“How’m I doin’?” – Rahm’s latest push poll continues attack on CTU


UPDATE: More on fallout from Karen Lewis’s speech in the Tribune this morning (with my comments).


Former New York City mayor was well-known for sticking out his hand to constituents on the street and, rather than asking how they were, instead demanding to know “How’m I doin’?”

Apparently our poll-loving Mayor Rahm wants the same kind of feedback without the personal contact.

Last night I got a follow-up call to a June 2011 “For a Better Chicago” telephone poll asking some of the same questions and a few new ones, apparently to gauge whether Rahm’s media offensive against the Chicago Teachers Union and CTU President Karen Lewis is working.

The poll started out with four questions repeated from the June poll:

1) How satisfied are you with your child’s school? (1 – 5 scale)

2) How satisfied are you with your child’s teachers? (1 – 5 scale)

3) Beginning with a long statement about how short the Chicago school day is in comparison with schools in Houston, asked if you think your child spends enough time in school. (Choices – Yes/No/Not sure)

4) Beginning with a statement that 288 schools in CPS are consistently underperforming and have not improved, asked who you blame the most:

  • The state of Illinois
  • The Chicago Public Schools
  • The Chicago Teachers Union
  • Parents
  • Teachers

The last question was new:

5) Who do you trust more to help improve schools in your neighborhood, Mayor Rahm Emanuel or Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis?

As my thoughtful husband remarked, way to encourage collaboration, Mr. Mayor.

Rahm is no doubt expecting that the blowback from the now-famous video of Karen Lewis’s speech at the Rethinking Schools conference will help him in his efforts to undermine her as a viable leader of the CTU in the run-up to this spring’s teacher contract negotiations.

Some local media outlets seem to be helping, too. I got a call yesterday from a TV news station asking for an interview about Karen’s speech. In our phone pre-interview, I said that I didn’t think her comments were worth getting upset about (really – we’re still tsk-tsking about aging Baby Boomers admitting they smoked pot in college? and she already apologized to Arne for making a little fun of him, for heaven’s sake.). They told me that they would get back to me about the filming schedule. I wasn’t too surprised that they never called back.

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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.