Friday, April 25, 2014

More two-tier schooling in Rahm's Chicago

A couple of items before I shut down SmallTalk for the weekend and get busy on Bridging Differences with Deb Meier.

First is Rahm's decision to use $60 million from his TIF slush fund towards another selective-enrollment high school, this one named Obama College Prep, in the upscale Lincoln Park neighborhood. On the bad side, the planned school is too big. It's too selective and it's in the wrong location. On the good side...give me a minute.

Remember, the mayor just closed 50 schools in black and Latino neighborhoods on the south and west sides.

TWEET from Chicago poet Kevin Coval:
to b built on the grave of Cabrini Green It'll b selective enrollment We are ensuring a city for some rather than ALL
West Side activist Dwayne Truss called an Obama High near Halsted and Division “a slap to both black families and children.” Truss said the money planned for the school should be used “to provide adequate funding for all of Chicago’s neighborhood schools rather than cater to wealthy middle-class families the school is targeting.”

Pretty soon I expect to see selective enrollment schools popping up on every other north-side corner -- like Walgreens or Starbucks. Walter Payton (Bruce Rauner's fave is only a couple of blocks away). Then there's the super-selective IB program at Lincoln Park H.S. just down the road, which could be decimated by the new POTUS High. I can also imagine things getting intense as wealthy LP homeowners compete for seats in the new facility. I saw this happen a few years ago when wealthy suburban New Trier parents went to war over seats in the new school that was planned to relieve overcrowding. In that case, the competition was over who could stay at prestigious New Trier. It was resolved by turning the new building into a freshman campus.

South side parents and students at New Trier in 2008.
A FEW YEARS BACK... I rode the buses with hundreds of south-side students and their parents, up to Winnetka to try and register them at New Trier. Of course we knew that African-American kids whose parents could only dream of owning property on the North Shore, would not be allowed to enroll at Rahm's (and Donald Rumsfeld's) alma mater. But the demonstration did draw lots of media and the real issue of two-tier public education got some play in the press that week.

I assume the same issue will get lots of play here in the city as work on the new school gets underway and the 2015 elections draw near.

RAHMLAND...Speaking of 2015 and Rahm's plummeting ratings, the ego-maniacal little emperor made sure that the major CNN series Chicagoland would run like a paid campaign ad. He used his clout, his family connections and his boys to keep the propaganda series on message, especially about his school closings.

According to the Tribune:

More than 700 emails reviewed by the Tribune reveal that the production team worked hand in hand with the mayor's advisers to develop storylines, arrange specific camera shots and review news releases officially announcing the show.
Creator and executive producer Marc Levin [represented by Ari Emanuel's William Morris Agency] made a pitch to the mayor's office last May as Emanuel's hand-picked school board was two days away from a vote to close nearly 50 schools.
"This is a real opportunity to highlight the Mayors leadership – his ability to balance the need for reform and fiscal reality with compassion for affected communities and concern for the safety of Chicago's school children," Levin wrote of the school closings to Emanuel senior adviser David Spielfogel and two press aides. "We need the mayor on the phone in his SUV, in city hall with key advisers and his kitchen cabinet and meeting with CPS head BBB (Barbara Byrd-Bennett) and with CPD (Superintendent Garry) McCarthy."

1 comment:

  1. Mike--am I mistaken or--just this past fall-- didn't a number of parents from the communities where schools had been closed (led, I believe, by the indomitable Jitu Brown of K.O.C.O.) attempt to enroll their children at Pritzker School (not in Winnetka--in CHICAGO!!)? They were told no, of course. Please verify-- thanks!


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