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The [Thursday] Papers

Everyone is reporting that Rahm Emanuel has tapped apparatchik par excellence Forrest Claypool to become the next CEO of CPS.

Wow.

That says to me that Rahm simply couldn't find anyone else to take the job. Or maybe he didn't want to risk conducting a national search and bringing someone in - or promoting someone from within, but who's left what with Barbara Byrd-Bennett's kitchen cabinet disappeared - and finding in a few months that he had struck out for a third time.

I can't imagine Claypool is in it for the long haul; maybe he's just supposed to get the city through contract negotiations with the teachers' union and the pension and budget mess before stepping aside to, I don't know, run the Department of Aviation or something.

Which just adds up to more chaos for CPS; let's face it, Rahm has really made a hash of the place.

It would be interesting to know Rahm's reasoning - I doubt we'll get sincere answers - in going from an experienced if out-of-his-depth and not entirely honest educator/superintendent in Jean Claude-Brizard to experienced educator cum grim reaper extraordinaire Barbara Byrd-Bennett to public payroll dilettante/fixer Claypool, whose resume includes various positions for Richard M. Daley, a showy term on the Cook County board, stints running the CTA and park district, and in-between tours of duty as a mayoral chief of staff.

Now Claypool is being called upon to clean up a mess made by a mayor who just got re-elected and finds himself having to gut his schools leadership.

I said it then and I'll say it now: The case against Rahm should have rested as much on competence as elitism. Before becoming mayor, he had never been a chief executive and never exhibited chief executive abilities. He's an operator, a legislator (of sorts), a hack, dealmaker, a fundraiser, but not a leader.

And for someone who has spent more than four years telling us how important the city's kids are, he sure has mucked up their education and paralyzed the system they (and their parents) depend on.

Let's take a look at the coverage.

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"The appointment is a sign of the troubles at CPS, which faces a massive budget hole, a federal investigation into contracting and negotiations on a new teachers contract," the Tribune reports in its second paragraph.

"Emanuel also is expected to appoint Frank Clark, a retired ComEd executive, as the new Chicago Board of Education chairman, the sources said. Clark headed up an advisory panel during the process that led to the controversial closings of 50 schools. Clark would replace David Vitale."

Good riddance. Vitale was yet another abject failure amidst the long list of failures on Rahm's scorecard. But we need his financial acumen to save the city!

"Claypool was chief of staff twice under Daley, and between those stints he served as superintendent of the Chicago Park District, where he was lauded for cutting costs and streamlining bureaucracy."

Lauded by who? Passive construction is rarely recommended. More accurate: " . . . where conservative institutions like the Civic Federation and the Tribune editorial page lauded him for cutting costs and streamlining bureaucracy but organized labor and community organizations criticized him for cutting jobs and services."

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At the Sun-Times, "Sneed hears rumbles a major upset at the Chicago Board of Education will be announced soon," in what is billed as an exclusive but of course is nothing of the sort.

Education reporters and others close to the system such as advocacy groups had been hearing the same rumblings over the last week or so.

Everything else Sneed "reports" is background.

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Reminder:

"Emanuel trusts Claypool so much that he wanted Claypool to temporarily take over his Northwest Side congressional seat after Emanuel was named chief of staff to President Barack Obama. He asked then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich to appoint Claypool to the position, according to a transcript of a Nov. 8, 2008, telephone conversation, which was taped by the FBI. Blagojevich said he didn't have power to make the temporary appointment, according to the transcript, which was filed in 2011 in Blagojevich's criminal case. No wrongdoing ever was alleged.

"There was a lot of interest in the seat, but Claypool 'wants to do it for like one term or two, max,' said Emanuel, who was considering an eventual return to the U.S. House."

To be clear, Rahm wanted Claypool as a placeholder; after serving as Obama's chief of staff, he would then reclaim his old House seat through a previously agreed-upon perversion of democracy. He had no intention of becoming mayor, regardless of the campaign narrative reporters bought that it was his lifelong dream (and regardless of what he argued during his residency kerfuffle.)

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From the CTU:

"Claypool is a political 'fixer' and longtime mayoral insider who represents another non-education, business-style manager of our schools. Mayoral control has given us 20 years of businessmen running CPS, going back to Paul Vallas, and look where it's gotten us. This appointment suggests that the mayor will look to cut even more from neighborhood schools, when what we need is a return to an education-centered approach," said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey.

"The choice of Frank Clark to replace David Vitale is merely swapping one businessman for another," Sharkey said. "As chairman of the commission that recommended the closing of more than 50 Chicago public schools, Clark played a key role in managing the greatest number of school closures in U.S. history, and in the cruelest of ironies, he has a charter school named after him - the Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy."

"The CTU is negotiating a contract with the Board and is willing to work with anyone, but these political appointments are telling us a lot about where the mayor is taking our schools, which is over a cliff," Sharkey said. "The need for a new CEO and Board president because of corruption and irresponsible financial practices are clear examples of why we need an elected, representative school board."

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Now let's turn to the intriguing and informative Twitter stream of excellent education reporter Sarah Karp:

Running schools, running trains - same thing, right? Also, how well do our trains run?

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I rest my case.

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This is important; essentially a banker was running our schools - and putting them into great financial peril.

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Also, how well does ComEd run? You can say you want to run CPS like a business, but be careful which business you pick to run it like.

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Comment from Tom Chambers: I wonder if Forrest Claypool has all the trouble he's shot stuffed and mounted above his fireplace.

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20 Tweets: Charlie Daniels
Bringing his homespun Southern wisdom about Barack Hussein Obama, Donald Trump and the Confederate flag to Illinois.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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They're all horrible human beings. Every last one of 'em.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Be beautiful.



Permalink

Posted on July 16, 2015


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