Sunday, December 16, 2018

Rahm's parting shots at public ed -- Goolsbee & pension theft

Austan Goolsbee
Before he leaves us, our lame duck Mayor Rahm Emanuel is taking a few parting shots at the unions and progressives who helped make a third run for him a lost cause.

THE FIRST SHOT…was aimed at city workers pensions. Rahm wants to amend the State Constitution to cap cost-of-living increases for retirees and make pension theft legal. Right now the Constitution prohibits any diminishment or impairment of pension fund benefits (Article Xlll, Section 5). Previous attempts by the legislature to balance the budget on the backs of retirees have been ruled unconstitutional. Former gov, Pat Quinn lost his reelection bid to Bruce Rauner in large part because he supported failed pension theft initiatives.

THE NEXT SHOT...Rahm's appointment of former Obama economic advisor and political insider Austan Goolsbee to the school board appears to be nothing but a big "F**k you" to Chicago school activists and the CTU.

Economist Goolsbee, unlike his new boss Rahm, had a pretty good line when he was working for Obama. But he caved in after advising against extending tax breaks for the rich and for stimulating the economy as a way out of the recession rather than focusing on shrinking the budget deficit.

But no matter what you thought of Goolsbee's economic theories, we're not making macro economic decisions on the CPS board. This is all about educating our children, an area where Goolsbee has no background and has demonstrated little in the way of knowledge. I think it was Alexander Pope who wrote, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

His lackings haven't prevented him from carrying on when it comes to school issues like testing, teacher evaluation or school vouchers.

This from Chalkbeat Chicago:
In a 2015 survey of economists’ positions on public issues,  [Goolsbee] favored value-added” measures that try to isolate the impact of individual teachers on student test scores — though he qualified the approach as having “lots of noise and unobservables.”
In the same survey, Goolsbee claimed "uncertainty" about school vouchers. But Rahm and Rauner have already brought a form of vouchers into Chicago. Does anyone think that an "uncertain" Goolsbee will oppose them now as a Rahm appointee?

Rahm made Goolsbee appointment only three months before his term as mayor is up. He did it without consulting some of the most important stakeholders, including the CTU.

This from CTU Pres. Jesse Sharkey:
The Chicago Teachers Union, which backs an elected school board, described Goolsbee’s new role as a “unilateral appointment by a lame duck mayor. 
"Mr. Goolsbee comes into a board responsible for students and their schools being starved of resources for the last eight years by the man who appointed him,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said in a statement. “Those same neighborhoods continue to struggle from the consequences of a foreclosure crisis that the administration he served in Washington failed to address. We can — and we must — do better.” 
Why then, not leave the seat open for three months, knowing that most of the current mayoral candidates oppose Rahm's his school policies will likely replace all or most of his current board picks?

The answer seems obvious. Rahm is using his remaining power to smack his political opponents and reward his friends. That's if you can call a three-month appointment to the discredited CPS board a reward.

Finally, if you needed any more reasons to take control of the public schools out of the mayor's hands and into the hands of an elected, representative school board, Goolsbee and pension theft are pretty good ones.


  1. Rahm left the seat open for 2 years and then he appoints Goolsbee with 3 months to go? What’s up with that?

  2. Why would Rahm leave that seat open for years and then fill it with 3 months to go in his term? There had to be ulterior motives aside from doing right by CPS kids. We definitely need an elected board.


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