CHICAGO — Just three weeks after a teachers strike here that kept 350,000 children from their classrooms, the head of the city’s public schools system has chosen to step down, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at a news conference Friday.
Emanuel said the departure of Jean-Claude Brizard, who had held the position for only 17 months, was a mutual decision amid reports swirling through the media about Brizard’s performance and his relationship with the mayor. That talk had become a “distraction," Emanuel said.
The shake-up comes just weeks after Chicago’s first teachers strike in 25 years. For nine days last month, 26,000 teachers in the school system, the nation’s third largest, picketed in front of schools and marched through the city as protracted contract negotiations took place.
The strike drew national headlines and raised issues about education reform that have been debated in school districts throughout the country.