And Then There Were Three

Today's big news (yesterday's really, but you're probably too busy) is that Oliver Sicat, the fifth member of Rahm Emanuel's original team of eight, has announced his departure from CPS, leaving just Becky Carroll, Tim Cawley, and -- yes! -- Alicia Winkler. Son of immigrants, Sicat was formerly a Noble Street principal. You can read about him in the USC alumni magazine here.

These departures are fairly normal during a leadership transition. Byrd-Bennett has already announced some new hires -- from Detroit and Memphis, among other places.  The real issue is how brief and tumultuous the Brizard era was, and whether Emanuel will continue to try and run CPS from City Hall or give Byrd-Bennett some room.


Top CPS official leaves school system, reorganization continues WBEZ:  Just three of the eight people initially appointed by Emanuel remain. One of those three is Winkler. The other two are Carroll  and Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley.

The charter contradiction Newstips: Barbara Byrd-Bennett talks about reestablishing trust between CPS and parents and communities – then she turns around and says that closing neighborhood schools has nothing to do with expanding charters.


Chicago Teachers Union Charges Bulls Owner With United Center Tax Dodge DNAI: Teachers say tax breaks saved charter-schools supporter Jerry Reinsdorf tens of millions of dollars.

It won't be a Happy New Year for labor in Chicago Current:  As Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, said, “Our public bodies shouldn't be leading a race to the bottom through privatization,” which often means “undercutting workers and their wages” and “is a rush to judgment, and promised ...


Chicago public school with no heat stays open Ray Salazar: The Chicago Public Schools college-prep experience means different things in different parts of our city. This summer, Hancock High School on the city's Southwest Side regained its "college prep" title.

Questions about school closings The Answer Sheet: Here is a letter sent to Barbara Byrd-Bennett, chief executive officer of Chicago Public Schools, asking important questions about the process being used to determine which public schools will be closed.


Tests of speed cameras near city schools and parks end Sun Times: A monthlong test of speed cameras near Chicago schools and parks ended quietly Thursday but Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration won’t say how it went, what happens from here or when cameras will be turned on for keeps.

Chicago-Based Charity Donates Goods To Sandy-Impacted SI Schools NY1: Pencils, notebooks, folders, along with other school supplies and winter coats. They're all part of a shipment of donated goods from Chicago to Staten Island schools affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Every school needs a doctor, pediatricians say Tribune: Despite no federal or uniform state requirements to do so, all school districts should have a doctor to oversee school health services, according to a policy statement from a group of American pediatricians.


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  • The Office of Portfolio is now called the Office of Innovation and Incubation! You have got to be kidding me! Where does CPS get these names from?

  • My guess is CPS got the idea for the name from the Boston Consulting Group.

    Rod Estvan

  • Sounds like a way to finesse funneling public monies directly to privateers who don't have ::any:: ed system expertise, as opposed to privateers who take the trouble to makeover their resumes so they ::sound:: like they can do work in fields where they have no expertise. These folks will do anything to keep from consulting the educational community. If you thought it was hard to keep track of consultant waste on studies that never generated programs, just wait.

  • Any bets on whether Becky or Timmy will roll? Their beds are made. No friends. I would guess BBB is sick of BC. She kind of wears on you that way and can't help it. Alicia will likely stay. She seems to still have power and value to facilitate the changes for BBB.

  • In reply to sammy:

    Sammy, you are wrong on Tim Calley and Becky Carroll. Both are too close to the Mayor to get done. The amount of turnover is crazy and it's even crazier that the worst remain. Winckler and Carroll are clearly the worst of the original crew. Carroll has only galvanized everyone's cynical views of CPS whether or reformer or a union faithful. Winckler has actually caused damage to the institution. We all know school leadership is a disaster, subs are still a problem and no one feels supported by that office. As others have said, the race factor is highly questionable but the performance of Winckler and Carroll just goes to show that loyalty and subservience trumps competency.

  • In reply to westofwestern:

    I only jest about this because it is so ridiculous. W.O.W. and D299 you're both on-the-money with your comments. Seriously speaking I give the 3 remaining Mayor's picks 2 years because Rahm has just over 2 years. Of course he could find them something else if we really want to make things right at Central Office. TC can go back to private, BC can return to the Soccer team and AW can go back to Sears. I say it over and over again about general central office management of departments, but leaders have to cease placing folks in positions over programs they have no prior knowledge or experience dealing with. Schools, parents, communities and kids are a different entity. More so than any other workplace.

  • TC will stay-he has Rahm’s ear; can get the bureaucrats to work and be truthful at 125. OIC will make a statement this month on his living in the city situation. As for AW—no one wants the job; she created too many problems to be solved. The substitutes-a mess, the non-banked sick days and the disability program will cost CPS more money. The wellness program is a joke, except for the first test, but isn’t CPS already paying for this with the health insurance companies? And the new employee discipline, if you think students commit many infractions before being suspended, employees now can too.

  • One question for Tim-do you know SES is starting 2 months late? Didn’t area officers tell you? Who will be blamed for lower test scores? If the longer school day does not produce higher test scores, won’t that look bad for Rahm?

  • Who are the 5 of 8 who got the boot?

    Brizard= Haitian-American

    Sicat= Filipino American

    Donoso= Latino

    Rose= African-American

    Bowman= African-American

    Saenz= Latino

    Carroll, Winckler, and Cawley all appear to be of European heritage. Is there any other ethnic or religion commonality? Hmmm... maybe they are Mormon...

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Nope, just all whiteys. That is still enough in Chicago.

  • Honest Tim Cawley will be moving into the city in 6 months!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    read the article correctly-he will still have his waiver for a year. Can't believe the OIG will allow this as other CPS employees lose their jobs for not living the city. This is wrong and unjust.

  • Hey D299, no fair playing the race card, but it is peculiar all of our own got to stay in place. They all have 2 years or less but BC is the one that will leave first.

  • In reply to sammy:

    No fair? No fair keeping the white appointees and pushing out the minorities. It isn't "playing the race card" if it is this blatant, it is the truth. Consider that the three remaining have been highly controversial, while some of those who are gone (Bowman, Rose) were highly respected. Only Brizard was more controversial than Emanuel's remaining white selections.

  • While we can speculate on the various machinations of the CPS central administration, possibly a more important question is to what extent will it be needed at all in the future? It seems fairly clear that the CPS Board and its outside consultants simply want the central office to be reduced to a computerized menu of materials and services supposedly to be made available to schools. There is no reason that virtually all of the service functions of Clark Street can’t be farmed out to non-CPS employees. Even compliance monitoring for special education can be and is being done in some other districts by consultants, not district employees. There are numerous school districts that no longer have their own law departments for example and farm out everything.

    How small could the central administration get? Very small, basically a chief officer and two or three staff in each unit. The exception may be in procurements that may slightly expand. Even functions like evaluating the academic performance of schools and determining closures and turn around projects could be fully handed off to outside consulting organizations which will simply had over reports to what is left at CPS central. The public relations office currently is bloated and is perfect for massive privatizing. Really the district only needs one or two people in this area and all the rest of the work could be handed off to consultants.

    We are moving towards a system where every school will have to function like a charter school, many of the business functions carried out by CPS central will and are being placed in the laps of schools. The schools will get no extra money and will be expected just to function like little businesses do in a larger economy. This is where we are going I think and there isn’t a lot of reason to worry about the central office anymore because its actual role will continue to decline. It doesn’t mean that administrative costs will necessarily decline dramatically, but as more and more work is done by outside consultants and chiefs who come and go clearly costs for things like pensions and health care will decline.

    If major corporations can farm out many service functions to call centers in India why can’t CPS do this? What we know of today as the CPS central administration in ten years will likely look very different than it does even today. There will likely be no need even for the space that exists at Clark Street, and in fact today much of the space in no longer being used.

    Rod Estvan

  • Tim is actually effective. Oliver was not. With all of the school closings this year, the failings of the portfolio office will be felt for years to come.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    O.K. Tim, whatever you say...

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Do you even know what you are saying? How will the new Office of Innovation and Incubation be any different or better than all the other screwed up departments at CPS? No one in administration at CPS is "effective." For years, the leaders of our school system (namely, the Mayor and board) has handicapped every CEO, CPS department and school by pushing out the right people, bringing in washed up cronies (now looking at you Zopp and Hines), not supporting young talent and whenever the heat got a little to high to do right for schools and kids, tossing aside any department lead to satisfy the wolves. Emanuel is worse than Daley, because he lacks a spine and cajones. As soon as anyway raises a stink about anything, he looks for a head to satisfy the minor dust ups. The massive turnover will only get worse. There is no way a team from Detroit (Byrd Bennett, Boik, Elsey), the country's worst school system) and Memphis, a city that decided to dissolve its school district (Barker) are going to do anything but further destroy CPS.

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