Chicago Booth on Dick Vitale, Boardmember & Chair of Chicago Public Schools Board of Education:

"[Dick] Vitale made an organizational assessment of CPS, and when Duncan approved of the plan, Vitale agreed to implement it at a salary of one dollar per year. “The reason I could add value was that I’d learned some skills at the bank during the merger and in making improvements at the Board of Trade,” he said. “Organizations that haven’t had a lot of discipline or modern management have a lot of the same problems.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, “his role grew in influence and scope as he became one of the top two managers under Duncan overseeing seven departments.”Vitale said he and Duncan determined the 600 schools were like franchises performing at various levels of success. “We started differentiating our management process,” Vitale said. The result included autonomously managed performance schools—about 85 schools that have greater operational freedom because of their success—and Renaissance 2010, a program announced in 2004 that calls for closing about 50 troubled schools and replacing them with nearly 100 new smaller ones. A nonprofit called Renaissance Schools Fund is raising private money for the new schools,
and Vitale’s role in the school system is highly valued by the business community.Don Lubin,who chairs the fund, told the Tribune, “He brought a certain business discipline to the school system. He had an independence and he used it wisely to get things done.”

Under Vitale’s direction, CPS has maintained budgetary discipline by eliminating administrative overhead in order to close budget gaps. “We closed $200–$300 million budget gaps per year in the last two years,” he said.”

Schools like franchises?

Are there ever unintended consequences to such analogies? Do they affect the way we view, interact with, and treat our students?

  1. danholder posted this