Waiting for Rahm: Pro-charter mayor-elect “saves” charter student

Rahm Emanuel with charter student he saved (Sun-Times photo)

Not sure what part of this Neil Steinberg story in today’s Sun-Times to find most disturbing.

A new counselor at Chicago International  Charter School-Longwood finds a student near tears in the library. She asks him why he’s crying and he says he “hates school.” A staffer tells the counselor, “Oh believe me, you’ll get to know this kid. You’ll see him every day, because he’s a lot of trouble here. He’s not motivated, very defiant and always getting kicked out.”

Nice, huh?

Anyway, the counselor has been volunteering for candidate Rahm Emanuel. She asks the student what he’s interested in and he says “government,” so she offers to bring him to Emanuel campaign headquarters.

“He said, ‘Honestly? Are you for real? Do you know Rahm Emanuel is going to make my neighborhood safer?’” says the counselor. “He literally ran off Rahm’s platform for me. I was completely floored. He knew more about Rahm’s platform than I did.” The young man had heard Emanuel’s campaign promises on TV commercials.

OK, that explains a lot about Emanuel’s victory.

So, he’s down at campaign headquarters and Rahm asks him to help canvass and one thing leads to another and Rahm is asking the student to lead the pledge of allegiance at his inauguration. The student is now motivated in his studies and no longer crying in the library. Rahm even helps him with his homework. Save!!

But, what does that say about the charter school this young man attended? Didn’t the student seem a lot like those children with that “vacant look” in their eyes that Rahm kept talking about in his campaign ads? But I always figured Rahm was talking about those poor students in the failing neighborhood schools, not charter school students. Because Rahm’s education platform consisted almost exclusively of pushing for more charter schools. Even Rahm’s version of “parent empowerment” is the parent trigger, which is essentially a scam to use parents to close schools down and bring in charter schools.

So, if charter schools are the answer, why did Rahm have to save this charter school student?

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Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.