Emanuel names education transition committee

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As interim CEO Terry Mazany starts outlining the details of his education plan, Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel announced today a committee to make recommendations on what should be CPS’ long-term and short-term goals. It is unclear whether this committee’s work will run parallel or conflict with Mazany’s plan.

As interim CEO Terry Mazany starts outlining the details of his education plan, Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel announced today a committee to make recommendations on what should be CPS’ long-term and short-term goals. It is unclear whether this committee’s work will run parallel or conflict with Mazany’s plan.
Neither Mazany, nor his chief education officer, Charles Payne, are serving on this committee. 
Also, omitted is Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union. Lewis spent Monday at a Chicago Federation of Labor meeting where Emanuel said he wants to work with labor. But that message does not jibe with the exclusion of union leaders from the education committee, Lewis says. 
“It seems to go out of its way to exclude the very students, parents, teachers, and community groups from neighborhoods who have been devastated by CPS policy and silenced by Chicago’s elected and unelected officials,” Lewis said in a written statement.  “I hope in this case words speak louder than actions.”   
A transition spokeswoman said two teachers on the committee, one from Pershing West and one from Prieto Elementary School, are members of the union. She also said the committee will “consult with all stakeholders.”
Nora Moreno-Cargie, interim CPS chief of staff, says that Mazany’s education plan is still in process, with work groups meeting and preparing to make recommendations to an external advisory committee in the coming week.  The plan is being prepared for the next administration and also to guide next year’s budget, which Mazany’s team is working on. 
Two months after Emanuel steps into City Hall, his CEO will have to present a budget to be approved no later than August. 
Some measures, such as not opening new charter schools in the coming year and closing under-enrolled schools, have been discussed and might be part of Mazany’s education plan and part of the budget he is preparing. Moreno-Cargie says that Mazany wants decisions about facilities and the closing and opening of schools to be made as part of a systematic approach that takes into account many different perspectives.
“This has to be a grassroots effort and not top down,” Moreno-Cargie says.
Two of the members of Emanuel’s new transition education committee–Mike Milkie from Noble Street and Tim Knowles from the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute–also participated in one of the work groups coming up with Mazany’s education plan. 
Moreno-Cargie says that shows Mazany’s leadership and ensures that there will be some consistency between the work.    
The people chosen for Emanuel’s education committee signal some of its direction. Milkie runs one of the largest and most lauded charter school networks in the city. Knowles is an education expert, but also involved in the University of Chicago charter schools. They will be joined by Donald Feinstein, president of the Academy for Urban School Leadership, a not-for-profit organization that runs 19 schools in the city, most of them turnaround schools where the old staff is fired and replaced with new administrators and teachers.   
Emanuel also will be following the lead of the philanthropic community. The head of The Joyce Foundation and the education officer at the Pritzker Traubert Foundation are both on the committee. The two foundations provide money for various CPS programs and initiatives and have been involved in teacher quality and principal preparation issues.
But Emanuel won’t just be looking to heavy hitters in the education arena for advice. Two community organizations and the pastor of a large South Side church will have members on the committee. One of the community organizations, Target Area Development Corporation, was once run by Patricia Watkins, an unsuccessful mayoral candidate. 
Milkie, Knowles and Mazany all could be considered candidates to be CPS’ next chief executive officer. The transition spokeswoman says that the committee will not be involved in selecting the next CEO.
Below are members of Emanuel’s education committee
Ellen Alberding, The Joyce Foundation
Rev. Dr. Byron Brazier, Apostolic Church of God
Donald Feinstein, Academy for Urban School Leadership
Sherrod Gordon, TARGET Area Development Corporation
Zipporah Hightower, Bethune School of Excellence
Liz Kirby, Kenwood Academy
Tim Knowles, University of Chicago Urban Education Institute
Mike Milkie, Noble Street Charter School
Natalie Neris-Guereca, Dr. Jorge Prieto Elementary School
John Price, John J. Audubon Elementary School
Diana Rauner, Ounce of Prevention Fund
Celena Roldan, Erie Neighborhood House
Monica Sims, John J. Pershing West Middle School
Elizabeth Swanson, Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation