Rahm Emanuel continues attack on Chicago Teachers Union with publicity stunt on first day of school at the expensive new 'STEM' elementary magnet school

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel continued his attack on collective bargaining for Chicago school workers and on the Chicago Teachers Union by taking part in what amounted to a publicity stunt at the newly-organized STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) magnet elementary school on Chicago's west side on the opening day of school, September 6, 2011. Ignoring nearly 600 Chicago public schools, many of which have been in existence for more than a century and dozens of which have created successful math, science, and technology programs, Emanuel went to one of three public schools which his administration have hyped for voting on a waiver of the current Chicago Teachers Union contract.

Flanked by Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard (left in pink tie) and Alderman Bob Fioretti (right, in gold tie), Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke on the first day of school at the STEM elementary magnet school on Chicago's west side. Although Emanuel praised the school for its innovative programs, he missed the fact that Chicago's public schools have had math, science, and technology programs for generations. Emanuel's reason for opening the school year at STEM was that the school's teachers had supposedly bucked the leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union by voting for a contract waiver, although a Substance check indicates that the school did not have a CTU delegate at the time City Hall began hyping the vote and the vote, which Emanuel chacterized as "courageous", may have been illegal. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The STEM school, on the site of what was Thomas Jefferson Elementary School at 1500 W. Fillmore in Chicago, will be serving children from kindergarten through third grade this year.

Emanuel told a crowd of parents, press, and children that STEM was the first school of its kind in Chicago, ignoring the fact that Chicago has had dozens of schools that do a major job in science, math and technology for generations.

Emanuel once again praised the school's teachers for voting to put in a longer school day, despite controversy about whether the STEM vote was legal at the time it was allegedly taken.

Despite the care with which the new mayor's media team devotes to Emanuel's carefully scripted publicity events, the general reality of an opening day of school quickly undermined the best laid plans of spin and clout. The 200 or so children lined up in the school's gymnasium for their part in the media event were nervous, and most of them hadn't been trained for such duty. As they were lining up with their new backpacks, they were all given balloons (a different color for each grade) that they were supposed to hold until they got outside, so they could release them when the mayor announced the opening of the schools.

Despite the hoopla, STEM, the newest elementary school in Chicago, didn't even have its own sign as the school year opened and Chicago's mayor used the school as a media backdrop to try and undermine the 30,000-member Chicago Teachers Union. On September 6, 2011, STEM was still "Thomas Jefferson Elementary School" as the Board of Education, which claimed it had no money, continued to rush through expensive innovations on the building, which will now house a Science Technology Engineering and Math magnet elementary school. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Within a few minutes, many of the balloons were escaping inside the building. A few minutes later, the balloons did get sent skyward while Chicago's mayor and his entourage looks on with smiles.


September 10, 2011 at 1:18 AM

By: John Kugler

Brizard tried same divide and conquer script in Rochester

this guy is costing more money to the taxpayers of Chicago than any of his crony predecessors.

40% Raise



crony networks

AUSL giveaways

Magical appearing budgets when BoE is broke?

Here is nice comment form another site

TankMan1 at 5:44 PM September 07, 2011

Brizard tried the same "divide and conquer, union busting" routine in Rochester by setting up secret committees of selected teachers to agree to his agenda behind the backs of other teachers. He was then going to publicize: "Rochester teachers agree to Brizard's curriculuim" without the input of the majority of teachers. The majority of teachers were livid and the union stepped in; Brizard had egg on his face for being deceptive.

He also tried to set up meetings with select teachers at individual schools to offer incentives (only to them), if they were to adopt his proposals; again the union pointed out his deceptive nature, which eventually resulted in him being run out of town........straight to Chicago.

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