CBS-2 story – where will Rahm’s children go to school?

Frankly, I don’t really care, nor had I spent a minute thinking about it. But CBS-2’s Dana Kozlov put together a story that allowed me to avoid criticizing the Emanuel family’s decision about where the children will go to school, while still making the point that this choice will send a message and have an impact on Rahm’s perspective as the leader of our city’s public schools.

I’ve gotten quite a bit of internet blowback about this. Imagine the nerve to talk about it! When Dana asked the question at the Mayor’s ethics press conference yesterday, we saw the Cranky Rahm personality get the upper hand for a few scary seconds, and I imagine that his social media staff has been busy. It’s also just one of those topics that everyone seems to have an opinion about.

Everyone’s experience influences and informs their thoughts and actions. One critic suggested I was being petty, and asserted that the Emanuel family’s school choice just doesn’t matter. She gave the example that you don’t have to have cancer to be sympathetic and to be able to take care of someone who has cancer. I know from experience that that isn’t true.

If my children had not attended public school, I wouldn’t dare hang my shingle out there as a public school parent advocate, spouting off with my know-it-all ideas about what public school leaders are doing wrong,

If Emanuel doesn’t send his children to public school, fine, whatever. It won’t necessarily prevent him from doing a good job running the schools — let’s hope that he can do it well in either case. But in not choosing public schools, he will lose some credibility as a public school leader and pass up the opportunity to have an experience that could make him a better one.

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
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.