Mayor Rahm Emanuel is so discredited on his education and policing policies that he's been forced out of a re-election bid. But that didn't stop him and his ever-faithful schools CEO Janice Jackson from putting in an appearance in D.C. on WaPo's Education in America forum recently to spread the good news about all things terrific going on in Chicago's public schools.
Jackson offered a few comments when she could get a word in, but it was obvious that Rahm had her there as window dressing.
Was there any discussion of the regime's continuing disastrous mass school-closings policy mostly in underserved black communities, or the dramatic plunge in CPS enrollment during Rahm's tenure? Glad you asked. No.
District officials report a loss of 10,000 students since the last school year, one of the largest single-year declines in more than a decade. In the last three years, 31,000 students have ghosted CPS classrooms. But the Post's Jonathan Capehart never asked about that.
But he did ask Rahm about his closed-door meeting with Ed Secretary Betsy DeVos. At first, Rahm and Jackson giggled as if trying to distance themselves from the right-wing buffoon who currently occupies the D.O.E. That was followed by a seemingly unending speed rap about all the great ed initiatives flowing out of the 5th floor at City Hall; i.e. longer school days, not allowing "failure," onus on the principal, full-day Pre-K and free community college (if you get B's on your report card)...and the list goes on.
"We explained to her [DeVos\ that this was not about choice, but about quality...", Rahm assured Capehart, as if he actually believed it.As we later learned, the secret Rahm/DeVos meeting was ALL about "choice," meaning Rahm's willingness to push a school voucher program into Chicago in exchange for federal dollars and a release by Republican Gov. Rauner of the state's school budget.
But Rahm's cover was blown when the Sun-Times got hold of his emails through an FOIA request. It turned out that Cardinal Blase Cupich had emailed the mayor after learning that U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was scheduling meetings with big-city mayors on Trump administration education priorities.
“I am personally interested in the proposal to fund a $20 billion federal education tax credit as part of the federal tax reform. I am convinced that this could be an enormous boost to the Chicago schools and the thousands of parents who use our [Catholic] schools,” Cupich wrote. “I am grateful that you understand the importance of school choice for poor families who see this as a viable way for the family to move out of poverty.”The "tax credit" for the state's wealthiest turned out to be a voucher program to benefit Catholic and other private schools at the expense of public school students.
In his letter to Rahm, Cupich laid out the rationale that moved Rahm and the Democrats to support the bill. He claimed that by enticing students and families out of CPS, Rahm would save taxpayers $1 billion a year through lower public school enrollment. By extension, one can only imagine how much money taxpayers would save by getting rid of public education entirely. Zero students, zero cost per/student to taxpayers.
Who would have thought that blue state Illinois would become the showpiece for DeVos' "school choice" agenda?
I shouldn't have implied that Capehart never mentioned school closings. He did ask Rahm if the community's negative response to the closings accounted for him not running for a third term. Rahm did his usual. "Do I look like someone who runs from a challenge?... No, I just wanted to spend more time with Amy and the kids." OK.
More to come on this. Stay tuned