Saturday, April 18, 2015

A DAY IN THE LIFE (of Chicago): To listen to the CTU, it’s Rahm’s fault!

Chicago Public Schools boss Barbara Byrd-Bennett is out of the job, at least for the time being.

It seems federal investigators are looking into a contract awarded by the Board of Education to the SUPES Academy, a no-bid deal to the leadership institute that Byrd-Bennett once worked for.

THERE ARE THOSE who would like to think this is an “a-ha!!!” type moment of catching the Chicago Public Schools in something illegal – as though it isn’t just aldermen who are inherently corrupt.

Which is why I found it intriguing to read the statement issued by the Chicago Teachers Union with regards to Byrd-Bennett deciding to step down indefinitely from the post to which she was picked by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. To listen to the teachers’ union, it’s Rahm’s fault.

He’s the one to blame for anything that was done wrong with the schools. They may not have been successful in stirring up a majority voter support in this month’s municipal election run-off to dump Rahm Emanuel from his mayoral post. But he’s still going to be the brunt of the union attacks.

“What Barbara is being singled out for is sadly just one incident among widespread practices by the mayor’s Board of Education  appointees, and the turmoil caused by yet another top-down leadership scandale is a grave concern for all of us as the district faces a crippling financial deficit,” union Vice President Jesse Sharkey said in a prepared statement.

IT SEEMS THAT if we don’t have elected school board members for the Chicago Public Schools, the union is going to go after the one person who does get elected – Hizzoner himself.

So much for the idea that the union and the mayor have reached some sort of peace, the way some would like to think after learning last week that Emanuel and union President Karen Lewis actually had a civil conversation following Election Day and Emanuel’s 56 percent vote support.

Then again, after outspending opponent Jesus Garcia by a 5-1 ratio during the election cycle, the real miracle is that Chuy came as close as he did. It’s going to be an ugly round of negotiations later this year when Emanuel and the teachers’ union have to try to hammer out a new labor agreement if this kind of bitterness remains.

What else is notable along the shores of Lake Michigan’s southwestern corner?

CARDINAL GEORGE ASCENDS TO THE HEAVENS: Cardinal Francis George stepped down from his post as head of the Catholic Archdiocese in Chicago because of health reasons, making it possible for an orderly transition that gives us Archbishop Blasé Cupich at the head of the local church.

George’s health factors weren’t an exaggeration, as he died Friday at age 78 from cancer.

His 17 years as head of the Catholic church in Chicago was significant because he was the first Chicago-born native to return here and become the local boss – quite a rise up from a former Catholic school kid from St. Pascal School in the Portage Park neighborhood.

Particularly when one considers he was turned away from the Quigley Preparatory Seminary and was told at the time he likely would never be ordained as a priest because he had to recover from a bout with polio.

KRIS BRYANT; THE QUINTESSENTIAL CHICAGO CUB?: 0-4 with three strikeouts. That was the major league debut of Kris Bryant, the so-called top prospect whom some Chicago Cubs fans were all worked up over because he didn’t make the Cubs’ Opening Day roster.

Cubs management admitted they sent him to the Iowa Cubs roster until Friday because of a business maneuver that will delay by a full year the amount of major league service time he will have before he can someday become a free agent.

Bryant supposedly knocked the snot out of the ball during spring training, and had a couple of good weeks hitting Pacific Coast League pitching before getting his major league call-up.

But on Friday, he stunk the joint up as the Cubs lost 5-4 to the San Diego Padres. It’s only one game, but you have to admit it is so Chicago Cub-ish for the superstar of the future to fizzle out when it matters the most.


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