Emanuel Snubs Education Mayoral Forum

Rahm Emanuel, the big business candidate who has raised millions of dollars to be the next Chicago mayor, has declined an invitation to participate in the first Chicago Mayoral Forum on Education hosted by the Raise Your Hand Coalition, Northside Democracy for America and the Illinois Policy Institute scheduled for December 15th at Walter Payton High School.

Mayoral candidate Rahm Emmanuel (left above) spent the entire evening on November 16, 2010, at the corporate fundraiser for UNO. Tickets for the event were $450 per person, with sponsors paying up to $20,000 to sponsor the event, which was a fundraiser celebrating UNO's 25th anniversary. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.So far confirmed candidates include former Chicago Board of Education president Gery Chico, City Clerk Miguel Del Valle, former US senator Carol Mosley Braun and state senator rev. James Meeks, according to a press release from the Raise Your Hand Coalition. Candidate US Congressman Danny Davis is reviewing congressional commitments and has not yet confirmed his participation, the release stated.

The event will be moderated by Andy Shaw, executive director of the Better Government Association and former ABC political reporter.

The Raise Your Hand Coalition played a big role in the education funding debate in Chicago when it gathered hundreds of concerned parents, students and teachers to demand Mayor Daley return the TIF monies to the city's public schools which at one point were supposedly facing a billion dollar deficit, according to outgoing schools chief Ron Huberman.

The TIF debate eventually became an issue in the corporate papers Tribune and Sun Times after the Reader, the Chicago Teachers Union and other activists complained in recent years that Daley was setting up a slush fund unbeknownst to tax payers to finance his pet projects at the expense of the schools and parks.

Just recently the city released $90 million in TIF monies back to the schools.

Emanuel is setting up his army clearly on the side of big business and privatization to oppose the city's unionized teachers and community activism.

The former White House chief of staff and member of the Hose of Representatives recently attended the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) fundraiser this past week where tables were being purchased for up to $20,000. Emmanuel sat alongside mayor Daley and UNO director Juan Rangal and praised the network of charter schools for helping improve student achievement.

UNO, a network of eight charter schools in hispanic neighborhoods, received $100 million from a bankrupt state to expand. UNO is closely aligned to the city's political machine with corporate funding set up to destroy teachers unions and public education.

Rangal, who earns more money than the head of the Chicago public schools, cut his teachers' salaries by 2 percent this year, and has threatened quick termination for any teacher thinking about signing a union card, according to sources familiar with UNO.

Emanuel also refused to acknowledge the dramatic standoff between the parents of Whittier School in Pilsen and the Board of Ed when they demanded a halt to plans to demolish a field house where they house a library. The Whittier victory, which forced Huberman to agree to build a new libarary for the school, exposed the fact that over 160 public schools in the city have no library.

The powerhouse fundraiser has stated that he plans to make Chicago the center of President Obama's Race to the Top education reform legislation that is attacking teachers unions and public education by demanding teacher evaluations based solely on standardized test scores, more charter schools and less public schools.

Emanuel wrote an opinion piece in a city business publication that he visited several turnaround schools like Bethune and Johnson and charter high school Collins where he praised the efforts being made that have increased test scores. The turnaround schools fired the entire public school faculty and staff while the charter school replaced the neighborhood Collins public high school.

"I worked with Chicago's own Arne Duncan, U.S. education secretary, to establish a national Race to the Top program that rewards schools that improve performance with federal funds," Emanuel wrote. "Under President Barack Obama's leadership, this effort has sparked a quiet revolution in education reform around the country. I believe we should establish Chicago's Race to the Top. If we can raise private capital from our businesses and philanthropic community for the Olympics, we can do so for our children's future. Schools across the city would compete to achieve the most, measured by their ability to involve parents, train teachers and improve student performance."

Stanford University research has shown that charter schools do no better than public schools, while many keep out special education and English language learners in order to increase test scores.

Senator Meeks has called the Chicago Teachers Union the worst gang in the city and has sponsored the voucher bill to take more money away from public schools. Chico teamed up with former schools chief Paul Vallas (who is now advising education officials in Haiti) after Daley took mayoral control of the schools to privatize many services and fire Substance founder George Schmidt for exposing a flawed exam.

The two candidates in the upcoming forum more closely aligned with the Chicago Teachers Union would be Del Valle, who attended the CTU's LEAD dinner for politicians before the November election, and Davis, who joined two other federal legislators to criticize CPS for not making sure every teacher was hired back after he helped pass the federal teacher jobs bill so that all teachers would keep their jobs.

Almost 1,500 teachers were laid off this past summer due to the budget deficit. The Board of Ed told principals who had laid off staff that they highly recommend they rehire those teachers. While many were hired back, there are still about 500 teachers who still do not have a job.

The Chicago Teachers Union is also planning a mayoral candidate forum, but the date is still to be determined.

At the Dec. 15th forum the mayoral candidates will answer questions from the community about their views and plans for education and related issues, the press release stated. The candidates will also present opening and closing remarks and will be called upon the moderator to answer specific questions throughout the discussion.

The Chicago Mayoral Forum on Education will take place at Walter Payton High School at 1034 N. Wells on Dec. 15th at 6:30 pm. Tickets are free, but space is limited, according to Raise Your Hand. Those interested in attending can sign up at beginning Dec. 1. A live webcast is also scheduled for those who cannot attend.


November 21, 2010 at 5:19 PM

By: Anyone but

Anyone but Rham

The thought of Rahm Emmanuel as mayor of Chicago scares the cr#@ out of me. This city cannot afford an Emmanuel; the current mayor has nearly succeeded in pushing out those of us not making a six digit income and Emmanuel would just finish the job. We need to find someone, anyone, who believes in public education; who can get behind the idea that every school can and should be a great school. Someone who can address the real problem in education which is poverty. The privateers only exacerbate the disparity and exaggerate the problem. The US test scores, when poverty levels are factored for, are as good as the top nations on comparative international tests. What does that tell you? It's not bad teachers, bad schools, bad whatever.

It's poverty, stupid.

That's what I'd like to let Emannuel know (as if he doesn't already).

November 21, 2010 at 6:39 PM

By: bob


Rahm ,Rahm, the Peoples Man

We must all realize that Rahm Emmanuel is not named Daley nor has he walked the same

ground or had a lifetime to get ready for the job. Whoever wins the election will have some large

shoes to fill. I do not agree with the current Mayor on many issues but he has

the power ,and I do not, neither does Rahm.

I think Mr. Emmanuel is reading from an old script. He is assuming the role of frontrunner

By way of association with those presently in power, all of whom derived their clout

From Mr. Daley . Make no mistake about this, the current mayor will continue to rule for

years after he has left office. Are we so sure he wants a real competitor in the spot he

could have retained for life? Perhaps that is why Mr. Emmanuel is trying so hard to hold on to

the Mayors coat tails.

So far the rest of the pact are only guaranteeing a split vote and none of them

has emerged as a leading contender. It might just come down to who people like.

Mr. Daley is very popular and proved he was the best vote getter in Chicago. I

Am not so sure that is the case for Mr. Emmanuel

November 23, 2010 at 1:15 PM

By: displaced educator

education mayoral forum

Remember, we the people elected Rahm to Congress by the politicking of Chicago's many ward bosses. This time, do not answer the door when they ask you to support Rahm. He is thinking way to much like of Daley and Duncan. Get rid of public education and make everything a charter. How in the world can His Lord Mayor Daley continue to put down the Chicago Public Schools when he has been the commander in chief of that same entity? Perhaps in hindsight he knows he screwed up the lives of too many voters in Chicago.

December 11, 2010 at 7:04 PM

By: Reiman

Rahm Emanuel, the Corporate Supporter

If anyone ever wondered what the face of consummate evil would look like, they need go no farther than a picture of Rahm Emanuel. Not only does this person not have Chicago residency, I question if he is even really an American. He works for an intelligence agency and it is not of American origin. He is not to be trusted, on many, many, many levels.

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