Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Emanuel to retain some City Colleges leaders

By Kristen Mack and Jodi Cohen, Tribune reporters

Rahm Emanuel is keeping some of outgoing Mayor Richard Daley's leadership team at the City Colleges of Chicago so it can see through a plan to "reinvent" the system.

The mayor-elect announced Monday that Cheryl Hyman will stay on as chancellor and Martin Cabrera Jr. will remain board chairman.

"I am bringing the rest of the board to the table, not to waver, but to double down on this type of reform and reinvention of City Colleges," Emanuel said of several new trustees he named to oversee the seven community colleges in Chicago.

New to the board is Ellen Alberding, president of the Joyce Foundation, who will serve as board vice chairman. The Joyce Foundation was one of four nonprofit groups that provided money for Emanuel's mayoral transition.

Also new are Charles Jenkins, senior pastor at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church; Marisela Lawson, a partner at management consultant firm the Sagence Group; Larry Rogers Sr., a trial lawyer; and Paula Wolff, the former president of Governors State University who is a senior executive at Chicago Metropolis 2020. Staying on is Everett Rand, who is part owner of Midway Airport Concessions.

City Colleges began the "reinvention" plan in November, an effort to rethink which programs to offer and to improve students' dismal transfer rate to four-year colleges and universities. About 16 percent of students make such transfers, and only 4 to 5 percent receive a bachelor's degree, according to data provided by the system.

Last year, Hyman suggested City Colleges reconsider its open-enrollment policy because many of its students needed remedial classes to prepare for college-level work. Providing that extra help cost the system $30 million a year. Emanuel said it's his preference to maintain an open-enrollment system, but that doesn't mean the board will necessarily agree.

Searches are under way for presidents at all but one of the seven city colleges. The current presidents had to reapply for their jobs.

Also Monday, Emanuel once again defended his choice of Jean-Claude Brizard to lead Chicago Public Schools.

"Did he ruffle feathers? I sure hope he did," Emanuel said of Brizard's three-year tenure as schools superintendent in Rochester, N.Y. The Tribune reported last week that Brizard was the target of least two federal lawsuits, including an ongoing discrimination case.

Emanuel noted that Arne Duncan, the former Chicago schools CEO who is now U.S. secretary of education, faced similar lawsuits.

Emanuel keeps City Colleges leaders, signals support for open enrollment

BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter fspielman@suntimes.com Apr 26, 2011 2:08AM

The leadership team chosen by Mayor Daley to re-invent Chicago City Colleges got a new lease on life from Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel on Monday, but their plan to end open enrollment may bite the dust.
Emanuel declared his preference for retaining the open-door admissions policy after announcing his decision to keep City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman and Board Chairman Martin Cabrera Jr. and “double-down” on their reform agenda — by appointing five new board members.
“I’m not gonna nit-pick different decisions. I expect them to offer and present the leadership that’s necessary. But, I want that type of open enrollment. That’s my preference,” Emanuel told reporters at Olive Harvey College, 100001 S. Woodlawn.
Last year, Hyman and then-Board Chairman Gery Chico raised the revolutionary idea of ending the open door admissions policy.
They argued that the financially-strapped system could no longer afford the $30 million-a-year cost of providing remedial classes for students who can’t cut it. They maintained that those students might be better and more inexpensively served throughout programs run by alternative high schools.
Daley was all for the idea.
“How can you take someone who has an eighth-grade reading level into a college. ... If they have to put ‘em all in remediation, they’re really not in a college system,” Daley told reporters last spring.
“There’s a huge remedial program of $30 million they’re running now. If you want to make it a quality City College [system]. You need quality.”
Hyman is the former Orr High School drop-out who left home to escape drug-addicted parents, attended Olive-Harvey College and rose to become a Commonwealth Edison executive, then chancellor.
“Her life path is a testament to the enormous potential of City Colleges,” Emanuel said.
Hyman, Cabrera and board member Everett Rand will be joined by five new members: Joyce Foundation President Ellen Alberding; former Governors State University President Paula Wolff; attorney Larry Rogers Sr.; management consultant Marisela Lawson and Charles Jenkins, pastor of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church.
Their mission is to speed the “re-invention” of a City Colleges system that, Emanuel claims, is still not serving inner-city kids.
“This is their ticket to the middle-class. It may be their ticket to a four-year institution and it may be their ticket to a job. But when they graduate, that diploma has to mean something,” Emanuel said.
“You cannot have a school system with a seven percent graduation rate when others are competing at 22 or 25 percent. You cannot have a system that has declining enrollment when other city colleges around the country are seeing enrollment expand. That says something.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Who is the new CPS CEO and how will he carry out Rahm's education agenda?

While researching the new CPS CEO, Mr. Brizard, I wasn't surprised by my findings.....  
He was born in Haiti and raised in poverty in a New York housing project by his immigrant parents — both teachers — Jean-Claude Brizard had to fight his way to the top.  Good Story...sounds familiar?  
When you dig deeper you will understand why Rochester's educators wanted him to leave, banded together in a 94% vote of no confidence, and held public demonstrations: 
Jean-Claude Brizard holds a corporate, privatization agenda which we recognize as an agenda hostile to the best interests of the students and the people of the community.  This agenda blatantly disregards student and community voices and devalues engaged citizens, especially when they don't blindly obey the privateer-pushed profit-driven direction held by "Business Driven Leaders".  The people in Rochester who resisted this agenda and fought for positive, research-based alternatives stand in solidarity with us in Chicago who continue this struggle. The sooner more recognize this for what it is in Chicago and organize and mobilize throughout the nation, the better. For those interested in more knowledge on how this agenda has unfolded in Rochester and likely will continue in Chicago, you can read additional information on 
Here's a clip of Sharkey at a CTU press conference, criticizing Brizard's position on merit pay and several other school policies:

Chicago Sun-times: Rahm Emanuel announced his Chicago Public Schools team on Monday, tapping Jean-Claude Brizard, the Rochester, N.Y schools chief as his Chief Executive Officer. Business executive Penny Pritzker--who led the Obama fund-raising drive in 2008--is named by Emanuel as a CPS board member. Names of other top appointees and their bios: 


No one in this city should be confused about where Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel wants to take the Chicago Public Schools. 


Monday, April 18, 2011

Cheryl Has to Go!!!

Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel named Rochester, N.Y., schools Supt. Jean-Claude Brizard on Monday as Chicago’s new schools chief.  Jean-Claude Brizard has an education and business background.  Emanuel said he didn’t end up having to pick between an educator and a manager in deciding to bring in Brizard.“Choosing between a manager and an experienced educator is a false choice,” Emanuel said. He said Brizard has shown himself to be both an excellent teacher “and a proven manager.”

Why does City Colleges of Chicago have a Chancellor without an education background and no proven leadership experience?  Cheryl Hyman only had a good story (from Rags to Riches)... she only had one year experience as a Vice President at ComEd, no education background, and no doctorate degree (despite the robe she will wear during graduation).  Students deserve better...we deserve better.  

Student's we want to praise and applaud you for your demonstration last week!  Here's a few clips from Friday's protest. 


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Student Protest at District Office

This Friday!!!
April 15, 2011
Student Protest at District
226 W. Jackson Street
1:30 - 3:00 pm

Watch this video - be inspired!

Let's support our students! Let's support our community!  Let's support our colleges!  Our voices must be heard!  

Below is the media coverage from the rally that took place this past Wednesday!


Monday, April 11, 2011

So When Does It Become Our Fight?

Over the past couple of weeks I have heard many of my colleagues say “This is not our fight.” This has become an all too common lament concerning the most recent events at the City Colleges of Chicago. I have had students ask me “So where do you stand?” While I am not comfortable having those conversations with our students, after hearing them on the radio Friday night it became evident to me that not only are our students fighting for themselves, they are also fighting for us. During the radio interview the host asked the students “So what are your concerns?” The student leader quickly responded, “For each six figure salary paid to a person at the district office two new faculty could be hired.” The student leader was absolutely right. My question is why are we not saying that? When does it become our fight? Does it become our fight only when it’s time to negotiate our contract?
Does it become our fight when the Chancellor and the Board finally come to the realization that the new Presidents they plan to hire will never be able to fulfill the “performance measures” approved by the Board because their non academic background does not prepare them to even know how to address those measures?
Does it become our fight when those same Presidents point the finger at faculty and say that as faculty we failed to retain, graduate or facilitate transfer for our students?
Does it become our fight when the decision is made to outsource remediation, thereby reducing our college enrollment, thereby reducing the need for a large number of our adult educators?
Does it become our fight when the Reinvention consultants decide to eliminate more programs on the campuses thereby reducing the number of faculty needed to teach courses that serve as prerequisites for those same programs?
Does it become our fight with the announcement of the next reduction in force and the loss of more clerical staff and laboratory assistants?
Does it become our fight when this zero based budget (which is code for your department is getting ZERO) determined by people at the district office who don’t have a clue about what we do or what it takes to run our classrooms on a daily basis; is mandated by the Chancellor-an individual who has demonstrated in her own affairs that in addition to the English language, budgeting is not within her skill set.
At what point do we stand up and acknowledge that Yes, this is our fight? At what point do we support the students who are attempting to support us? At what point do we support our brothers and sisters in 1708 whom have suffered the greatest loss and have yet to receive a fair contract and a decent wage? 1708 who continue to be strung along, with no contract while millions of dollars are spent at the district office on consultants? We have all seen the news, read the Board reports and know about the hiring of ill-prepared people at ridiculously high salaries at the District office. We all know that the Chancellor and her Vice Chancellor minions are trying to run seven independently accredited institutions of higher education from the District office.
With all due respect to the history and struggles of my African-American colleagues I make mention of this not to minimize that struggle but rather to highlight a comparison that is undeniable. What is currently happening at the City Colleges of Chicago is akin to the indoctrination of slavery. Once the slave was purchased the first thing to happen was that his or her name was changed. The slave was renamed by the Master, new school logos, and new school colors. The slave had no individual identity other than being known as a house slave, at district or a field slave, on the campus. House slaves always lived at bit better than the field slaves because house slaves were in closer proximity to the Master.
Slaves were taught that they were dumb and they needed the Master to survive, as in the CCC “case for change”. The slave was constantly reminded that he or she had no power, no right to self-authorship, no rights period. No autonomy for any campus, everything must be approved by District Office. Everything must be approved by a Vice Chancellor. Everything must be approved by Cheryl Hyman.
Finally the slave was indoctrinated to love their Master; so much so that many slaves turned on each other, or extolled the virtues of the Master, notice your campus Administrators as they try to sell you on the reinvention at meetings and in conversation.
Like you, I am concerned about possible retaliation. In these economic times, who does not need their job? But let’s face it, we can be promised shared governance. We can be promised academic freedom. We can be promised a lot of things. The reality is that the promises are empty. The decisions are being made by the Chancellor, the Board Chairman and the half million dollar consulting firms that are deciding on ourschool logos, our school colors, our school programs and our student’s graduation.
When does it become our fight?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Students on the Kendall Moore Show at 7:00 PM (WVON - AM 1690)

At the April Board Meeting, the students spoke in opposition of the Reinvention plan.  They had over 1,000 student signatures - needing answers on how the Reinvention Plan is related to student success.  

They want answers and tonight their voices will be heard again.

City College of Chicago Students will be featured on Kendall Moore Show (WVON - AM 1690) tonight, April 8th, 2011 at 7:00 PM.

Please show your support by calling in at 773-591-1690.  This is your time to show our students support - let's save our Students, Presidents, Community, and Institution!

Just a few points that will be discussed on his show -
·         Outrageous spending by Cheryl Hyman (over 5 million in new hires, logo & web-site changes, district upgrades and new office furniture for Vice Chancellors, etc.)
·         How is the Reinvention Plan tied to student success?
·         Who is Civic Consultant Alliance?
·         If the Board, Community, Faculty, and Students selected the Presidents – why are they being forced out of their jobs?
·         How did Cheryl get appointed as Chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago?
·         What is the mission of City Colleges of Chicago and how the new direction of CCC will hurt the African American Community?
·         Why are the students being forced to participate in a mass graduation?
·         What is the working environment like at CCC since Cheryl Hyman became Chancellor.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


The spring semester at the City Colleges of Chicago has historically been a time of student excitement and anticipation. In the past students had something of great importance to look forward to, the culmination of years of struggle, study and effort; The Spring Commencement Ceremony!
Today students have to be incentivized, almost bribed to participate in what should be a momentous occasion, celebrating the STUDENT, not the egomaniacal dictates of an individual who has no clue about higher education. The high price consulting firm that came up with the “It’s all about U” tagline, the Commonwealth Edison knock off Reinvention logo, and the “new” City Colleges of Chicago logo needs to go back to the drawing board.
FYI- our students are not buying it.

So why is it so difficult to get our students to participate in graduation 2011?

Could it be that the decision to have a District wide ceremony was a unilateral one made by the Chancellor at the total exclusion of the student’s opinion?

Could it be that the consulting firm that is earning over $500,000 to plan this “District Graduation” failed to consult with the students about moving their graduation from their campus?

Could it be that moving the graduation from the campuses has put an undue burden on those families who will now have to travel from the far north and far south sides to participate in the celebration? (Families, who unlike the Chancellor, do not have the benefit of an eight passenger SUV paid for by taxpayer’s money)

Could it be that when given the opportunity to meet with our students and engage them in a thoughtful dialogue the students reported that the Chancellor was “rude”, “obnoxious”, “eye rolling” “nasty”, and yelled at them?

Could it be that the students are disgruntled about the Chancellor’s mass firing of their college Presidents, many who have fostered unique relationships and offered great support in ensuring that our students are successful?

Could it be that our students are more informed and more savvy then our Chancellor and District Office administrators give them credit for being?

Could it be that our students watch the news and read the newspapers and know that the “Reinvention” has not yielded any improvements impacting their matriculation, but rather five million dollars in jobs for the Chancellor’s friends and those who are politically connected?

Could it be that this perceived student apathy surrounding graduation participation is not apathy at all; but instead a silent protest on the part of our students?

Could it be that the Chancellor’s commitment to telling anyone who will listen that CCC has a low graduation rate, and that students often don’t complete the program that brought them to CCC has had the unintended effect of making students feel that a degree from CCC is not worthy of celebrating?

It could be many things. It is certainly regrettable, ridiculous, rotten, and ruinous.