CPS Positions – Out with the old, in with the new — maybe you?
If you’re not familiar with how CPS hierarchy is set up, the school system is divided into “areas.” I actually have no idea how many areas there are, I just know that I live in Area 2.
Each school principal reports into an AIO officer (an Area Information Officer.) This is sort of the middle management between the Principals and downtown CPS. Anyone familiar with the business world is well aware of the middle-management concept. And in theory, it’s a great concept. Someone with experience and knowledge in education and who knows about best practice ideas helps the principals improve, grow as leaders, and strive to be their best. I’d think that a good AIO person would share ideas that are successful between the schools in their area and would encourage collaboration and communication. I’m sure there are some AIO’s who excel at this and some who don’t.
What I’ve seen as the key benefit to this system is that most principals could use some guidance. Not because they’re bad, but because they work in a vacuum of sorts. When I used to work in an office I had other people at my level to talk to, share ideas with, collaborate with, etc. A principal is like a free-floating entity who unfortunately doesn’t have another, more experienced principal in the next office to bounce ideas off of. It makes great sense to have someone help them along. The LSC’s (Local School Councils) are charged with selecting principals, renewing their contracts, and giving input in their principal’s evaluation but often don’t know much about education. I found myself in a position this past year of wanting to give my opinion about how a school should be run, but wishing someone who really knew what they were doing could advise us.
I’ve gotten the impression that the AIO staff focused a LOT on test scores. Obviously we do as parents as well, but man, it is disheartening to realize how much emphasis this gets in CPS. Yes, it’s the only objective way to measure “success,” but when I see a really good principal comment that they were thinking strategically about how to administer the test this year (what days, what times, etc) it makes me cringe. I heard another principal say that the AIO office questions why the schools can’t score as well as Decatur. Uh duh… that question doesn’t even make sense since Decatur only takes kids who test in.
So to cut to the chase, CPS has cut all the AIO positions this week. Over 1000 ( new info says 550 non-teaching positions in all) positions eliminated just like that. I believe there will be new positions created with new names and the axed staff may interview for those (gee, they must be so psyched about that!) Frankly I’m up for any major change in CPS but here is the thing that worries me: A posting on the CPS web site for a new (high-paying) Area position that emphasizes management experience more than education experience.
Position: Chief Area Officer
Salary: $119K – $170K
The CAO is responsible for increasing student outcomes and performance for an Area.
I like parts of the job description:
-Guide schools to commit to higher expectations
-The ability to inspire and motivate others
The part that’s surprising is:
Experience managing a complex organization essential
Education experience preferred
PREFERRED?! So like I could apply for this job if I’d managed a mass of people in the world of marketing research?! Weird. Scary. Exciting! Damn, I wish I had more (any) management experience I’d totally apply for that job. Is there anyone out there who could apply? Try it… I’d love to know what happens. In fact maybe I’ll send in a fake resume – all my real work experience but I’ll make up a bunch of management stuff to see if they’d call me.
So Ron Huberman isn’t an education guy. I don’t know… maybe it’s just me but I’d think he’d want people under him who are. Or maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit. Time will tell.
To see the full position description, click here: