First thing: Kudos to my bro for his prognostication.
Two weeks ago he predicted that the new CEO at CPS, Forrest Claypool, would hand out banker boxes to the Byrd-Bennett crew and show them the door.
Some cynics might claim that this was an easy prediction since the new boss will always bring in his own people after firing the old ones.
Not all will be smart enough to claim it as a budget cut to be used in contract negotiations with the teachers union.
This is Claypool’s modus operandi.
Wherever he goes, the playbook has been the same. Start by cutting the heck out of your own executive budget. Then move on to the tougher job of challenging costly union work rules.
Now Claypool is bringing to CPS the strategy he executed at the Chicago Park District, the CTA and during two stints as former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s chief of staff. Claypool had planned to do the same as Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s chief of staff before the resignation of CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett altered the game plan.
It’s like, what is the first thing a new principal does when they come into a building?
Paint their office. Even when the old principal only lasted a year and painted the office when they got hired.
One day at lunch a bunch of us were talking in the teachers lounge. How would our work be different if there was no central office?
Nothing would be worse, we all agreed. In fact, our work would be better because it would give us more time to focus on teaching and less hoops to jump through.
Some of the jobs Claypool is claiming to get rid of?
Chief incubation officer and director-talent generalist.
As goofy as these job titles are, don’t be fooled.
The first has to do with charter schools and the second is the latest name for Human Resources.
Is Claypool getting rid of those jobs? Not likely.
Changing job titles? Probably.
My old board changed the assistant superintendent for curriculum to the director of student learning.
A budget cut?
Money just changed budget lines.
My old board changed the assistant superintendent for personnel to human resource director.
Same switch of money to a different budget line.
Now human resource directors are called talent generalists.
For those who can decipher a school district budget, and believe me when I tell you that the CTU has those people, we will see soon enough that this is all smoke and mirrors.
Claypool will hire his own incubator and call it something else.
This is all to impress the media and to justify blowing up any progress in bargaining with the teachers.
In the end, CTU president Karen Lewis is right.
Claypool will have to stop playing games and bargain seriously.
And one way or the other, as long as we have collective bargaining and a union, the teachers will get a contract.