. who were all working at half speed - they will not remember that old neglected school.

    Next up - closing all tiny schools (300 -500 students) and building brand new facilities with gyms, fields, etc. which accommodate 850 - 1250 each.

  • J.C. let me give you the south side lingua franca... "You've been played."
    Almost everyone except you questioned why someone with a 94% dissatisfaction vote by the members of the community you served would be appointed head of CPS. This was the first clue.

  • Headache299
    You say JC got played?!
    He made $750,000 for 18 months of work!

  • I know what Emanuel gave BBB: a quarter mil and 30 grand in moving costs- months after she actually moved. I know what he gave JCB 3/4 million dollars and a self-written letter of recommendation. Looks like Emanuel decided it was politically expedient to give the kids the shaft.

  • Former CEO JC Brizard, who cares what you think! P.S.- Now you can do all the kayaking that you want do do.

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