For the Record: Turnarounds and no-bid contracts

Concerns about conflicts of interest with the Academy for Urban School Leadership and CPS were raised once again in recent letters to the inspectors general of CPS and the U.S. Department of Education. But one point raised by critics has not been explored much, even though it is central to the question of potential conflicts.

“Why are these [contracts] put out on a no-bid basis?” asked Austin community activist Dwayne Truss at a Monday press conference held in front of the building that houses the regional offices of the U.S. Department of Education.

A proposal to give school principals a voice

Having less than three full years under my belt as a principal, and at a neighborhood public school that has been on “probation” since the inception of No Child Left Behind, I’m probably not one who should speak out on the issues raised this week by my colleagues at Blaine and Peterson schools.  Without getting into the politics of these issues, I do see a potential solution that could help improve the Chicago Public Schools. Principals are the primary lever tasked to implement every policy CPS devises.  We are the critical link between Central Office and the classrooms.  What we want is a voice and a seat at the table when policies are designed and implementations are planned.  

Three school turnarounds get final OK

Two CPS board members had serious questions—some of which went unanswered–about handing over three elementary schools to the Academy for Urban School Leadership. But in the end, the turnarounds were approved at a meeting where opponents as well as supporters of the turnaround model dominated the public participation..