Is Brizard honeymoon over?

Is it just me, or is it hot in here?

The Sun-Times reports this afternoon that Mayor-elect Emanuel is already on the defensive about his pick for CPS CEO:

“Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday defended his selection of Jean-Claude Brizard to head Chicago’s public schools as controversy mounted in Rochester, N.Y., about the terms of Brizard’s departure there.”

Part of that heat is over Brizard’s unsupported claim that he raised graduation rates in Rochester by 13%. Chicago media was a little slow to jump on the facts (which I posted yesterday), but they’re on it now like white on rice:

“Although Emanuel initially touted Brizard for raising the Rochester graduation rate, the only publicly available official data shows Rochester’s four-year graduation rate went down in 2009. In a news release on the Rochester School District website, Brizard cited figures indicating that by 2010, it had improved, but the 2010 figures have not yet been released by the New York State Board of Education.”

Add to that the excruciatingly thorough (yes, I loved it!) expose by Eric Zorn in his blog yesterday, followed by his print comments today:

Can Rochester, N.Y., superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard pad a payroll? Skirt the rules? Spend frivolously? Distort statistics to make himself look good? Infuriate his constituents with a high-handed style?

Check, check, check, check and check.

and his re-post of my article about Rahm’s repeated lies about our schools, under the headline,

Perhaps a clue why Emanuel didn’t care about Brizard’s slippery graduation statistics,

and you have the beginnings at the very least of a PR disaster for the master media manipulator, Rahm Emanuel.

You also don’t want to miss Curtis Black’s NewsTips story on Brizard, which includes some quotes from the new Parent Across America Guide to the Broad Academy’s Education Programs and Policies which PAA published yesterday.

My predictions

I believe that there’s a chance that Brizard will never make it as CPS CEO. And for my next prediction, I believe that Rahm Emanuel will have a very bumpy ride as mayor from the get-go, not the mostly kid-glove treatment Daley has gotten. Why? Because Rahm is a behind-the-scenes manipulator, not a front man. The classic front man (insert your favorite – mine is Arne Duncan) has that corn-fed grin that’s essential to convincing folks that a lie is not a lie, or that at least if it is a lie, the liar doesn’t mean it and really has all of our best interests at heart.

That’s not Rahm. When he smiles, you kind of want to hide your children.

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.
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