A job I wouldn’t want in a million years….

February 1, 2010 at 11:54 pm 13 comments


I mean seriously, is there any way to succeed?  It’s almost comical — cuts the budget and expect improvement.  Sure, why not?

Thanks to blog reader Hopeful for sending in the link to the Sun Times article today that sums up Huberman’s first year.

Some key points:

Talking concession with unions, including furlough days — at $10 million in savings per day — and trimming 4 percent teacher raises. A “last resort” would be boosting class sizes to 31– a move that would trigger 580 teacher layoffs and save $40.6 million, Huberman says.

There is speculation that teachers might strike if such a thing happens.  Not a pretty thought, but jeez, look at the numbers. I’m so curious to see if any of the above actually happens.

Data-junkie Huberman and his staff studied the hallmarks of 500 CPS students shot over five years to develop a “predictability model” that identified roughly 1,200 other students most likely to be shot.

The result was a two-year, $60 million proposal announced last September. It will bring advocates, mentors and jobs to the most at-risk kids, school-written “culture of calm” plans to 38 violence-prone high schools, and citizen safety patrols to dangerous streets.

I love that he’s a data junkie and it’s cool that he came up with this plan.  But it is just utterly depressing that our school system has to spend $60 million on an anti-violence initiative instead of education.   I can’t even comment.  Everything I want to write about that sounds politically incorrect and makes me sound like a cranky old person.

School area officers are now bringing performance management to principals. During monthly meetings, a half dozen principals share data on their schools. The goal is to break principal “isolation” and share what works, Huberman said.

“It’s meant so much to me to hear what’s happening at other schools,” said Julian Principal Careda Taylor. “I like that.”

But some principals find the sessions “abusive” and “embarrassing,” said Chicago Principals Association President Clarice Berry. “Principals are telling us it’s enormously time-consuming. They have to sit through a cohort of six schools.”

Uh, I’m hearing time-consuming.  Two principals have told me it is a royal pain in the butt.  I suspect that Ron’s ideas may be good in theory but may be getting distorted in the bureaucracy of CPS.  Just a hunch.

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100,000 views Radio show tonight… talk to Ron!

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. dave4118  |  February 2, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    We just went for our arranged walking tour with our neighborhood school’s principal; he was generous with his time, answered our questions to our most persistent satisfaction, and he showed true enthusiasm for the school’s trajectory…and attributed that arc to the staff and students. He had enough time to devote to us, even though he clearly had staff buzzing about periodically with the usual administrative duties. I suspect there is enogh time in the day, in the week, in the month, for a periodic sit-down with regional managers…there just isn’t a comfort level with the notion of ‘outside’ managers peering in.

  • 2. Christine  |  February 2, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    I work with a group of account managers which cover some extremely large accounts that we all know, love, and use their products regularly. One of my roles is to find and share best practices with them and they also share them with each other. It’s one of the reason’s they’re so successful at selling. Maybe if the principals were more transparent, listened and welcomed these sessions, they’d pick up something they too could utilize.

  • 3. the heckler  |  February 2, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    I’d take that job tomorrow and the 2 cars that come with it. I’ve worked as a volunteer with Duncan’s and now Huberman’s CPS to know that common sense there is all but lost. It wouldn’t take much to run this sinking ship afloat again. I’d staff up with a few parents like myself (and you) who have gained much for their children’s educations w/o the help of downtown or the state. I’d expect parents to take responsibility for their children’s actions and well being and that teachers and principals do their jobs….EDUCATION comes from the home and school.

    And this is my comment on that 60 million…

  • 4. Mike  |  February 2, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    Being held accountable is always a “royal pain in the butt”.

  • 5. hopeful  |  February 4, 2010 at 10:19 am

    I am not sure principals really have that much time in the day. Most principals I have known, and that includes a dozen or so, stay into the very late hours working (way past dinner time, often until 10 at night) and are usually working at the school on the weekend too. CPS is famous for having pointless meetings that last a long time–think of every single professional development day! Nothing helpful happens at those, I can’t imagine someone coming in to “develop” principals would be helpful either.
    Sharing what works and reducing isolation is great! If it really does that. But, my experience with ANYTHING that EVER comes from central office has been that it is NEVER helpful, and NEVER works. At least not in all the years I have been teaching. But who knows? Maybe in the last year something has changed?
    I do agree with the poster, the heckler, that parents must be as accountable as parents and kids. Personally, if a child does not behave and does not do their work and cooperate, I see nothing wrong with requiring parents to sit right next to their desk for as long as it takes to get the needed results. Parents might have to miss work, but hey, if that is what it takes, so be it. I just talked yesterday to a teacher friend in a bad school who is basically spends her whole day being a policeman rather than a teacher. And people wonder why scores aren’t going up and why half of all teachers leave the profession in 3 years or less!

  • 6. chicago parent  |  February 11, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I can’t think of a more thankless job than Huberman’s. Maybe I’m just crankier (actually there is little doubt that I am) than you, but spending $60 million on anti violence initiative seems like a tremendously large and wasteful distraction from the school system’s core mission of education. One good thing that Huberman did was take the student selection process out of principals’ hands (for the most part). This change, largely lost in the greater story of new socio-economic selection criteria and new rules for magnet schools removed a lot of under the table dealings and will make for a fairer system.

  • 7. cpsobsessed  |  February 12, 2010 at 2:28 am

    CP – good point about the selection process.. and I’m sure that point is lost on a lot of people who don’t obsess about the process.
    I’m sure the violence thing is the equivalent of Mayor Daily and the snow issue… that one element makes the city look bad and could get him booted from his job. Just such a waste of education money…. sigh.

  • 8. ChiGuy  |  February 12, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Obviously the biggest challenge that Huberman faces is the budget crisis at CPS. However, something that rarely gets discussed is that a large part of the budget crisis that CPS faces is due to the creation of TIF districts created by Mayor Daley and City Council that siphon off property taxes that would otherwise go to the schools (and other entities). Recent figures estimate that the various TIF districts siphon off over $500 million of our property taxes EACH YEAR. The monies go into a slush fund that the Mayor gets to control for whatever projects he deems fit – with virtually no transparency or oversight on how the money is spent. Given the current budget crisis, the failure to challenge Daley on this issue is irresponsible both on the part of Huberman and the Board of Education. But because they are appointed by the Mayor – and therefore owe their jobs to him – they will never raise this issue.

  • 9. hopeful  |  February 13, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    The state is cutting 10% of what it normally funds to education this year. This was written about in the Naperville Sun recently and a link to the article can be found at Catalyst Chicago. Someone compared the teacher lay offs in the Plainfield School district to CPS. Plainfield had to lay off 5% of its teaching staff. If Chicago laid off 5% of its staff, that would be 2000 teachers gone, just like that. Whatever happens this fall is not going to be good.

  • 10. hopeful  |  February 19, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Anyone know when Huberman is going to make his big announcement? He is supposed to soon. He will talk about what is getting cut and how it will affect teachers, kids, and families.

  • 11. hopeful  |  February 25, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    My father just emailed me with the news. Huberman did make his announcement and it isn’t good. Talking about a lot of stuff, including a line about saving nearly 50 million dollars if they got rid of magnets and gifted schools.

  • 12. cpsobsessed  |  February 26, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Ack! If anyone sees other news, please post.
    I’ve actually always said that if they made everyone attend their neighborhood school then parents might be more motivated to improve then since they have no chance to bail (except for private.)
    This should be interesting….
    The news is full of stories about school districts making drastic cuts.

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