jpelikan's blog

The departure of the CMSD CEO should be a time for real Civic Responsibility

Submitted by jpelikan on Tue, 12/14/2010 - 13:26.

On December 13th and 14th the PD story "what kind of leader do we need" and editorial "..disappointing departure" already prime Cleveland to a march down the so old path looking for our next Moses to pick up a nicely polished but incomplete plan to transform education in Cleveland.

Attention first needs to focus on the incompleteness of the plan. 

One good aspect of what proceeded the roll out of the transformation plan was an objective look at schools and teachers.

Missing was the same objective look at administration and governance.

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Who will take Responsibility for CMSD "public relations" culture?

Submitted by jpelikan on Sat, 11/27/2010 - 19:43.

comment is now publishing and will appear shortly.

November 27, 2010

At face value, the PD 11.27.'10 editorial "..Sanders needs to level with residents.." is the kind of community service expected of local media, a call for a public official and the public to be responsible.

Responsibility is exactly what we need in Cleveland. Learning responsibility demands from top to bottom in our city to learn something new, something not present from the day a search began for this CEO to today.

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Is it Transformation? Or is it an internal fight between past allies?

Submitted by jpelikan on Sun, 10/31/2010 - 11:34.

Below is my view on the public/private partnership traditional model of governance in Cleveland as reflected in the efforts at school reform here. The politics surrounding the Education Transformation Plan of Dr. Sanders and Cleveland’s Foundations should give us cause to wonder if in this instance the 100 plus year public/private partnership model in Cleveland needs some reform itself.


In the on-line discussion between the reporter and readers following The Plain Dealer’s Friday, October 29, 2010 article “Cleveland, George Gund foundations seek to shape school policy” the reporter was asked:


“So if the ‘foundations would not argue that a young teacher is necessarily superior to an older one” then are they putting a burden on the Union as a whole and teachers individually that has more to do with the management failures of a school District?

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Civic Mythology, Now that Is Transformation

Submitted by jpelikan on Thu, 06/24/2010 - 09:24.

Once before its own “transformation” the Plain Dealer had comics, a front page with real news, and an editorial page.


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Oversight lack faced : Why did it take Jail for CEO's COO?

Submitted by jpelikan on Tue, 06/22/2010 - 13:19.

Note: Written in response to the Plain Dealer June 21st Editorial "Stiff Punishment For School Thief."

It should not have taken the trail of Dan Burns to conclude that the oversight at the Cleveland school district is insufficient. The major gap in the plans of the District is the lack of any objective and transparent review of the ways in which the management and governance of the District impact on schools, teaching, and community engagement.

Without these the case for what is spun as a transformation plan is weak. Anyone who has attended Board and other District meetings, read the documents, and tried to learn how the District makes decisions, has experienced warning sign after warning sign that the District isn’t yet ready to transform itself. We are in the midst of a more expensive and ambitious version of what we have seen before.

Years of governance and management dysfunction are poorly accounted for and decision makers have little grasp of their own contributions to the extreme disengagement of the District from the families and neighborhoods served.

The logic of the status quo as the path to progress escapes me

Submitted by jpelikan on Tue, 06/22/2010 - 11:44.

Note: Below is something I wrote last month in response to a Plain Dealer Guest Column: Plain Dealer guest column May 23, 2010, 3:48AM Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority has its finances and its priorities straight: by Peter Raskind .

If one looks at other problemed institutions in Cleveland you will find the similar patters, myths, silences, and flaws. This is certainly true in the case of the governance change made a little over ten years ago creating the Cleveland Municipal School District, a one of a kind District in the state of Ohio. We seldom examine how we govern ourselves in the sense of establishing the structures of our failed instituions. That is a mistake. When we do examine the origin of the structures we can see that scope of many of our instituional problems rest in people and actions very distant from the institutioanl performance at any given point in time.

May 23, 2010 Pelikan Response to the PD Guest Column

Given the quantity of information on corruption that we in Cleveland have been exposed to over the last two years, one would wonder if there is still more to be said on the topic. Many are drained, not even able to come to closure on what has been exposed, wanting a break from the corruption in the city story. Two items in Peter Raskinds’ column on the Port Authority suggest that some rocks have yet to be unturned in our civic renewal campaign. We need particularly to be aware of two reform myths at work in Cleveland and in the state.

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No Short Cuts For Education Reform

Submitted by jpelikan on Wed, 06/09/2010 - 18:20.

Pelikan / June 8, 2010 rev.

The June 7th Plain Dealer editorial (Cleveland Teachers Union must bend on seniority) is short sighted.

As a private sector for profit business the Plain Dealer has an interest in labor management issues and there is no begrudging its employees in articulating those cultural and economic values. And as seen in the June 3rd full page Plain Dealer ad sponsored by Cleveland business leaders, there are segments of the public who are believers in the CMSD plan, including a changed role for teachers.

When considered as an institution of the community, employing professional journalist, the public is correct expecting more than it would of a for-profit business. In particular we would expect a scope and frame of reference that is comprehensive, long-term, and balanced.

What is the imbalance in the Plain Dealer coverage of public education in its market?

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