Professor TOm Pedroni of Wayne State University wrote the following letter after learning that Barbara Byrd-Bennett had been selected as the new Chicago superintendent. He and sent it to the Chicago newspapers. None would publish it.

“October 14, 2012



“Many of us in Detroit are shocked by Mayor Emanuel’s appointment of Byrd-Bennett to head CPS. Her abysmal record as Chief Academic and Accountability Auditor of Detroit Public Schools should alarm Chicago parents and educators.

“Byrd-Bennett created an academic plan for DPS that promised skyrocketing performance gains. To say the least, these gains never materialized. Her plan centered on the obstinate assertion that closing failing schools and offering parents a “marketplace of choices” would cause test scores to jump. Predictably, test scores actually declined or stagnated in DPS while they increased statewide. This has exacerbated Michigan’s statewide achievement gap.

“While Byrd-Bennett did not make her mark in academics, she did help engineer what many consider the largest textbook publisher contract in U.S. history—a $40 million partnership with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Byrd-Bennett had just resigned as Superintendent-in-Residence for Harcourt School Publishers. The Houghton Mifflin Harcourt deal necessitated a sweeping overhaul of the district’s academic program that was not vetted by any internal process.

“While we applaud the dialogue that Byrd-Bennett has initiated with CTU President Karen Lewis, Chicagoans should be concerned about her previous performance and demonstrated commitments.

“Dr. Thomas C. Pedroni, Wayne State University”

Dr. Thomas C. Pedroni  387 Education Bldg, Detroit, MI 48202  (313) 577-1730