Rahm tells bankers parents are the problem with CPS... 'The real problem is not just the education of our children,' he said, 'We have parents that can’t be parents....'

On the day his appointed "Chief Executive Officer" decided to try and explain why she had successfully ordered her principals to remove a world famous book from the libraries and classrooms of the third largest school system in the USA, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was in New York City at a meeting of bankers on the 50th floor of the Park Ave. building which houses JP Morgan Chase (which, as we reported earlier, had just been blasted by the U.S. Senate for lying about $6.2 million in losses by the bank's London office...).

Rahm Emanuel on the panel. Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared at a New York housing panel with Jacksonville, Fla. Mayor Alvin Brown (far r.) and San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee (inner r.). (DNAinfo/Jill Colvin)
Without noting that Chicago's mayor spends ten times as much of his time meeting with corporate executives, Chicago's "Mayor's Press Office" on March 15 sent out a press memo stating that Rahm would be in New York at JP Morgan Chase. Rahm was apparently on a panel discussion about housing and schools, and said some things that were reported despite the fact that the access of mainstream (even corporate) reporters to the event was limited.

According to the Chicago news site DNAinfo, Rahm told the bankers that a problem with Chicago's public schools was that parents don't know how to do their jobs.


Rahm on Education Woes: 'We Have Parents That Can't Be Parents' Updated 28 mins ago. March 15, 2013 3:43pm. By Jill Colvin and Alex Parker

NEW YORK – Chicago’s efforts to improve education opportunities for young children is going to take more than a multimillion dollar investment in universal kindergarten and corporate partnerships, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Friday.

It’s going to take better parents.

Appearing at a housing panel in New York alongside mayors from San Francisco and Jacksonville, Fla., Emanuel touted Chicago’s new universal kindergarten program, a $15 million effort set to debut in the new school year.

“For God sakes, I ain’t waiting for the federal government to give me money, because it’s not gonna happen,” he said.

And one big barrier to children’s success in the classroom? Bad parents, the mayor said.

“The real problem is not just the education of our children,” he said. “We have parents that can’t be parents.

“We have too many kids, literally, from a broken home.”

The mayor said the city is making headway in connecting parents to their kids’ academic success, pointing to an initiative sponsored by Walgreens that rewards parents with $25 gift cards for picking up their child’s report card.

Another program uses 12 parent engagement centers at schools across the city. The program allows parents to learn digital skills while interacting with their children at home and at school.

“As I always say, the most important door a child walks through for their education is the front door of the home. If that home is not right, nothing else in the classroom can supplement it,” he said.

Emanuel wants to tie after-school program enrollment to parents picking up report cards.

“You know, you vote, you get a sticker. We’ll give you a sticker when you pick up your kids’ report card, and then you can enroll them in after school [programs],” he said.

Too many parents, he said, lack the skills to prepare their children for the real world.

“We have a lot of kids who aren’t ever going to, at home, get soft skills: showing up on time, dressing appropriately,” he said. “All that comes with the work experience.”

He said the city needs to invest in projects that will help children learn skills and values that will translate to jobs.

“[We] have too many kids in homes where none of that value structure, and the pieces that come with it, get there,” he said. “What is missing here is that parental piece in helping us.”

Jill Colvin is City Hall reporter for New York

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March 17, 2013 at 1:54 PM

By: Sharon Schmidt

poverty and parental responsibility

Interesting to see a few comments on Facebook about this piece. Some teachers are quick to say they agree with Rahm and one added, "I'm angry that he said something I agree with."

I know many parents of my students are lacking skills, but how about getting to the root of that problem: poverty.

March 17, 2013 at 2:09 PM

By: Kimberly Bowsky

poverty and parental responsibility

Yes. 75 years ago, the poor, European-American immigrant community had the same trouble. Some were dynamite parents, but still lacked the refinement and knowledge of the system, and some were impotent or uninterested. That's how humanity rolls. I do not wish to be foolhardy, but the mayor should keep quiet and go to class.

March 17, 2013 at 6:30 PM

By: George N. Schmidt

Luck and the privileges of class

For Rahm Emanuel to follow up on all his other arrogant dismissals of working people and the poor with this errant bit of "Let Them Eat Cake" -ism is actually an example of the kind of parvenue nonsense that comes from the kinds of guys who get wealthy through a combination of privilege and luck -- and then parade around as if it was all through their own hard work.


This is a guy who became a "banker" for three years between public service jobs and managed to "earn" $18 million through the sweat of his brow, etc., etc., etc.When asked how a guy who majored in communications and dance in college was qualified to be a Wall Street banker, he replied that he was a "relationship banker." He basically took the Roladex he developed hustling money for Richard Daley and Bill Clinton and cashed in.

But then he has the arrogance to act as if that we based on "talent."

There are many wealthy people who have learned to appreciate what they earned, and many more working people who worked a lifetime and barely earned enough for themselves and their children. Then there were the neo-Bourbons of the current era. Mendacious. Greedy. Arrogant.

March 17, 2013 at 7:39 PM

By: Kimberly Bowsky

When agreeing with the mayor

We ALL agree that parents should be involved with their children's school lives in a way that supports the children and works with the teachers. The mayor would be serving all of us better by promoting local school councils' power, issuing resources and monies to schools rather than closing the parents' community hubs, and creating venues for efficiency rather than confusion, moving beYOND the blame game. In any city, the chief executive takes the blame, because mayors execute the system.

March 18, 2013 at 4:29 AM

By: Sarah Loftus


Although parents are indeed a child’s first and most important teacher the school also plays a role, if allowed to.

In 1995 when Mayor Daley took over the Board of Education he appointed Paul Vallas as the first CEO. Vallas and his team changed the high school curriculum for all students to be in a college prep track. Consumer education, family life, parenting skills, business English, shop Math, Home Economics and many other life and practical skill classes were eliminated. Students learned how to budget, to interview for a job, to write a letter and a resume, to care for children and for themselves, to communicate in an adult world. Students taking these classes were also college bound. That was 17 years ago, two years after the BOE practically destroyed Vocational Education, literally demolishing the shops in most general high schools.

That was a generation ago.

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