CHICAGO (CBS) — The head of the Chicago Public Schools says one of his top priorities, besides working out a new contract with the Chicago Teachers Union, is closing the achievement gap among a number of schools.

CPS Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard, the guest on this weekend’s WBBM “At Issue” program, doesn’t deny that some Chicago schools are still lagging behind the others in achievements. And he says his administration is finalizing a five-year plan to improve them.

Among the areas of concern: students for whom English is a second language and others.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Brizard also says he has just finished a review of special-ed classes looking at what CPS does instructionally, and in its curriculum. He is also looking at issues of disproportionality — for instance, why so many African-American male students are suspended, expelled, and dropping out.

He’s also concerned with school leadership, saying “teachers matter, and matter a lot, but unless you have a good principal who knows how to align resources … it’s not going to happen. You find me a good school that doesn’t have a good principal, I’d be shocked.”

Brizard says training is important for principals, and the community councils that select them.

Brizard is the guest on the “At Issue” program this weekend, and you can hear more of his comments at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday on WBBM Newsradio 780 and 105.9 FM.

Watch & Listen LIVE