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RAHMWATCH: Mayor does publicity stunt about children's eyeglasses.... 'Mayors vision program has distributed 50,000 pairs of glasses since launch...'

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel orchestrated another publicity stunt this week, this time taking credit for the CPS eyeglasses programs that were long ago pioneered by the Chicago Teachers Union. This particular version of reality has been going on since former CPS "Chief Executive Officer" Paul G. Vallas claimed that he had created an eyeglasses program for CPS children, without ever acknowledging that long ago the Chicago Teachers Union has pioneered such an activity.

The "Mayor's Press Office" issued the photograph above from Haines Elementary School, paid for by the City of Chicago.The Rahm Emanuel press release is as follows:

MAYOR EMANUEL VISITS STUDENTS RECEIVING FREE EYE GLASSES AT JOHN CHARLES HAINES ELEMENTARY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, June 4, 2015, CONTACT: Mayors Press Office, 312.744.3334

press@cityofchicago.org

Mayors vision program has distributed 50,000 pairs of glasses since launch

Mayor Rahm Emanuel visited John Charles Haines Elementary School today to meet with students receiving eye glasses following their eye examinations administered through the City of Chicagos school-based vision program. Since its inception in 2013, the Mayors vision program has provided 82,464 students with eye exams. This week the program gave out its 50,000th pair of glasses to students in need of vision correction. In 2013, Mayor Emanuel set a goal for the vision program to administer 100,000 eye exams in three years. CDPH is on track to exceed the Mayors goal by December 2015. They project providing an additional 22,000 exams through the end of the calendar year.

Whether it is seeing the blackboard or the computer screen, most of a childs learning is visual. It forms the foundation for their success in school and in life, said Mayor Emanuel. By giving children clearer vision in school, we are giving them a clearer vision of their own future.

The vision program is available to every CPS elementary and high school and provides students in need with access to eye exams and glasses at no cost to the student or students parents. Mayor Emanuel has committed $4.8 million to the Vision Program for 2013 2015, prior to this Chicago Public Schools could only provide eye exams to about 8,000 students annually. The Mayor prioritized this funding following fiscal year 2012 screenings in which only 11 percent of the 30,000 kindergarteners required by state law to obtain vision exams reported having done so to their school, with parents citing challenges to find a doctor in their neighborhood as well as a lack of resources to pay for the necessary exam.

We know having a good education is key to growing into a healthy adult, said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, MD. Being able to see your teacher and read the board is essential to getting a good education. This program provides the tools for our students to succeed today and in the future.

Starting in 2015, eye glasses are ordered through Classical Optical using the Medicaid standards. If a student needs glasses, immediately following the exam they can make a selection from a minimum of 36 different frame styles and colors. Through a deal brokered with CDPH, Classic Optical charges the department a minimal $5 per pair of eyeglasses, and the children receive their glasses within three weeks of the exam date. The vision program works with parents to provide written and oral eye care information and education, making referrals if a specialty optometrist consultation is necessary.

CDPH is committed to increasing access to health services for students through working in partnership with the Chicago Public Schools. Prior to the Mayors initiative, many students were referred to an optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam, but most did not follow-through due to lack of information, limited access or limited resources. With the City of Chicagos sponsorship behind the school based vision program, thousands of students now receive comprehensive eye exams and glasses in their schools.

Photo Credit: Brooke Collins // City of Chicago

Photo Caption: Mayor Emanuel visits with students receiving free eye glasses at Haines Elementary.

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