Archives for category: Emanuel, Rahm

Investigative reporter Rick Perlstein writes that Rahm Emanuel failed to reach the 50% plus one threshold against a crowded field because of the widespread perception of corruption.

Some saw him as “Mayor 1%,” taking care of the powerful. But there was more:

“Perhaps what turned some voters against Rahm at the last minute—or motivated them to go to the polls in the first place on a cold Chicago day that started out in the single digits—was an Election Day exposé that appeared in the British paper the Guardian by investigate reporter Spencer Ackerman. “The Disappeared” revealed the existence of Homan Square, a forlorn “black site” that the Chicago Police operate on the West Side.

There, Chicagoans learned—many for the first time—arrestees are locked up for days at a time without access to lawyers. One victim was 15 years old; he was released without being charged with anything. Another, a 44-year-old named John Hubbard, never left—he died in custody. One of the “NATO 3” defendants, later acquitted on most charges of alleged terror plans during a 2012 Chicago protest, was shackled to a bench there for 17 hours.

It “struck legal experts as a throwback to the worst excesses of Chicago police abuse, with a post-9/11 feel to it,” the Guardian reported. And for a candidate, Rahm Emanuel, who ran on a message he was turning the page on the old, malodorous “Chicago way,” the piece contributed to a narrative that proved devastating.

“Indeed, the mayor faced a drumbeat of outstanding journalistic exposés all throughout the campaign. The Chicago Sun-Times reported on Deborah Quazzo, an Emanuel school board appointee who runs an investment fund for companies that privatize school functions. They discovered that five companies in which she had an ownership stake have more than tripled their business with the Chicago Public Schools since she joined the board, many of them for contracts drawn up in the suspicious amount of $24,999—one dollar below the amount that required central office approval. (Chicago is the only municipality in Illinois whose school board is appointed by a mayor. But activists succeeded—in an arduous accomplishment against the obstruction attempts of Emanuel backers on the city council—to get an advisory referendum on the ballot in a majority of the city’s wards calling for an elected representative school board. Approximately 90 percent of the voters who could vote for the measure did.) “

In a surprise result, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel failed to receive 50% plus one of the vote and was forced into a runoff with Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

Emanuel will go down in history as the mayor who closed 50 public schools in a single day, most enrolling children of color. This action is without precedent in U.S. history.

“With 95.7% of precincts reporting, Emanuel had 45.3% of the vote and Garcia had 33.9%.

“Emanuel, who raised more than his four rivals combined, buried his challengers in $7 million in campaign advertising in his unsuccessful attempt to avoid the runoff.

“He even turned to President Obama, who Emanuel served as White House chief of staff from 2009 to 2010, as his chief surrogate….

U.S. astronauts take spacewalk outside ISSWatch now
Rahm Emanuel faces runoff in re-election bid

William Spain and Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY
8 hours ago
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Scott Olson, Getty Images
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks to the press after leaving a restaurant where more
CHICAGO — Rahm Emanuel was dealt a tough political blow on Tuesday, after he was forced into a runoff election to hold onto his seat as mayor of the Windy City.

Emanuel, who raised about $15 million for the campaign, finished first in the five candidate field, but fell far short of garnering the 50% plus one vote he needed to win outright and avoid a runoff election. He will now face the second place finisher, Cook County Commissioner, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, on April 7.
With 95.7% of precincts reporting, Emanuel had 45.3% of the vote and Garcia had 33.9%.
“We came a long way, and we have a little bit further to go,” Emanuel said.
Chicago ceased holding partisan primaries in 1995, when it switched to the current election format. It marks the first time that the city will hold a runoff mayoral election.
Emanuel, who raised more than his four rivals combined, buried his challengers in $7 million in campaign advertising in his unsuccessful attempt to avoid the runoff.
He even turned to President Obama, who Emanuel served as White House chief of staff from 2009 to 2010, as his chief surrogate….

“Emanuel’s latest television advertisement featured a clip of Obama wrapping Emanuel in a hug at the Pullman event and a sound bite of the president touting the mayor as “making sure that every Chicagoan in every neighborhood gets the fair shot at success that they deserve.”

“But the president’s influence wasn’t able to help Emanuel close the deal.
“We need to upgrade our communities by building more and better schools,” said Tracy McGrady, a college student and part-time construction worker. “Instead, Rahm is closing them.”

“In Chicago’s Bronzville neighborhood, a predominantly African-American neighborhood, Emanuel supporters appeared to be a rare breed.”

This statement was released on Mike Klonsky’s Blog.

Chicago Area Researchers Slam Rahm’s Failed Ed Policies

From Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education (CReATE)

February 20, 2015

Isabel Nunez, CReATE Coordinator, (312) 421-7819
Mike Klonsky, (312) 420-1335
Brian Schultz, (773) 442-5327
David Stovall, (312) 413-5014


On the eve of the Chicago mayoral election, Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education (CReATE), a network of 150 education researchers from universities in the Chicago area, is releasing Chicago School Reform: Myths, Realities, and New Visions (2015).

In response to Mayor Emanuel’s claims of major success for his education policy initiatives, CReATE calls into question major parts of Chicago school reform under Mayor Emanuel’s leadership. CReATE reviews how reforms of the past four years and earlier have impacted Chicago children, families and school communities.

In response to recent policy initiatives, CReATE proposes a series of research supported alternatives to mayoral appointed school boards, school closings, the ever-expanding chartering and privatizing of public schools, as well as the curriculum and teacher evaluation designs and increased high stakes testing being imposed by Common Core State Standards and the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top policies.

The position statement also includes contact information for university-based education researchers who can provide more detailed commentary on specific areas of education policy.

CReATE’s Statement on Chicago School Reform: Myths, Realities, and New Visions is available online at

Michael Klonsky here gives us an update on the Chicago mayoral election, which is a week away.


Will Rahm get away with his unprecedented closure of 50 public schools to make way for privately managed charter schools?


Klonsky quotes an astute observation by Stephanie Simon of


If Rahm can get re-elected after fighting the teachers’ union, after closing 50 schools in mostly black communities, by expanding privately managed charter schools, by attacking tenure, and tying teachers’ evaluations to test scores, it will embolden other Democratic mayors to act like Republicans. (Last point was mine, not hers!)

Rick Perlstein reports that Chicago is the national leader in privatization of public property and services. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has become the master of privatization, building on his predecessor’s legacy.

This is an eye-popping article. It begins like this:

“In June of 2013, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a new appointment to the city’s seven-member school board to replace billionaire heiress Penny Pritzker, who’d decamped to run President Barack Obama’s Department of Commerce. The appointee, Deborah H. Quazzo, is a founder of an investment firm called GSV Advisors, a business whose goal—her cofounder has been paraphrased by Reuters as saying—is to drum up venture capital for “an education revolution in which public schools outsource to private vendors such critical tasks as teaching math, educating disabled students, even writing report cards.”

“GSV Advisors has a sister firm, GSV Capital, that holds ownership stakes in education technology companies like “Knewton,” which sells software that replaces the functions of flesh-and-blood teachers. Since joining the school board, Quazzo has invested her own money in companies that sell curricular materials to public schools in 11 states on a subscription basis.

“In other words, a key decision-maker for Chicago’s public schools makes money when school boards decide to sell off the functions of public schools.

“She’s not alone. For over a decade now, Chicago has been the epicenter of the fashionable trend of “privatization”—the transfer of the ownership or operation of resources that belong to all of us, like schools, roads and government services, to companies that use them to turn a profit. Chicago’s privatization mania began during Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration, which ran from 1989 to 2011. Under his successor, Rahm Emanuel, the trend has continued apace. For Rahm’s investment banker buddies, the trend has been a boon. For citizens? Not so much.”

Knewton, as you may recall, is a leader in data mining, collecting information about children and using it to develop and market products.

Karen Lewis Speech to City Club Today

CTU President Karen Lewis releases new blueprint for
Chicago and the ‘soul’ of public education

CHICAGO – Before a sold-out audience of City Club of Chicago, today Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis unveiled a new plan to level the playing field for thousands of students and their families as the city inches closer to the municipal election. “A Just Chicago: Fighting for the City Our Students Deserve,” serves as a challenge to the status quo—Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, and others—to do what is morally just and protect the interest of working families, while fostering policies that eradicate poverty, inequality and racial injustice in our city and state.

The full “Just Chicago,” report can be found on the union’s website at The text of her City Club speech follows:

I cannot tell you how happy I am to be here with you today. It is always a pleasure to be among my good friends at the City Club of Chicago. I can also tell you it’s better to be seen than viewed.

And, for the last few weeks I’ve been sharing an old Jewish joke that I came across: It says…If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.

I had a plan—or so I thought. I was planning on running for mayor; and in doing so I intended to lift the voices of the marginalized people in this city who remain ignored and overlooked by the current administration. That means I was planning on beating the incumbent to help restore justice, equity and democracy on the 5th Floor of City Hall. That also meant that if my mayoral motorcade was blowing through red lights, I was planning on digging deep into my purse to pay those fines.

Do I regret not being able to implement my plan? Regret is too strong a word. I have no regrets.

At least I made God laugh.

If anything, this experience has made me even more compassionate toward those who have greater challenges before them. Having a greater capacity for compassion will make me into a stronger leader, not just in my union, but also in my community and in my nation. While there were no bright lights and no visions of my 61 years flashing before my eyes, my health scare has done much to increase my focus. I have a renewed outlook.

I can also tell you that when the doctors presented us with the diagnosis, I didn’t worry about what would happen to me. I was more concerned about my husband, John, and what would happen to the tens of thousands of people across this city who are crying for new political leadership; the people who were building a movement for a more just Chicago; the same people who were counting on me to take on the mayor.

I’ve gotta say this. Can I say this? It was a little odd watching the news and seeing reporters speaking of me in past tense. I kept pinching myself—thinking, “I’m still here right? Is there something someone wants to tell me—because if this is the afterlife, it looks awfully like my dining room.”

So for me, this was just another challenge. Another fight even if this time it is very personal. And, you know I’ve been underestimated before. So even though I couldn’t run for mayor I knew it was not the end of the world—it was an unfortunate moment in our movement. All we had to do now was switch lanes.

That is why I asked Commissioner Garcia to mount a campaign for mayor. I knew Chuy would be able to fight for what our City deserves. For more than three decades he’s been in the forefront of strengthening neighborhoods. He is the leader with a keen understanding of the financial crisis looming in Chicago and yet he possesses the moral courage to make the really tough choice of not throwing poor people and working families under a CTA bus.

We just switched lanes. This is sort of a relay race—and I simply passed the baton to the better runner ahead of me.

That is also why I’m backing several people for City Council including members of the Progressive Caucus. I am also supporting everyday people who have the courage to stand up for what they believe, like David Moore in the 17th Ward; and teachers, clinicians and members of the Chicago Teachers Union like Tara Stamps in 37, Sue Sadlowski Garza in 10 and Tim Meegan in 33. People are tired of status quo aldermanic cheerleaders who are beholden to the mayor and his crazy “hedge fund homies.”

They are tired of being represented by people who agree with privatizing public assets; those stealing our pensions while they protect their own; those City Council members who think it’s okay to vilify hard working teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians. People are tired of City Council members who are complicit by their silence as the mayor’s hand-picked board closed 50 schools; complicit in their silence as the city engages in charter madness. People are tired of elected officials who think it okay to lie to the President of the United States about the length of our school day because they are desperate to win. I think it is a shame when the President goes on the radio to repeat a lie that Jonah Edelman already admitted (at the Aspen Institute) that this was something he made up and the mayor just took it and ran with it.

The longer school day myth is just as bad as the “STEM” myth being propagandized across the country. I’d like to know where are all of these vacancies that are going unfilled—when Microsoft lays off 18,000 workers, and high-tech companies continue to outsource to other countries. STEM is just another tactic of the ruling class to decrease wages in this protracted war on the middle-class.

You know, as I think of it: It is patently unfair that these people get to clamor for the heads of teachers —as they call for accountability by looking at high-stakes test scores—yet we can only hold these people accountable every four years. And who holds the venture capitalists responsible? Who has been held responsible for the foreclosure crisis that saw the greatest reduction of wealth among the middle class in our nation’s history? Who has been held accountable for the rampant pension thefts? For the destruction of American jobs? For the unjust murders of unarmed Black men?

Their education policies have been disastrous from New York to L.A. Their private-public partnership means PRIVATE: employees will be overworked and underpaid and living in constant fear of losing their jobs; and, PUBLIC: no jobs, attacks on pensions, benefits and health care. (I got a bill for $78,000. I have reasonable health care; what happens to the families who are one illness away from catastrophic disaster and financial ruin.) Something is wrong in our nation when the top 1 percent continue to siphon every resource available from the 99 percent trapped on the bottom rung. And sending kids to charter schools is not going to change that.

I guess this private-public crowd is happy now that one of their buddies was able to purchase a tenth house—the governor’s mansion in Springfield. Bruce Rauner ran on a platform about nothing. Yet, in the days of his taking the oath of office, the real Rauner is starting to emerge. He’s wasted no time attacking the wages of working-class people; attacking their labor unions; and threatening massive cuts to social service programs which help the most vulnerable people in our state. That is the real Bruce Rauner. He is not some easy-going-blue-jeans and $20-dollar-watch-wearing good guy who’s coming in to save the day.

He is Scott Walker on steroids. He is a person who has made it a mission to vilify the Chicago Teachers Union for no other reason than our opposition to the vicious attacks on our character, classrooms and students. We won’t apologize for standing up for what is right for our children. We will not ever be silent in the face of austerity.

This is a governor who has admitted that he is only interested in “the Strivers.” This means the Real Rauner thinks that only certain people are worthy of a high quality education. He does not believe that every child should have one—only those he deems “the Strivers.” This type of thinking will only further class divisions and increase conflicts.

The Real Rauner is also busy trying to make the term “collective bargaining” into dirty words.

If there is any silver lining, it is in the fact that no governor can rule by fiat. He’s going to have to learn to work with the General Assembly. He’s going to have to learn to listen to everyday citizens, that he spent nearly $30 million of his own money to represent. He’s going to have to learn to work with organized labor.

The Chicago Teachers Union is currently negotiating its new bargaining agreement. We’re in the early stages right now. We don’t know if the mayor’s handpicked Board of Education will make the same mistakes it made three years ago that sent 30,000 educators to the picket line. If they do, I assure you, we will be prepared. Ultimately, it is up to them. We met their threshold before—and we can meet it again.

There’s some guy in the Illinois General Assembly who got the bright idea to try to pass the same kind of threshold legislation, SB7 type of thing for districts throughout the rest of the state. Someone call him up and tell him not to do this. Tell him not to poke the bear. He shouldn’t do that to people who can read and do math.

Make no mistake about it—teachers and other school employees are demoralized because there are climates of fear in our schools. While we were able to win considerable gains in the last contract, other problems are crippling our district. Principals, covered by autonomy, are able to segregate their faculties. Lane Tech, where I taught chemistry, and my husband taught for 28 years, has not a single Black male teacher. Only one person on the staff is over the age of 40. Principals are enticed with a form of merit pay. This competition for coins leads them to create conditions in their buildings that are adverse to collaboration. Some principals are so far gone that they believe teachers should stand on their feet all day—no desk. No “random acts of teaching.”

They want “Stepford Teachers” and “Children of the Corn”—kids who are compliant and will not challenge authority or the system on eradicating inequality, poverty and injustice.

The district is focused on testing, testing, testing. We are boring children to death.

Testing does nothing but show you the educational attainment of the child’s mother. We don’t even get to see the test results. Why? What is the point of all of this testing? These tests are what they are using to ruin people’s lives–adults and children; and then they run around saying, “I’m for the kids.” We have been talking about a crisis in education since I was a baby. We continue to brand public education as a failure. Why are we telling these lies?

In the coming days we will present our contract demands and what type of investment the Board will make to ensure every child has a world-class education. If you want well-resourced schools, educators with tenure and job security it is going to cost money. We shouldn’t shy away from this. Great working conditions for educators are also great learning conditions for our students.

Our new contract will reflect our values as educators. The election is about the same values. We stand in solidarity with every parent in calling for more resources; with every LSC leader who champions the cause of true education; with every activist working to strengthen their communities, despite rampant disinvestment and political meddling. The movement we have started in Chicago will intensify and expand. That is why today we are releasing our blueprint —“A Just Chicago: Fighting for the City our Students Deserve.”

In the area of employment, a just Chicago would:

eliminate employment discrimination, guarantee jobs that pay a living wage, and provide health insurance for families of Chicago’s students
offer racially and economically integrated schools with vibrant curricula for all students
In the area of justice, a just Chicago would:

end discrimination in arrests and sentencing and provide alternatives to imprisonment for non-violent offenders
treat first-time, non-violent drug offenders instead of jailing them
provide troubled students with additional counselors, social support services, and programs that implement restorative justice practices in the schools
make available mentoring programs, summer jobs, and school based mental health clinics to help address the impact of neighborhood violence
have a democratically elected, representative civilian police review board
In the area of housing, a just Chicago would:

address the affordable housing and crisis of Students in Temporary Living Situations
greatly increase the numbers of affordable and homeless housing units built across the city, including in wealthier and highly resourced neighborhoods
create affordable rental housing, regularly inspected for building code violations, with decreased numbers of evictions
In the area of health, a just Chicago would:

provide trauma centers, urgent care clinics, mental health clinics and other needed health care centers in all neighborhoods, particularly those currently lacking health services
rebuild the diminished lead poisoning prevention programs, increase the number of school-based health clinics and increase the staffing levels of nurses, social workers, and other school clinicians
In the area of education, a just Chicago would:

insist on equitable funding policies, including taxes on financial transactions and reduced dependence on property taxes
provide full day, developmentally appropriate pre-kindergarten to all who wanted it, but not use pre-K to enrich financial companies with public money
guarantee full funding for every school, and
have an democratically elected, representative school board.
This is what we want on February 24. This is what we want in our contract.

Thank you again. And, a special thanks to my husband John, who has been my rock through this ordeal, to CTU officers Jesse, Michael and Kristine for their friendship and leadership during this transition period; and Audrey, my executive assistant, CTU’s communications director Stephanie Gadlin and all of the exceptional staff at the Chicago Teachers Union for their hard work, dedication, leadership and support.

Thank you.

Mike Klonsky documents the disastrous history of school reform in Chicago. It started when Secretary of Education Bill Bennett came to town and said Chicago’s schools were the worst in the nation. One reform followed another: Paul Vallas, Arne Duncan, Rahm Emanuel….and a legacy of failure.

Rahm closed more public schools than any public official in history (not counting Hurricane Katrina). he loves to turn neighborhood high schools into selective-admission schools. This promotes gentrification and disperses the neighborhood kids. His current plan is to do this to Hancock High School:

“It’s Rahm’s fascination with selective-enrollment schools as a driver of neighborhood gentrification. In this case it’s his plan to turn around Hancock High School on Southwest Side, which now is home to mostly poor Hispanic students, by getting rid of all the teachers and students and calling it a selective-enrollment school. The school will no longer guarantee any of its seats to neighborhood children, about 95% of whom are Hispanic and 97% low-income, according to CPS.”

Yes, this will “turnaround” Hancock by getting rid of the students.

Mike Klonsky reports on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s latest faux pas. Rahm is opening another selective enrollment high school –in upscale Lincoln Park–while leaving less fortunate neighborhoods without a public high school. He decided to name the $60 million high school for President Obama, but the President’s team didn’t like that idea.

“Rahm’s dream of a two-tiered public school system — one tier for gentrifying neighborhoods and one for the rest of us — is turning into a political nightmare.

“The mayor has once again gotten himself into deep doo-doo with Obama’s people over the naming of another proposed expensive, new selective-enrollment high school for Lincoln Park. As I pointed out last week, Rahm thought that naming the school after the president would help mend his election campaign fences, both with Obama’s people who dislike him and with black voters still irate over his notorious mass school closings.

“But the response from White House staffers was quick and to the point. Valerie Jarrett reportedly told Rahm in no uncertain terms — don’t drag Obama’s name into your mess. He’s got enough problems of his own. And just like that, Rahm walked it back.”

Paul Horton is a history instructor in the University High School at the University of Chicago Lab Schools. This post explains the Obama administration’s love for charters and its disdain for public schools.

Martin Nesbitt is the President’s best friend, and close associate of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, who provided much of the start-up capital for Parking Spot, a very successful off airport parking company that Mr. Nesbitt directed for several years before Ms. Pritzker sold the company. Nesbitt and Pritzker also are invested in the Noble Charter Schools chain in Chicago. In the last year, Mr. Nesbitt has created an investment firm called the Vistria Group that seeks, in part, to bundle capital for Charter School investment.

Mr. Nesbitt grew up in Columbus, Ohio and credits the discipline he acquired at the private Columbus Academy for helping him deal with the violence, drug use, and the social dislocation that surrounded him growing up in a tough neighborhood. He sees the Noble Charter Schools as a vehicle to instill discipline in inner city youth. Like the President, he grew up, for the most part without a present father. They both see themselves as self made men and view charter schools as a potential path to success for inner city youth. (

Mr. Nesbitt and the President are basketball addicts. They play as much as they can and talk basketball incessantly. They, of course share this addiction with Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education and Craig Robinson, former Oregon State coach and Michelle Obama’s brother. Mr. Nesbitt sponsors and participates in three on three basketball tournaments all over the country.

During his first campaign, the President narrowed his friendship group, forcing long time friends Bill Ayers and Rashid Khalidi out of their social circles in response to attacks from the right concerning Mr. Ayers’s political past and from AIPAC on Professor Khalidi’s advocacy for Palestine and criticism of American Middle East Policy.

In Chicago, Mr. Nesbitt was the President of the Chicago Housing Authority in the late 90s where he worked with Rahm Emanuel and other power brokers to create public-private partnerships that created housing on Chicago’s south and west sides to replace the drug and crime ridden behemoth projects, the Robert Taylor Homes (see Gang Leader for a Day) and Cabrini Green.

The Commercial Club of Chicago worked with CHA to re envision the development of mid south and near west sides. A subcommittee created the “Renaissance 2010″ plan that sought to create mixed income housing in these area that was open to former project residents who worked thirty hours a week. “The Renaissance 2010″ plan resulted in heavy real estate investment in these areas and the creation of charter schools were seen as essential to attracting young urban professionals into these areas.

So the connection between real estate developers who speculate on land and building investment and the push for charter schools is very strong. Chicago real estate moguls lead by Bruce Rauner, the Republican nominee for Illinois governor, and the Crown family drive much of the Chicago push to close public schools to expand the charter sector. Indeed, the Commercial Club of Chicago, known as “the billionaires club” on the streets of Chicago, drives the Education policy of the mayor and funds, through connections with the Joyce Foundation (the Director of the Joyce Foundation sits on board of the Commercial Club) funds education “research” (non peer-reviewed) that is printed on the editorial pages of the Chicago Tribune to legitimate public school closings.

This pattern of connection between real estate developers, the creation of and public-private partnerships to build low density mixed income housing in impoverished neighborhoods, and the drive to close public schools and open charter schools has been chronicled in powerful detail by Education theorist and sociologist Pauline Lipman. I have addressed these issues in more detail in an Education Week piece, “Why Obama’s Education Policies will not Change and why ‘Change is Hard.'”

Mr. Nesbitt and Mayor Emanuel are the leading political actors who have orchestrated and executed public policy for the interests of the Commercial Club. Their chief supporters need the value of the land that they bought in gentrifying neighborhoods to increase. They see charter schools as a key magnet to attract middle class professionals back into neighborhoods within a three to four mile radius of downtown on the south and west sides.

The process appears to be working for developers on the near west side with the construction of a massive shopping mall, the sales of condos that were intended to be mixed income to middle and upper middle class white and black professionals, and the plans to build a new selective enrollment “Barack Obama High” smack dab in the middle of the former Cabrini Green.

The gentrification scheme of developers, however, is clearly not working in Bronzeville, on the near south side. According to a recent Harvard study that received some attention on NPR, real estate values in the mId south and Bronzeville areas on the south side is slowed by perceptions of violence. According to this study, white urban professionals are more likely to move into Latino areas like Humbolt Park and Pilsen.

To date, Mr. Nesbitt’s friends are scared to death about their investments in Chicago’s mid south and Bronzeville areas, explaining why this area has been targeted for several rounds of public school closings and charter school openings.

The take away from this piece is that many of the people who provided the funds to transform Mr. Obama into a viable national candidate after he passed the litmus test of Iowa are associated with the Commercial Club of Chicago were heavily invested in real estate speculation and building charter schools as a way to increase the value of property purchased by investors. All of this is couched in the language of making Chicago a global city and creating school choice for parents.

At the national level, Democrats for Education Reform stepped into the discussion over schools in exchange for raising money for Democratic campaigns that was needed to counteract the impact of the Citizens United decision.

The reason why those closest to the President are strong supporters of RTTT and charters is because they are connected to south and west side real estate investment in Chicago and bad press for public schools in the form of low test scores will create the pretext and legitimation for more investment and funding of charter schools that will lead to rising condo sales, condo values, and land values. Once values rise and more middle class professionals move into these areas, commercial shopping and retail investment will do its work to increase the value of real estate.

That the President’s best buddy, should attempt to capitalize on on charter school investment after playing a role in the shaping of the President’s education policy, is either the hallmark of a “free enterprise system” or more grease to the wheels of yet another episode of crony capitalism excreted by the proximity to power of buddies helping each other out.

I taught Mr. Nesbitt’s two oldest children and I have communicated my disappointments about the Obama administrations education policies to him.

I told Mr. Nesbitt several times that the Democratic party would pay a price for creating education policies that did not serve the interests of the majority of parents, students, teachers, and administrators.

He told me that “teachers do not deserve the amount of money that they make,” “that their salaries should be reduced,” and that they deserve no respect for sacrificing other career paths to answer the calling of teaching.

He seemed more concerned about reducing teacher’s salaries to create a profit margin for investors than about the impact the disruptive policies of school closings would have on human communities.

I recently sent him a note that explained to him that the majority of 3.7 million teachers in this country are very upset with policies that denigrate teachers, students, parents and communities for political gain.

For an administration that pretends to care about the disappearance of the middle class and rising income inequality, its lack of support for teachers and public schools is astounding. We have heard nothing from this administration when democratic state representatives all over the country threaten to steal pensions that were not adequately funded due to political incompetence and a willingness to pay political cronies rather than pension funds.

We now see an attack on due process for teachers gaining political support from both parties and the billionaires who will benefit from the destruction of public unions. The attack on due process rights for teacher unions will set precedents for attacks on due process rights for other unions.

Scarcely 12% of Americans belong to unions and real wages in the United States have declined as union membership has declined.

The curtain has been pulled back, and most Americans can see now who are pulling the levers. The Democratic Party no longer supports the working people of this country. it serves the commercial clubs in every major American city, Wall Street bundlers, and plutocrats all over the world.

Mr. Nesbitt, the 3.7 million teachers in this country will not be fooled by staged meetings between a few teachers in the White House, listening to a few BadAss Teachers at the DoEd, or calling for a congress of teachers. WE know that this is political posturing in advance of November elections.

Your administration has disrespected us, our communities, and our families. How stupid do you think we are? Your policies are an attack on our self-respect.

Unless you instruct Senators Harkins and Durbin to defund NLRB and RTTT, fire Arne Duncan, and begin pursuing a new path, very few of us will support you in November.

We know that your billionaire friends will profit from their investments only if you pursue policies that create more charter schools. We know that you and your friends are betting on Pearson and Microsoft stock.

Your blatant disrespect for students, teachers, parents, and school communities will cost you the upcoming election.

You are blinded by greed and ignorance.

The Chicago Tribune’s poll of voters‘ views of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s school policies showed very low approval for the Mayor. The mayoral election is in February 2015, and it appears that education is Rahm’s weak spot. He favors charter schools and shut down nearly 50 public schools in one fell swoop, an act unprecedented in American history. He has fought bitterly with the Chicago Teachers Union over school funding. It is not working well for him politically, the poll shows.

“Asked about Emanuel’s handling of public schools, 65 percent disapproved, 26 percent approved and 10 percent had no opinion. The latest findings show a shift of 5 percentage points toward disapproval from a Tribune poll in May 2013 — just before a vote by the school board to shut nearly 50 public schools.

“While dissatisfaction with the mayor on education crossed racial lines, it was more intense among African-American voters. Critics contend black neighborhoods were disproportionately targeted for school closings. Fully 77 percent of black voters disapproved of Emanuel’s handling of the city’s schools while only 14 percent approved.”

“Among parents of children in Chicago Public Schools — about one-fifth of those taking part in the survey — nearly 4 out of 5 disapproved of the mayor’s handling of public education while only 19 percent approved. But even those without children in the public schools disapproved at a 62 percent rate, while only 27 percent approved.

“Emanuel’s approach on charters versus neighborhood schools was roundly criticized by voters: 72 percent disagreed with that approach, compared with 18 percent who agreed. African-American voters most severely opposed the policy — at 83 percent — while only 10 percent agreed with Emanuel. Nearly 8 in 10 parents of CPS children also were opposed, as well as 75 percent of female voters, 69 percent of men and 63 percent of whites.”

“Little more than 15 months ago, more than one-third of Chicago voters did not choose a side between Emanuel and the union. The latest poll finds that the bulk of those voters have opted to side with the union: 62 percent, up from 41 percent in May 2013. A total of 23 percent sided with Emanuel, up from 19 percent more than a year ago. Only 7 percent opted to choose neither the union nor the mayor in the new poll.”

The Tribune has been a vocal critic of the CTU. Friday afternoon is traditionally the time to release stories to get minimum attention.

The conclusion to be drawn from this poll is that Rahm is in big trouble because of his hostility to public schools and his devotion to privatization.


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