Memo to Mayor Rahm: You won!



Believe it or not, I have an old friend who works for the central office at the Chicago Public Schools.

I won't reveal his/her name 'cause if I do, Mayor Emanuel will have a fit and send him/her a dead fish for even talking to me.

I'm not sure what the mayor has against me. It couldn't have been anything I wrote—or over the fact that I went to Evanston while he went to New Trier. Those old high school rivalries last forever!

Speaking of which—c'mon, Wildkits, how's about beating New Trier this Friday. You know, just for a change.

Back to my old friend at the central office....

Whenever I ask him/her about some parents who are rebelling against one of the many half-baked educational ideas coming out of Mayor Emanuel's skull, he/she replies: Oh, they're just controlled by the Chicago Teachers Union.

Parents on the south side against longer school days? Controlled by the union. Parents on the west side who don't want schools closed? Controlled by the union. High school parents throughout the city who don't want longer school days? Controlled by the union. You'd think that everyone in town was controlled by the union. As if that's the only reason to oppose the oddball ideas Mayor Rahm comes up with.

Like nickel and diming the libraries 'cause we're "broke," even though we've got untold hundreds of million of dollars sitting in the TIF bank accounts.

At the risk of offending my old friend—who I trust will remain my old friend long after Mayor Rahm's taken his act to the Iowa caucus—you're starting to remind me of the conservative talking heads who go on TV to say that the media's biased against conservative Republicans.

Guys, you are the media—you're on freaking TV!!!

Similarly, it's Mayor Emanuel, not the teachers union, that calls the shots around here. He's the most powerful man in our little local universe. He controls every board and every agency. He's got preachers, pastors, and aldermen tucked in his pocket. Rich guys fly in from all over the world just to get a few minutes of his time.

When it comes to education, he's got pundits from the New York Times to Fox TV calling him the savior for turning unionized schools into non-union charters and transforming teachers into relatively low-paid temps. Think Ryan in The Office.

For better or worse, they've managed to convince themselves that this is how to make sure that the poorest scoring kids from the poorest parts of Chicago score as well on their standardized tests as the rich kids from the rich schools like, oh, just to pick one of my favorites, good old New Trier.

Speaking of which Part II: E.T.H.S. we will fight for you—rah, rah, rah, rah!

Remember—poverty must never, ever be used as an excuse to explain low test scores. Unless, of course, you need an excuse to explain low test scores in charter schools.

And if the Mayor's great educational experiment doesn't work? No problem. Just play games with the scores, dole out more contracts to the charters, and call it reform.

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