Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Who fed Rahm his longer-school-day talking points?

It was Jonah Edelman & Co.
 "The data shows that the longer you stay in the classroom learning, you'll learn more..." -- Rahm Emanuel
In my May 5th Huffington Post, "Rahm Still Believes in Texas 'Miracles,'" I ask who it was who fed the mayor his talking points about Houston's supposed longer school day. Rahm, as you may recall, was misleading some local students from Malcolm X College by claiming that kids in Houston end up with 3 more years of classroom seat time, by the time they graduate, than do Chicago kids.
"If you start in the Chicago Public School system in kindergarten," offered Rahm, "and your cousin lives in Houston, and you both go all the way through high school, the cousin in Houston spends three more years in the classroom."
 Now we know who the feeder was -- no other than the infamous and now self-discredited Jonah Edelman. In the video where he brags how he bamboozled union leaders into giving up many of their collective bargaining rights, he and his billionaire Stand For Children patron, Jim Crown, also take credit manipulating the mayor. Here's an excerpt from video, transcribed by Caroline Grannan [thank you Caroline] and posted at Parents Across America's website.
So in the intervening time, Rahm Emanuel was elected mayor … and he strongly supports our proposal. Jim [apparently Crown] … talked about the talking point that we made up and he [Emanuel] repeated about a thousand times, probably, on the campaign trail about the Houston kids going to school four years more than the Chicago kids. That was another shoe that dropped, and it really put a lot of pressure on the unions, particularly on the Chicago Teachers Union because they didn’t support it.
 As I pointed out in my article, I'm not necessarily opposed to a longer school day (or year). It all depends on what happens during that extra time in or out of the classroom and how teachers and students are actually impacted. But it is interesting to see how the mayor's views on education (and he does rule the schools in Chicago) are shaped, not by empirical evidence, but by politically motivated talking points spoon fed him by the corporate reformers.


  1. Edelman was recruited to Illinois by Bruce Rauner, a Republican venture capitalist and former client of Mayor Rahm Emanuel who helped make Emanuel a millionaire when Emanuel was an investment banker. Because Rauner is Republican, Edelman said some expected his group to fund Republican candidates.

    All crooks working together to steal money from the poor and working class.

    John Kugler

  2. I'm still most intrigued by Edelman's stating that "we made up" the line. He said it clearly and calmly, with (I perceive) a faint smile. Does anyone know if that's true -- if it was an actual lie, as Edelman basically says?

  3. Which is it, Rahm, Jonah? 3 more year or 4 more years? As long as you're tossing manure around, how about saying 10 more years? That might really sound compelling.

  4. Longer school days only make sense if you see the function of school as babysitting OR if you actually plan to do things with that day that make developmental and educational sense for both kids and teachers. That means more time for the arts, physical education, and meaningful electives for kids, and not MORE teaching time but more p.d., collegial interaction, mentoring, etc., for teachers. Otherwise, it's just about giving the trappings of increasing learning and making teachers work even LONGER for those "princely" salaries.


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.