Protests surround new CPS CEO pick

Chicago Teachers Union president discusses CPS changing of guard
January 28, 2009 5:09:13 PM PST
Ron Huberman attended his first school board meeting Wednesday.On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley appointed Huberman, a former police officer who most recently served as president of the CTA, as CEO of Chicago Public Schools.

There are some who are upset the Huberman is taking over the schools because he does not have a background in education.

He was at the school board to introduce himself to the people and be formally presented as the new CEO of the Chicago Public Schools.

His opponents say he does not have a background in education.

But that is just one of the challenges he will face in his new job.

People protested Chicago school closings on Wednesday afternoon in the Loop.

About 600 teachers, parents and activists were expected for a march that went from the administrative offices of Chicago Public Schools to City Hall three blocks away. They want to stop the board's plan to close, consolidate or turnaround problem schools -- a longstanding goal for them -- and now they want the mayor to know his pick for CPS CEO is just more misdirected educational policy.

The disapproval was sharp when the new CEO of Chicago Public Schools appeared before a packed public gallery -- and CPS president Rufus Williams laid down the law.

"Excuse me, we always conduct our meetings in board chambers with decorum and we will continue to do that," said Williams.

At a morning press conference activists laid out their views on school closings.

"This is not an education plan it is a business plan it is a real estate developer plan, this has nothing to do with education," said Karen Lewis, Grassroots Education Movement.

The same folks made their way to the CPS board meeting to denounce Renaissance 2010 -- and Ron Huberman's appointment.

"When you said you were coming here, you said you were hitting the ground running, you need to help with the call for a moratorium so you can know what is going on," said Marilyn Stewart, Chicago Teachers Union president.

Several impassioned speakers said a non-educator in the role of top CPS administrator means closing schools will become the norm. This woman has three children who are concerned Las Casas High School will be shuttered -- the only CPS school that she says deals effectively with the most challenged students -- and the former head of the CTA simply isn't capable of understanding the social considerations she as a mother faces.

"I don't truly believe that unless you have worked in the public school system or worked with children or staff, you can't understand that, or if you are not a parent who has been there all the time," said Demetria Browning, parent.


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