Posts Tagged ‘Mayor Emanuel’

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

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

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.

Great message from Raise Your Hand

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Folks, it’s no secret that our schools are in a financial crisis because rich corporations have successfully fought for years against increases in their fair share of school funding, and our (mostly) spineless state legislators have refused to step up and do what needs to be done to fund our schools adequately.

The public is also beginning to catch on to the unfairness of the corporate “reformers” and politicians — these well-heeled folks who have comfortable incomes, pensions and health care — who point their fingers at teachers and shout that we can “no longer afford” to offer those things to our hardest-working public servants.

Here’s a common-sense (and more temperate) response by Chicago’s Raise Your Hand parent group to Mayor Emmanuel’s recent nasty implication that it’s the teachers who are giving children “the shaft”:

Grown Ups: Work it Out for the Kids

In case you haven’t seen the news in a few days, there’s a big battle over teacher raises right now between the CPS board and the Chicago Teachers Union.

While everyone knows that times are bad, we think that CPS should do a better job of explaining their deficit numbers to the CTU and the public in general.

We are also disturbed by the new Mayor of Chicago’s comments that students were “left on the side of the road” and “given the shaft” as a result of the contract. If you are going to rescind the raises of the people who dedicate their lives to taking care of our children every day, why follow it up the next day with such insulting and vile language? How about more reconciliatory language to our hard-working teachers like, “we’re sorry we can’t pay you your raises this year, we are working on reforming TIF, looking at the amount of money we spend on standardized testing and test prep materials, etc.” so that we can honor our contract in the future. How about a plea to our great teachers to stay with us at CPS because we are all going to work together to make this system better? A false and insulting accusation that teachers have been giving their students the shaft is not helpful.

The CPS and the CTU need to sit down and work this out like adults. Our kids depend on them for leadership and compromise. Show the children of Chicago that you can work this out without vitriol and ongoing disrespect.

We are tired of the old paradigm and demand something new and better for the children of Chicago.

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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.