Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Sunday, May 5, 2013

They come and they go

Catalyst follows the comings and goings of the cogs in Chicago's corporate reform wheel. The latest to catch my eye is Oliver Sicat, who leaves CPS to become the CEO and president of Edvocate, the charter management organization overseeing USC Hybrid High School in Los Angeles.

Sicat was the founder of University of Illinois at Chicago College Prep, a campus of the Noble Street Charters Schools.  USC Hybrid High, now in its first year, is a charter school authorized by the Los Angeles Unified School District and designed and built by the University of Southern California Rossier School.

He was hired by Rahm to run the charter school wing of the mayor's school-closing operation. You know how that goes -- close a neighborhood public school, claiming it's "underutilized" and then open 3 charter schools around the corner, run by private companies. It's an economic and political win-win for the mayor and the corporate guys. And Sicat was the guy brought in to make it work.

Rahm even invented a new position of chief portfolio officer specifically for his rising star bureaucrat.  So why is he leaving a position created just for him? Don't know. Rahm likes to keep the revolving door revolving. It keeps any one department from getting too much power. Plus he's had to make room in the bloated school-closing/charter bureaucracy for new blood, like ex-marine colonel and hostage negotiator, Tom Tyrell and for Ald. O'Connor's sister, Catherine Sugrue.

Much like the military-industrial complex, where operators slide easily from the government bureaucracy to corporate board rooms, so it is with the edreform-corporate complex.

One group that sticks around is the corporate patrons of charter schools themselves who also keep Rahm on a short leash.

From the Chicago Tribune:
Yet the mayor's kitchen cabinet of advisers includes political donors from the strata of high finance in which he himself made millions of dollars. Those advisers, many active in promoting charter schools, include Michael Sacks, the CEO of Grosvenor Capital Management, who also heads Emanuel's World Business Chicago economic development panel; Kenneth Griffin and his wife, Anne Dias Griffin, who each run hedge fund firms; and venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, a likely candidate for the Republican governor nomination. 

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