I See Conflicts Of Interest, Everywhere

Fist-of-Money-1Uh-oh?  Chicagoist has a story about a [low-level] CPS employee working to create a new charter school in the Pershing network.  And Catalyst notes a Substance article about a [presumably part-time and very lucrative] coaching contract Byrd-Bennett has with the Broad Foundation [whose head is a major Democratic fundraiser and considered by some to be the Darth Vader of school reform].

Also: More news about how CPS is going to pay for and roll out the full-day Kindergarten plan. There’s also a new sex ed program in the works, complete with information about sexual orientation.


Byrd-Bennett on Broad Academy payroll Catalyst:  Substance News has obtained a document through a Freedom of Information Act request that shows CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has “secondary employment” with The Broad Superintendent Academy as an Executive Coach, a contract she entered into before assuming her appointment as CPS chief. CPS Board president David Vitale approved Byrd-Bennett’s request in November to fulfill her Broad obligation, which ends April 30. Also, according to Substance, the Broad website had a copy of its “Handbook on School Closings” available.

Another Chicago Charter School with Clout? Chicagoist: Besides being a member of the Board of Education’s administration staff [as an instructional effectiveness specialist for the Pershing Network], Jeannie Kim is also a founding member of the design team for the proposed Be The Change charter school.


Cuts at CPS central office to fund full-day kindergarten Chicago Sun-Times: Currently, Chicago Public Schools have the option of substituting full-day kindergarten for the half-day required by state law. But principals who choose to provide a full school day for their youngest students must use discretionary funds to pay for …

Full-day kindergarten to be paid for with central office savings, CPS says Tribune: In the face of a steep budget deficit that is forcing school closings, Chicago Public Schools officials said Monday they have come up with $15 million to fund full-day kindergarten for all students.

Mayor expands full-day kindergarten to all Chicago Public Schools WBEZ:  Chicago Public Schools is planning to increase funding for kindergarten by $15 million dollars next year by cutting positions in central office, cutting overtime for engineers, and renegotiating heat and electrical contracts. Illinois only mandates half-day kindergarten, but so do many other states. Only 10 states require a full-day program.

Full Day Kindergarten is Another Brilliant CPS Plan CPS Chatter: At my school that means that we need to find at least 4 extra rooms.  We’re going to make classes larger and probably lose the music and art rooms, and possibly the library for good measure.  When they mandate things for all schools, they fail to teach every school’s unique circumstances into account and this is a great example.


New CPS Sex Ed Program Starts Early, Addresses Sexual Orientation DNAinfo: It is important that we provide students of all ages with accurate and appropriate information so they can make healthy choices in regards to their social interactions, behaviors, and relationships,” CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said.




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  • I'm sharing these:

    The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) voted 5
    to 1 (Vinni Hall voted no) to put out for public comment
    rules that would completely eliminate limits on special
    education class size.

    The proposed rules would mean there would be NO state limit
    on the number of students a special education teacher
    is required to serve.

    Also there would be NO state limit on the number of students
    with disabilities a general education teacher has in their classroom.

    Please see information below. If you object to the deletion of class size limits for special education or no limits on the %age of students with disabilities in a general education classroom, consider taking the actions described at the end of the message. (unquote)
    While most of the testimony before ISBE was predictable
    (administrator groups in favor of repealing all these state rules -
    "another mandate" that we "cannot afford" - and teacher and
    parent groups opposed), much of the discussion was on the state
    rule defining a "general education" classroom as one in which
    no more than 30 percent of the students have an IEP.

    By law, these proposed rule changes were presented to the
    Illinois State Advisory Council (ISAC) on the Education of
    Children with Disabilities. They voted 9 to 4 to OPPOSE
    the eliminination of the 30 percent limit in a general ed class.

    But after the ISAC Chair, Beth Conran, informed ISBE of that
    9 to 4 vote to OPPOSE, she stated that she personally was in
    SUPPORT of eliminating the 30 percent limit.

    ISAC took NO vote on eliminating all the special ed class size
    limits as it appears they spent their time fighting over the
    30 percent limit for general ed.

    Judy Hackett, presenting testimony for the special education
    administrators (IAASE), stated they supported local control
    and that Response to Intervention (RTI) meant that we "move
    away from disability labels."


    (1) Let everyone know what is happening.
    ISBE released the proposed rule changes on its website
    the afternoon before the vote. A parent who testified
    said he found out about it at midnight.
    (2) Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.
    (3) Contact your State Representative and State Senator
    in Springfield to tell them what ISBE is attempting to do.

    Be prepared to offer public comment on the proposed
    rules, although there is no guarantee that ISBE will
    change course unless they are forced to do so.

    Bev Johns, Chair
    ISELA - Illinois Special Education Coalition

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The reason ISBE is proposing eliminating the class size limits for special education is because of funding. The federal budget cuts that may begin shortly include $1 billion in IDEA funding to the states. Once these cuts become real, assuming no deal is reached, under the law the states will be allowed to reduce their funding for special education to local school districts by an amount equal to the reduction in federal support.

    Changing these rules would allow districts including Chicago to also reduce their funding for special education because they would not be locked into the class size rules. The IDEA rule called MOE that forces districts not to reduce sped funding below the prior year's level unless their was an actual reduction in the number of disabled children would be waived to the extent of any funding reductions to the local school districts including Chicago. I was at the ISBE Board meeting and all the arguments made in favor of the rule change were based on money.

    I am not in Chicago so it is unlikely I will be responding to any questions relating to this post until at least Sunday.

    Rod Estvan

  • 1. Conflict of interest--what's new in Chicago? Next the Sun-Times will be writing a series on her severance package. School Board is no different than the MWRD.

    2. I sure see no reason to teach first graders about sexual orientation. Not much different than surmises on Stewie Griffin being gay or having something in his or her diaper. Maybe someone should be teaching first graders that 2+2 isn't 7, or the three forms of there (i.e. "there books" ain't correct).

  • Chicago Teachers Union Warns in Facebook Post: 'This is Not Detroit!' - DNAinfo.com Chicago http://ow.ly/i4GLf 3/27 protest

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Surprised me. I guess our Ford plant is still open.

  • In reply to jack:

    As a matter of fact it is open over on Torrance ave.

  • Besides the economic idiocy of opening a charter anywhere near-in the Perishing network, another question arises is how much CPS employment time and services is Jeannie Kim using for her Be the Change charter school? This should be investigated-this can be looked upon as theft of time. Was the Pershing chief mislead when she was hired or in his awareness of her duties and background?

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