It was only a little more than a week ago that Rev. Jackson openly sided against Rahm and with the CTU and community activists, who had packed a CPS board meeting to protest the board's decision to close more neighborhood schools and hand them over to a politically connected, private turnaround company, AUSL.
Jackson and CTU President Karen Lewis openly denounced the policies of Rahm's hand-picked board as "education apartheid," a move which immediately re-framed the whole reform discussion and put Rahm and his cronies on the defensive. A day later, Rahm made his schools boss, J.C. Brizard get up in front of the media and deny that he was running an apartheid system.
Pelosi then flew in to Chicago, stood side-by-side with Rev. Jackson at PUSH and then endorsed Jesse Jackson, Jr. in his congressional re-election bid. The timing and place of the endorsement was an obvious slap at the mayor who then was forced to to come out himself and openly endorse Triple J.
The party leadership is obviously worried about Rahm's rift with Jackson as well as the growing resistance to Rahm's attack on public schools, especially in the black community. There's the risk that the growing school protests will spill over into upcoming Occupy protests scheduled here for May and possibly lasting up until election time.
Teacher unions are are a badly-needed ally of Democrats in the November elections. But Rahm's war on the unions, reminiscent of the anti-union assault by T-Party guvs like Wisconsin Gov. Walker, is obviously becoming a concern of the White House. Yesterday, Brizard stunned many of his own supporters when he came out in favor of using federal education funds to be used to send CPS kids to private schools.
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According to a report in the Monitor, Rahm didn't even learn about the change until yesterday making it pretty clear that he has fallen from grace in the party's inner circles.
Monday's announcement appeared to catch many in Chicago by surprise. A spokeswoman for Emanuel said the Chicago mayor was informed about the location change in a Monday phone call from a White House official. Chris Johnson, spokesman for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, said his organization was "just as surprised about the announcement as anybody else."Chicago will still play host to the NATO Summit, May 20-21at great expense (conservatively estimated at $65 million) to city residents, mainly for a massive police presence. Thousands of anti-war and civil-liberties protesters are still preparing to come to the city and make their voices heard, according to Joe Iosbaker of the United National Antiwar Committee in Chicago.
Check out the Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky who has been writing the best local stuff on this.
Now we'll see if the CTU and it's allies can take advantage of this rift in upcoming negotiations and in support of legislative efforts to stop the school closings.