When it comes to the many challenges facing Chicago parents and education, what’s good enough for the goose is not good enough for the gander.
When Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel settles into his charming little upscale neighborhood on Chicago’s North side, he had to make a difficult decision — will his children live like the hoi polloi in Chicago or will they live like spoiled, rich, protected, limo escorted privileged kids with access to alternatives? Well, of course it’s the latter.
Rahm and his wife have decided that his children will not experience public schools like the rest of the regular folks even though — contrary to popular belief — there are some outstanding schools within the CPS system. One thing that CPS does well is their magnet schools which give children an opportunity to take courses outside mainstream offerings and challenge them academically to excel. Some schools even offer Japanese in middle school grades and offer impressive gifted programs. Unfortunately for Rahm, the house that he and his wife chose was just outside the boundary of one of those magnet schools. This put Emanuel in a predicament.
If he chose a house on the right side of the tracks, would his decision to send his children to one of the most prestigious schools in all of Chicago been met with even more disdain? Could you imagine the headlines? ‘Good Chicago school not good enough for Rahm’s kids?’
Whatever the reason, Emanuel is sending his children 30 minutes away to attend the same school, The Lab at University of Chicago, where Barrack and Michelle Obama sent their children. (Of course, it was only a 10 minute commute for the Obamas when they lived in Chicago versus the 30 minute plus commute via car the Emanuel kids will have to endure.)
During the election period, Emanuel side-stepped questions from the press, asking him if he would send his children to Chicago Public Schools. He simply stated that he and his wife were undecided. Had he been more truthful, he would have said that the decision would be put off until after he was elected so to not offend anyone.
Emanuel released an official statement about the private school scandal, which read in part, “My children get me as a parent, not as the mayor. So it’s a decision Amy and I will make. We’ll do (what) is best for them as children and their education.”
Translation: No ‘good’ parent in their right mind would send their child to a Chicago Public School.
That’s all fine and dandy, however, when former-Mayor Daley took control away from the state of Illinois to run the Chicago schools, claiming he could do it better, the representation of CPS by the mayor came with the job whether Emanuel likes it or not.
In an interview Emanuel gave to NBC News’ Mary Ann Ahern, he was so put off by the journalist questioning his reason for sending his kids to private schools and her wanting an explanation as to how that might look to the average voter, he had a melt -down. Emanuel, who has been an outspoken critic of the teachers and the public school system and was, in part, elected to systematically improve the schools for all children, not just from totally unacceptable to a little unacceptable. This would be a victory he would take to the next election without any shame even though it’s likely that Emanuel will never fix the school system enough to allow his own children to be handicapped by the school system he’s been entrusted to run.
When Ahern questioned Emanuel, he got pissed and left the interview. Not only did he leave, but he pointed his finger at Ms. Ahern’s head and scolded her in a demeaning way. He snapped – how dare she ask where his children were going to school.
It’s a legitimate question though. If the schools are not good enough for our elected officials, why are we elevating and empowering those who look upon us as chumps? If the average person’s right to a decent education is only extended to the powerful, wealthy and politicians, how will the problems plaguing our schools ever get fixed?
Another thing, Mr. Emanuel, plenty of famous people have attended Chicago Public Schools. Just ask your buddy Rod Blogojevich. He went to CPS’ and look where it got him!
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