Hube sticking it out *for now*

October 6, 2010 at 10:07 am 41 comments

I guess I’m still naive about politics to have realized the possibility that Huberman (CPS CEO) might bail with Mayor Daley leaving.  And it sounds like he is certainly considering a move down the road (or maybe a new mayor would replace him?)  But it’s nice to hear that Hubey is at least committed to the short term to see out some of the changes he’s made in CPS. 

I learned recently on NPN that he and his partner have a young child, which certainly warmed me to him a bit.   There was also an interesting discussion on NPN as to whether public officials should send their kids to public school as a symbolic gesture.  Arne Duncan was one of the few Chicago politicians who sent his kids to public school (his neighborhood school was Ray, which I think is well-regarded.  I also know that in K, the parents raised money for an aide for the class .)

Many politicians use religion as their rationale for sending their kids to private, but lets face it – most are acting in their own self-interests in doing so.  The debate on NPN was whether it makes sense to go for the best education you can for your kids (I mean most wealthy people in the city still choose private school, no?) or whether to “make a statement.”  Which comes first – parent or politician role?

Obama even admitted he wasn’t quite ready for public ed for his girls:

During a recent “Today” show interview about education, President Obama was asked if his daughters — who currently attend the elite, $31,000-per-year Washington private school Sidwell Friends — could get a comparably “high quality, rigorous education in a D.C. public school.” The president was direct: “I’ll be blunt with you,” he said. “The answer’s no right now. The D.C. public school systems are struggling.” Does Obama’s answer undermine his commitment to public-school reform?

I’d like to see a record of how politicians vote for education funding and whether their kids go to public/private school.  Would be interesting…

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41 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cps mom 5  |  October 6, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Huberman’s hands are tied because of the teacher’s union. How will we ever get rid of the bad teachers that don’t give a hoot? The union seems to only care about teachers at the expense of the students.

  • 2. cpsobsessed  |  October 6, 2010 at 10:39 am

    From what I understand, this has been/will be a problem for any CEO of CPS. I guess Arne was more “moderate” than previous CEOs. He worked to appease the system and the union. But in the end, does that get us where we need to be?
    It sounds like Huberman has pushed back on the union a bit more. Not sure it’s gotten him anywhere though!
    The position pays $230K a year and frankly it’s probably not quite enough given the difficulty of it.

  • 3. goodriddance  |  October 6, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Ron will leave as soon as Ron finds a job. Ron is all about Ron.

  • 4. cps mom  |  October 6, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Commenting on your speculation that the wealthy chose private schooling. The trend now has been that kids attending high profile/high tuition schools like Latin and Parker do apply to the selective enrollment CPS schools. In general, if they get into NSP or WP they will leave, otherwise stay put. I guess that this is a big compliment to the system but it brings about another interesting debate. Since catholic schools and private schools with high schools give their existing students preference in admission, why shouldn’t CPS?

    I agree that CPS needs a strong leader that will stand up to the union in order to maintain quality and get away from the machine politics (ironic that Daley would be for eliminating non-performance). At the budget conference, it was easy for the union leader to hide behind a “for the sake of the children” stance but Huberman’s pointing the finger at teachers for not forgoing a 4% raise resulted in what he got – a bad reaction. He could have easily put that onus on the teachers/union if he would have supplied a list of specific teachers jobs that would have been saved with that 4% and better yet how that list could change at 3, 2 1%. No one trusts where the money is going and how it is spent. The budget meetings were a lot of “theatre” on both sides with CPS families in the middle.

  • 5. RL Julia  |  October 6, 2010 at 11:55 am

    CPS cannot given student preference in admission to CPS students because it violates the very tenets that public education is based upon – that it is a service available to all eligible residents (in this case age is the primary criteria for eligibility) of a given area – whether or not they use the service. Everyone in Chicago pays taxes for public education, therefore everyone is entitled to use it whenever they so choose – even if they choose to only use it selectively.

    Certainly, there are enough posters on this blog alone who have stated time and time again how unless they could get their child into a given set of public schools they were going private or parochial (or moving) – do you really want to deny or discourage those once denied families another opportunity to engage in what CPS has to offer them? Plus – and this is a total assumption but I’d bet that those kids are probably good testers who will go to college and ultimately be assets to the CPS system.

    That being said, while I am worried about the timing of his leaving, we all knew that Ron wouldn’t be staying around CPS too long – and quite frankly, this hasn’t been a good job for him. He was much, much better and more effective at the CTA and as cheif of staff.

  • 6. Mom  |  October 6, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    @4, I agree with RL Julia. You cannot permit CPS high schools to give preference to existing students over kids who attended private schools until the parents who send their kids to private schools can stop paying taxes to fund the public high schools. Since they can’t stop funding the public schools, they are perfectly within their rights to send their kids there at any point in the process. In addition, if what you propose were policy, no one would bother moving to Chicago with high-school-aged kids if their kids would be at a disadvantage when applying to good public high schools merely because they had never attended before. Great way to discourage a group of parents who would probably otherwise benefit our city’s social fabric from coming to Chicago.

  • 7. cps mom  |  October 6, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    I’m not saying that anyone should be denied entrance into the public system – and they aren’t. Isn’t this part of the cast system that someone was talking about. The wealthy can afford to educate and tutor their child into the top schools now with the free public education considered in the mix. A topic for healthy debate – wouldn’t you agree? I’m just pointing out that preference works one way – if you pay for it

  • 8. cpsobsessed  |  October 6, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I’m sure you’re right – he’s waiting for a lucrative offer from a private company no doubt. Although I’m sure it would look better if he could make it sound like he’d *done* something here. I suppose his tough stance with the unions (meaning public showing of toughness) should be enough to impress many corporations.

    I conceptually get the annoyance with private school parents who’s kids have had every advantage to prepare for admission to High School, swooping in and taking those spots that we’re fighting for. In a way, one could argue that since they have been paying into the schools (taxes) but not using them, perhaps they are actually OWED spots at this point. lol.

    It’s frustrating, without a doubt. But as pointed out, nothing that can be done about it. Oh, except having more options in CPS.

    The thing that peeves me is people who don’t support the local schools in their neighborhood that are growing/flourishing but they fully benefit from the increase in property value. When the group of parent in my area were busting our butts to get things going at the local school, I often wanted to go door to door, saying “You’re Welcome!” to all the neighbors. Truthfully, the Friends Of groups probably need to be better at getting the neighbors who aren’t in CPS involved financially, for auction donations, etc. But there’s rarely enough people to get the minimal work done. Back to the point, I’m sure many of those private school families tune out CPS until high school time comes along. Frustrating.

  • 9. Mayfair Dad  |  October 6, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    With the recent court ruling in favor of CTU/tenure, Huberman became a liability and therefore expendable. Chicago needs a nationally respected educator at the helm of our school system. I’d love to hear the mayoral candidates’ take on this – who would they like to see run CPS? Paul Vallas former boss Geri Chico wants to be mayor. Does this chaos raise his stock a bit?

    More importantly, with Huberman out of the equation for the next CTU contract negotiations, can a teachers strike be averted?

  • 10. cps mom  |  October 6, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Thank you CPS Obsessed – well put. #6 – I’m not proposing anything other than what’s been said over and over. We need more SE schools – for smart kids that aren’t so wealthy and anyone else that qualifies. The need goes without saying. Consider too that there are families that want to do exactly what you’re saying – send their kids to private school – and can even afford it but can’t get in because they don’t have an “in”. There’s that one way street again.

  • 11. anon  |  October 6, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Ironically, Hubie is going to cost CPS a lot more money because those teachers are going to get back pay–not to mention all the chaos it created! the only good thing he did was to get rid of some of the gamesmanship in the ranking of SE schools on the application. All the data crunching was done in a way to make him look good. Since the initial data was suspect, there could never be any credible later analysis.

    I don’t see why parents of children in special CPS programs are complaining about private school parents!!! Many of those parents went through the lottery process and did not get into one of those schools.

    We went private for grade school and are now happy that for the first time we are not paying tuition for SE high school. We did pay taxes that whole time and that paid for your children’s programs.

  • 12. RL Julia  |  October 6, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    It would be lovely if everyone was more involved in make local schools better but we all have limited time and school reform just isn’t everyone’s cup of tea – and it is only one factor that makes a neighborhood desirable. While I love being thanked for my work for my neighborhood school, I also love thanking my many neighbors who are involved in keeping up the local park and taking care of the many seniors on my block or for picking up trash on everyone’s lawn or organizing the annual block party – even the neighbors who stop me to tell me exactly how many people walked past my house one given 2:00 a.m. (those seniors never sleep, I tell you!). Those things also make my block a desirable place to be – not just the school.

  • 13. cpsobsessed  |  October 6, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Mm, good point RL Julia. And that is how I justify *my* lack of involvement in all the other causes that other people are pushing… I figure if we divide and conquer it’ll all work out.

  • 14. CPSmama  |  October 6, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    How would you feel about Michelle Rhee as CEO of CPS? As a parent, that’s what I’m looking for. Someone who would stand up to the unions and look out for students first– for a change. Of course, teachers wouldn’t like that very much, but good teachers would have nothing to fear.

  • 15. cps mom 5  |  October 6, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I thought Michelle’s recommendation to the unions to pay great dedicated teacher’s as much as $130K a year was an excellent compromise to have the ability to fire bad teacher’s but the union was so threatened by it they didn’t bring it up to a vote. No matter who is going to be the superintendant (even superman himself) will be unable to get very far with the unions.

  • 16. ChicagoGawker  |  October 7, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Let’s get the focus and energy on more quality HS choices in CPS and stop the counterproductive finger pointing at private school parents who use SE HSs. Private school parents are a diverse group, so stop sterotyping us, and refering to “cast” systems. You wouldn’t tolerate stereotyping of CPS parents. Some of us receive FA to be there, did not get in through connections, and were driven there bcs we were not winners in the Option and Magnet race. Also consider that some of our dcs are at private at major financial sacrifice, and we are OUT OF MONEY by HS.

  • 17. cps Mom  |  October 7, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Chicago Gawker, I think you have it wrong. The comment was brought up about the rich being inclined toward private school and I said that they are in public school as well, in particular WP and NSP. That initiated a discussion only – no proposals, recommendations or inclinations toward keeping private school children out of public school. Everyone has agreed that there is an obvious need for more great free schools with the demand outweighing the supply. And yes – everyone is entitled (as I mentioned above). This was never said but I will say that I know that all private school families are not rich – if this is the stereotype you refer to. Just like you have no idea how much I pay in property taxes or what my financial situation would be. My only point was that with financial resources, a child would be better prepared and theoretically better able to get into the top schools. Also, other than scholarships offered by various schools, there is a definite prejudice toward accepting cps students trying to enter some private schools. Not a big issue since most kids want to stay with CPS but they do want to get into a good school and thus the battle.

  • 18. ChicagoGawker  |  October 7, 2010 at 10:15 am

    I think you might be surprised at how many private HSs would be delighted to get a minority, high nationally normed scoring, CPS graduate.

  • 19. cps Mom  |  October 7, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Oh yes – with minority being the key requirement.

  • 20. Observer  |  October 7, 2010 at 10:57 am

    #18 – who is doing the stereotyping now?

  • 21. ChicagoGawker  |  October 7, 2010 at 11:16 am

    I am baffled regarding how what I said is indicative of a stereotype. I did not mean that in a snide complaining way.
    I did not state or mean they got in because they are minorities. However, most private schools explicitly state that they want to increase their minority enrollment. If you have a stellar academic record and are a minority, you have an edge over nonminority students with stellar academic records. IMO, this is the way it should be. I agree with it.

  • 22. ChicagoGawker  |  October 7, 2010 at 11:22 am

    p.s. Who is doing the stereotyping now? Private school parent must be a racist based on a comment that indicates nothing of the kind. It’s hilarious because I’m as lefty as they come.

  • 23. cps Mom  |  October 7, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I commented on how CPS as a group has been known to have difficulties getting into private school because they don’t have preference and your reply to me was that minorities can get in – I guess I’m missing something, but I do believe you when you say your comment was not intended in a snide way. I get it, you’re fine we’ve already agreed that the answer is more schools, lets leave it at that.

  • 24. interesting  |  October 7, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    I would think the pushy obsessed parents at some of these public schools would be more effective at getting their kids what they want than private school parents. The real answer is to abolish SE schools and devote resources to the neighborhood schools.

  • 25. ChicagoGawker  |  October 7, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    What you’re missing is that I said ACADEMICALLY STELLAR minorities have an edge. And that’s a fact. You don’t get in simply because you’re a minority.

  • 26. anonymous  |  October 7, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Like the court ruling said – CPS can fire teachers, they just have to follow the process in place. The recent attempt by CPS to bypass due process is very dishonorable. Most administors are too lazy to follow the procedure, which only takes 45 days to dismiss a teacher, once the proper notices have been given. Based on my experience with CPS (my child is in a neighborhood school), the teachers are fantastic. I am so sick of parents bashing teachers and the teachers’ union. Overall, CPS has the best teachers in my opinion. I am proud to say I send my child to CPS because I think my child is getting great education.

  • 27. J  |  October 8, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    WSJ says Huberman to step down at end of year. YEAH!

  • 29. Mayfair Dad  |  October 11, 2010 at 9:58 am

    At # 26 Anonymous:

    From a recent CPS report on Performance Management:

    Consider that among a group of 100 first-time CPS freshmen, approximately:

    58 enter 9th grade with an at-risk status;
    45 will not graduate from high school;
    13 will graduate without finding continuous employment or enrolling in college;
    12 will be continuously employed after graduation, and their median salary will be only $11,500 per year; and
    30 will enroll in college, but only 6 will attend a selective or highly selective institution, such as the University of Illinois, and only 14 will go on to graduate from college.

    Question: if overall CPS has the best teachers, and your child is receiving a great education, how do you explain these statistics? The parents are to blame? The principals? Ron Huberman? I’m not teacher bashing – just curious.

    It is next to impossible to remove a tenured teacher and anyone who tells you otherwise is full of it. It would be nice if the adults responsible for educatiing our children (CPS and CTU) started telling the truth instead of negotiating a contract in the press.

    You might consider running for the Local School Council at your child’s school so you could gain a deeper understanding of how a CPS school really operates.

  • 30. cps Mom  |  October 11, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I have been very fortunate to have had an excellent experience with CPS with many great teachers that truly have an interest in the success of the child (and my child in particular). I have to say that the idea of being stuck with an under performing teacher due to tenure and union protection is frustrating and counter productive. Many of us have experienced a “down year” because of a particular teacher that doesn’t perform for various reasons To experience this in multiple grades would truly take a toll on the education of that child. It does make a difference in the success of a child in the 100 freshman going into high school – which if you can take anything from “waiting for Superman” that would be it.

    I don’t know of any other profession that allows a 45 day notification of release. Unfortunately, as many of us know, when there is no money to pay people – they get laid off. As sad as this is and hurtful to people, it is a reality of this economy. I would rather retain the new guy with the fresh ideas, enthusiastic energy willing to stay after to help students or the veteran who has the system down, knows how to get kids to respond and interact and has enjoyed seeing her students flourish. NOT the tenured cynic critical of the school, the students and the parents that enjoys the comfort of security via the Union and years served.

  • 31. Hawthorne mom  |  October 11, 2010 at 11:40 am

    This really doesn’t have to become a case of pitting the “cynical complacent veteran” against the “fresh, energetic newbie” teacher. Reality in CPS, like ANY other system is that there are complacent veterans and there are passionately committed veterans. There are energetic and caring newbies, and there are inefficient and unable to control a classroom, much less teach anything newbies.

    Fwiw, I am completely against tenure THE WAY IT CURRENTLY OPERATES. I am a teacher, I love my students, I love my fellow teachers and I hate it when I see teachers who don’t do their job. That said, there are many good teachers and some really great teachers out there. CPS does a terrible job of keeping its best teachers. 50% of all teachers leave the profession within 5 years. That is an awful lot of inexperienced teachers out there, only to leave once they are even just starting to have some idea of what they are doing.

    CPS students, in general, perform horribly. It is a group responsibility to correct that. Teachers have to step up. And so do parents, community leaders, government leaders who determine funding, administrators and everyone else. If you look at any other urban system with comparable poverty and ESL rates, you will find the same results. It is my opinion that everyone loves to bash schools, but very few people want to do anything to change what happens to mostly poor, mostly minority, mostly disadvantaged kids. If we all really cared, we’d be voting for a tax increase so that every single low performing school in the nation would have 1 reading specialist per every 50 kids in the school, and 1 ESL teacher per every 50 ESL speakers in schools.

    What works in schools in NO MYSTERY. We need smaller class sizes in the primary grades, we need early intervention programs for low income kids at birth, we need more reading specialists and ESL teachers to do one-on-one intensive, year long work with at risk kids, we need great school libraries in every school, and we need the very best teachers….not only in schools like my children’s school, but in the schools noone really wants to go to. Without doing all of the above, change will not happen. The small percentage of truly bad teachers out there really do need to go and NOW, but that is only one small piece of a larger problem.

  • 32. cps Mom  |  October 11, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    I completely agree with you and those are all great points and solutions. Why isn’t the teachers union fighting for these efforts instead of going after the city for illegally firing teachers?

    Also want it noted that you misquoted me – not “cynical complacent veteran” but yes to “veteran that has the system down knows how to get kids to respond…” no to “tenured cynic ….enjoys comfort of security via the Union…”. It’s an important difference because I agree with what you say. I also think that this is a reason that many CPS teachers, as well as other concerned parents, chose to send their child to magnet and special programs within CPS.

  • 33. Mayfair Dad  |  October 11, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Hawthorne Mom hits the nail on the head. CTU needs to change the definition of tenure to include experience and not just longevity.

    Included in this new definition: years of service PLUS continuing education units, Masters Degree, National Board certification, serving as faculty advisor for student newspaper, etc., after-school mentoring, coaching a team sport, LSC participation.

    This new definition provides a more complete picture of everything you’ve done as a teacher to enhance your skills and add value to your school, and not how long you’ve managed to coast in the system.

  • 34. Hawthorne mom  |  October 11, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    #32, Sometimes I use quotation marks to indicate emphasis. I did not mean to misquote you, but appreciate you bringing that to my attention.
    Here is one issue. The entire purpose of the teacher’s union, like any union, is to protect the rights of its workers. So, the CTU’s job isn’t really to protect the rights of kids. But that certainly brings about a lot of conflict, because we all agree the needs of kids are not being met. I also think part of what makes it so much of a conflict is because the teacher’s union wields so much power, that often, it stands in the way of other governing bodies whose primary purpose IS to protect and seek the best for kids. The CTU is often hated by many of us teachers because of that very reason.
    I like Mayfair Dad’s assessment of additional things to look for in terms of identifying quality teachers. What I would like to see added is actual measurable results. There are an awful lot of us already doing the things he mentioned. But really, results in the classroom is the most important thing.
    And I think that even with all those things, unless some significant support is given to schools that are not up to par, we are still cheating our most needy kids. Even the greatest teachers will struggle to make up for what is not happening and what will never happen at home. I’d support lengthening the school day and year, putting in AC to help deal with instruction during the hot weather, doubling the staff in those difficult schools and upping teacher salaries significantly (I mean at least doubling) the pay for teachers who can consistently show at least a year’s worth of growth.
    CPS keeps putting in stupid programs, like all those after school tutoring programs that offer blatant test prep, instead of academic intervention. Why have computers in classrooms if CPS won’t supply ANY ink for the printers? In fact, why have computers at all if the kids can’t read? We need more high quality staff, not more programs.

  • 35. Hawthorne mom  |  October 11, 2010 at 5:29 pm


  • 36. cps Mom  |  October 11, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    The union does claim to be protecting “teachers, students and academic freedom”. As #11 points out, it seems that CPS (who has no $) is going to pay for what it did which translates into the taxpayers are going to pay (who have no $). I would much rather pay additional taxes for the very things that you discuss instead of paying legal fees and back-pay over disputed layoffs. Looking at it from the outside, it would seem to me that the Union should be more concerned with the existing working conditions of its teachers, learning conditions for its students and compensating those that really deserve it.

    Thank you for your very thought provoking insight.

  • 37. anonymous  |  October 11, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Isn’t experience is one of the most important qualities to look for in any professional? Next time I need to see a doctor I think I look for someone young, enthusiastic, and willing to chit chat with me???? I’ll look for someone who knows what they are doing because they have done it well for many years. Please don’t underestimate the value of experience in education. Based on my child’s experience, the most veteran teachers seem to hold the highest expectations for children and set the most clear boundaries for teacher/parent interactions. They seem to be less concerned with being liked and more concerned with getting results. I would take a veteran for my child ANY day.
    Also, the teacher’s union didn’t tell Huberman to fire tenured teachers so why should they have to clean up the mess??? Taxpayers should be outraged at Huberman, not the CTU.

  • 38. cps Mom  |  October 12, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Experience is important but not the ONLY quality of a good teacher. Excellent teachers at all experience levels will never get the salary they truly deserve as long as the reward is based upon tenure alone.

  • 39. Mayfair Dad  |  October 12, 2010 at 9:23 am

    @ 37 Anonymous – I completely agree, experience is important. But “experience” isn’t the same thing as longevity, and the current use of tenure measures longevity, not experience. Big difference.

  • 40. cpsobsessed  |  October 12, 2010 at 10:30 am

    @29 Mayfair Dad:
    To me, the key number in those depressing stats is the 58 kids who enter high school at-risk (I assume that means academic risk?) At 9th grade, it’s almost insurmountable to catch these kids up. If you don’t know basic math, you’ll never make it past high school math! If your reading skills lag, no way you can do the assignments that high school *should* require.
    My mom has substituted in some of the worst CPS high schools and come home saying “I can’t teach these kids anything. It’s too late.” Well, sure, not in one day but the semtiment is that they’re too far behind. I doubt the teachers at Petyton or Whitney Young could make a huge difference unless there was a 5:1 ratio or something.
    (Occasionally she comes across a kid who seems out of place – should have gotten out into a better school but somehow fell through the cracks.)

    I think we all agree that it makes sense to get things shaped up sooner in a kids’ life than later. It just continues to get worse with each passing year. There comes a point when amazing teacher ca *probably* help a few kids a year who really want the attention and will make the effort, but in the CPS high schools I don’t even see how really really good teachers can turn all the kids around.

  • 41. Gayfair Dad  |  October 14, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Mayfair Dad for Alderman.

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