The mantra of self-styled education “reformers” is that in order to improve schools, they must run “like a business.” It’s important to note that nine out of ten new businesses fail each year.
Chicago Public Schools is managed sort of like a business. There’s a CEO and there’s a Board of Directors. Meetings consist of seemingly endless PowerPoint presentations and jargon like “rightsizing” and “leveraging.” However, it seems that it’s a business that’s set up to collapse. The mayor is the one stacking up this house of cards as he appoints the entire Board and CEO. I’m no MBA, but I would think that if I had the opportunity to appoint the entire Board of Directors of a corporation as well as the CEO, I would not appoint people who also sat on the board of another organization with a sole purpose of dissolving and selling off portions of my business. I would think that would be a fast track to putting my business into that 90% failure category.
New Schools for Chicago formerly known as the Renaissance Schools Fund is a non-profit corporation that seeks to advance “school choice” in Chicago, which is a nice way of saying “selling schools to private contractors.” The Board of Directors of New Schools for Chicago is largely comprised of captains of industry, with a few exceptions, namely Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale, and newly appointed member of the School Board Deborah Quazzo. Clare Munana, a past member of the Board of Education also sits on the New Schools Board as well as two people who have privatized charter schools named after them, John Rowe, Chairman and CEO of Exelon and Bruce Rauner, gubernatorial hopeful whose sole agenda is busting Unions, specifically teachers unions.
Again, I’m no MBA, but how is double duty on a public Board and a private one seeking to dissolve the public one not a conflict-of-interest? More…