Come on, come on, Emanuel

WWRD? Now Mayor Rahm is giving local ministers the text for their sermons this week. This morning at a clergy event organized by CPS, Father Rahm urged pastors to call for a longer school day from their pulpits on Sunday.

“I ask each of you … to speak in your sermon this Sunday about education,” the mayor said at the event at U.S. Cellular Field. “I want you to specifically speak about the need for a longer school day and school year.”

Of course, it’s nothing new for City Hall to have a bunch of ministers in its hip pocket, ready to deploy as a front for whatever soul-killing initiative our mayor wants to foist on our most vulnerable communities.

Take that “protest” out in front of CPS during the Board meeting yesterday. There were several ministers and a group of other folks with printed signs demanding not just more time in school but EXACTLY 90 minutes and 2 weeks extra – the very numbers on Rahm-Claude’s scorecard.

It’s not that I don’t want a longer school day, as long as there are enough high-quality programs to fill the extra time and enough money to pay for them. But somehow this was never a big deal back when we might actually have been able to pay for it. Somehow during Mayor Daley’s entire tenure as Chicago schools czar it was OK for Chicago to have the shortest school day in the state and possibly the nation. Somehow it’s only a desperate need now, when implementing a longer school day must necessarily involve taking an ax to teacher salaries and other critical programs. Hmmm. Wonder what the real goal is???

Anyway, as a minister’s wife, I take particular umbrage at Rahm’s edict. In light of the situation, though, I’ve selected a few texts from this week’s Common Lectionary (the list of selections from scripture that many preachers base their sermons on) that may be more appropriate:

“I do not sit with the worthless, nor do I consort with hypocrites.” (Psalm 26:4)

“Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19b)

“Get behind me, Satan!” (Matthew 16:23a)

Now, go in peace.

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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.