Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Empire Strikes Back

Emanuel/Daley rift sharpens

Smiling faces...
The rift surfaced back in November. Actually, autocrat Rahm started it with his pokes at his predecessor.

His line of attack has been the longer school day initiative. His education plan is essentially a continuation of the failed Daley/Duncan reforms, previously known as Renaissance 2010 -- school closings in under-served  communities, turning neighborhood schools over to private charter school management companies, attacking teacher collective-bargaining rights and pensions.

None of these things has ever produced any significant improvement in measurable student learning. In fact, during the past two decades of mayoral control of the schools, the so-called "achievement gap" has grown wider. 

In response, Rahm claims  it's all because Mayor Daley didn't push for a longer school day -- a plan that has no basis in ed research and one that is being met with growing opposition among parents and teachers. The Daley faction is furious over Rahm's attempt to diminish the Daley legacy. I guess they feel Daley has diminished it enough on his own by selling off the parking meters to Morgan Stanley (his brother's bank) and the UAR in exchange for a retirement job with the law firm that swung the deal.

On Tuesday, Daley slapped at the longer school day plan, claiming that what we really needed was "quality instructions" [sic].  Today, Rahm and his boy Ald. O'Connor slapped back, calling Daley a "flip-flopper."

But this is more than a petty squabble among Chicago machine factions. Rahm seems to be making enemies everywhere he goes. His approval ratings are plummeting. The Obamas hate him. Nancy Pelosi flew into Chicago and sided with Jesse Jackson in his fight with Emanuel. Then Obama pulled the G8 Summit from Chicago without consulting with Rahm. And now the feds have put Chicago under virtual martial law in the run-up to the NATO protests -- discrediting Rahm's claim that there would be business as usual down in the loop.

In the midst of current contract negotiations with the teachers union and a growing community-based resistance to Rahm's top-down "reforms", it's a rift worth paying attention to by the CTU and ed activists.

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