Barbara Byrd-Bennett

Well, how the mighty have fallen! Barbara Byrd-Bennett, CEO of Chicago Public Schools from late-2012 to mid-2015, resigned amid a federal investigation earlier this year, and was indicted (and pled guilty) to accepting immense bribes and kickbacks in exchange for steering a no-bid $23M principal development contract to her former employer, SUPES Academy. And now it's coming out that while BBB was head of Detroit Public Schools, she illegally steered a $40M book contract to that district as well, lying and concealing the conflict of interest. She's been accused of theft and conspiracy.

This is the crook "reformer" that Mayor Rahm Emanuel brought in after the 2012 teachers strike. She presided over the 49 school closures in 2013, coldly saying the consolidations would "guarantee our children will get what they need and what they deserve... every child in Chicago Public Schools." But who did Rahm Emanuel appoint in her place? Forest Claypoole, a career politician with no educational experience who formerly ran the CTA (he had no transportation experience either). I can't think of a more glaring example of why Chicago's children deserve an elected school board built on transparency, democracy, a school system centered around preparing students for a fulfilling life, not preparing them for an academic career of standardized testing. 

The epilogue text of Schoolidarity has been modified to reflect this development with BBB.


Andrew Friend

Andrew Friend is a documentary filmmaker in Chicago. During his 9-year service at a PBS station, his cinematography and lighting designs contributed to multiple award-winning projects, including his own Emmy nomination for technical achievement in videography in 2008. His 2010 film Workers' Republic was seen in many film festivals, and garnered the John Michaels Human Rights Film Award from the Big Muddy Film Fest. He is a producer and board member of grass-roots video collective Labor Beat. His 2015 film Schoolidarity documents and contrasts the Wisconsin Uprising of 2011 and the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012.