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Huberman Appointment Challenged at Rainbow PUSH Saturday Morning Forum

January 31, 2009

"The man who managed busses and trains and the 911 emergency dispatch center is now in charge of managing our children," said Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown referring to the appointment of Ron Huberman as the new CEO of Chicago Public Schools. "This is not personal but it is critical that Illinois has an educated workforce. Huberman is not qualified for this position."

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition was absent from this morning's broadcast of the Rainbow PUSH Saturday Morning Forum but shared the same sentiments as Clerk Brown as he commented by telephone.

"The Chicago public school system is one of the largest and most challenged school systems in the country," he said. "It deserves a leader whose credentials and experience are equal to the task."

Huberman, 37, worked with the Chicago Police Department for nine years before running the Office of Emergency Management and Communications for a year. In 2005 he was named Mayor Richard Daley's chief of staff. And in 2007, Daley named him to head the Chicago Public Transit Authority.

Many critics have questioned why Barbra Eason-Watkins, chief education officer for CPS was not appointed to the position. In 1995, a law was passed that, by reducing qualifications, allow a non-educator to be appointed head of Chicago Public Schools.

"This is a bad law," said Clerk Brown. "We must fight to get this law changed"

Rev. Gregory Livingston, national field secretary for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, addressed the audience encouraging viewers to attend a meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters to discuss the matter. Tuesday's meeting will be held in conjunction with Parents Untied for Responsible Education (PURE) and the Parent Empowerment Association.

"Something does not smell right about his appointment," he said. "You don't need a Ph.D. to know you need a Ph.D. for this position. This is an insult to the intelligence of the citizens of Chicago."

Saturday Moring Forum airs at 10 a.m. CST on the Word Network, CAN-TV and WJYS.