Dear Mayor Emanuel: What are you doing to our schools?

Mayor Emanuel,
You sold people on a campaign promise to fix the school system in Chicago and give their children a better education. You have done nothing but make it worse. Your heart seems to be in the right place, but your methods are all wrong, Mr. Mayor!

You made some very nasty remarks about the teachers and what they do. Sometimes you just need to be quiet and go to work. Everyone knows that there are some bad teachers in Chicago and that the teachers have had some amazing contracts that were not deserved by all. When you worked to get the law changed to limit the actions of the unions, and mouthed off about it, you guaranteed that their would be a teacher's strike. I don't know how you didn't see that, everyone else did.

This is the 5th CPS CEO in 4 years.
1. Arne Duncan, July 2001 to January 2009
2. Ron Huberman, January 2009 to November 2010
3. Terry Mazany, November 2010 – July 2011
4. Jean-Claude Brizard, July 1, 2011 to October 2012
5. Barbara Byrd-Bennett, October 2012 to Present

The revolving door at CPS needs to stop.  Let me repeat that, the revolving door at CPS needs to stop.  Every CEO after U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan has come to CPS and said "This place is a mess, I must fix it". They start to make changes and then they leave the system in worse shaped than when they arrived because their plan to fix CPS was not well thought out.  There is so much waste, incompetency and such an unfair distribution of resources that it will take years to fix.  It will take years to fix CPS.  There are no miracles to be had on this one, just hard work and a lot of time. There used to be valuable people at CPS with great institutional knowledge, but they are gone now.  One of the many CEOs fired them or made them leave by requiring them to re-apply for their jobs. With each new CEO comes new performance guidelines because everyone has their own new ideas. God forbid, anyone look at what's currently in place and try to build upon or restructure what's in place.

You need to let the new CEO use her expertise.  Brizard was stifled and controlled by you.  We all saw that in the first press conference when you introduced him and you stopped him from speaking.  The CEO of CPS has expertise and experience that you do not have and you should respect that. You don't even know what a typical school day is like in CPS because your children attend a private school. You can't learn that by talking to people. Actually spending time in a classroom learning or teaching gives you the real school experience.

I hope that the new CEO is committed to serving in the best interest of the children and will be in this position for a long time. Mayor Emanuel, you need to move out of the way and allow the CEO and the Board (both appointed by you) to do their jobs. They need time to make improvements. Like I said before, there are no miracles to be had. It will take years to see substantial results in academic performance and a recovery from the budget deficit.

Over 400,000 students need a stable school system. They need a system that will adequately educate them and prepare them to compete in the world, not just in Chicago. The students need a CEO that is focused on their success. Below is a quote from the new CEO:

"I'm looking forward to two things: a collaborative and productive relationship with Karen and the members of the CTU, as well as the rank-and-file teachers," Byrd-Bennett said.

There was no mention of children. I must say that I am very skeptical of a CEO that is more interested in bonding with the teacher's union boss and teachers than making sure the children of Chicago are a priority. The union's ass has been kissed too much already. Let's focus on the children and providing them with a world class education. That should be possible without bowing down to a union.

Mayor Emanuel, I beg you to please move out of the way and let your hand picked people do the jobs that you hired them to do. These children need a stable school system that is not constantly changing.

Sincerely,
Chicago Public School Parent

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