This is going to sound cynical.
But I’m not cynical.
It is just that over the thirty years that I taught I went through five five-year plans.
There does appear to be a difference between the five five-year plans in my old district and CPS Barbara Byrd-Bennett’s five-year plan.
Given the recent history of CPS CEOs, Byrd-Bennett won’t be around in five years.
Ron Huberman and Jean Claude Brizard together barely made it to five.
Another difference is that our board and superintendents paid lip service to teacher and community voice.
I say lip service because not really.
One of them would hire an outside consulting firm. Committees would be formed of parents, teachers and community people. There would be facilitators and big sheets of chart paper. Goals and outcomes would be voted upon. And then the board and administration would go do what they were going to do anyway.
Byrd-Bennett seems to skipped the middle man with her Five Pillars.
The thing is you couldn’t possibly pick a term to sound more top-down than Five Year Plan.
It positively screams COMMAND AND CONTROL. She doesn’t need no stinkin’ committees.
After all, it was BBB that unilaterally decided to ban the graphic novel Persepolis from all CPS facilities, causing a storm of outrage from everyone except the Tribune’s Eric Zorn.
I hear that the response to the CEOs presentation yesterday by assembled staff was positively chilly.
CTU VP Jesse Sharkey said, “I don’t have any problem with the district having a plan.” But he somewhat redundantly called this one “top-down mumbo jumbo.”
Since the Five Pillar Five Year Plan is really just for the purpose of public relations and has no relationship to anything that will actually happen, it is silly to deconstruct it.
Yet, it if you think about the world we live in and the speed in which things change.
If you think about students and the reality of five years – current first graders will be in sixth grade, high school freshman will be in the job market or in college.
If you think about those things, five-year plans seem somewhat problematic.
Our district had a five-year technology plan.
How wrong-headed can you get?
Some have criticized the Five Year Five Pillars for being vague and unspecific.
But, of course. It is a fraud. What else could it be?