First Lady Michelle Obama snubbed CPS alma maters to tout privatization and Rahm Emanuel's favorite 'Noble Network' charter schools during Chicago NATO visit

Although America's First Lady, Michelle Obama, benefited from a public school education during the 13 years she was a child and teenager in Chicago, she chose to tout Mayor Rahm Emanuel's favorite charter schools — the so-called "Noble Network of Charter Schools" — during her brief visit to her hometown during the NATO summit.

First Lady Michelle Obama chose to snub both of the public schools she had attended as a child during her visit to Chicago during the recent NATO summit and instead do a media event at one of the city's charter schools, the Gary Comer "campus" of the Noble Network of Charter Schools.Facts: Michelle Obama attended Bryn Mawr (now Bouchet) elementary school and Whitney Young Magnet High School during her years as a public school student in Chicago.

Bouchet, located at 7355 S. Jeffrey Ave. in Chicago, is less that two miles from the site of the "Comer Campus" of "Noble Network of Charter Schools" charter school where the first lady and others went on Sunday, May 20. Instead of her actual alma mater (and segregated community of origin), it was at the spiffy new Comer building — and not at Ms. Obama's elementary school — that America's first lady and assorted other spouses and partners of NATO leaders did a media event on May 21, 2012, attended by a retinue of reporters.

Not only did Ms. Obama spurn the real public school that gave her her start in life, but she also snubbed the high school that enabled her to get into Ivy League colleges and universities, ultimately propelling her into Harvard Law School and a legal career during which she met her future husband, Barack Obama (also a product of Harvard Law School).

After completing her elementary school years at the segregated Bryn Mawr Elementary School, Michelle Obama's talents brought her into the relatively new Whitney Young Magnet High School (located at 211 S. Laflin, a few blocks from where the Obamas were staying while in Chicago). Whitney Young, one of the best real public high schools in the USA, was created while Mihcelle Obama was a child to promote the desegregation that had long been demanded of Chicago. Teachers from Whitney Young confirmed that Ms. Obama did not visit Whitney Young Magnet High School during her NATO time in Chicago, and told Substance that some of the teachers and students were disappointed but not surprised that she didn't show up, again, at one of the top real public schools in the USA.

Since former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel became Chicago's mayor one year ago, Emanuel has been openly hostile to the city's real public schools, and openly promoting the city's privatization programs of charter school expansion. Despite the fact that Emanuel constantly talks about "accountability," Chicago's more than 100 charter schools (and "campuses") are as unregulated as the nation's largest banks. And the Emanuel administration, despite talk about charter school "transparency" and accountability in Chicago has resisted every effort to make the actual practices and spendings of Chicago's charter schools more transparent to the city's taxpayers. This year, Chicago's charter schools are getting more than $400 million from the $5 billion public schools budget.

Emanuel himself has personally taken every opportunity to promote the Noble Network of Charter Schools, which he has claimed are the only public high schools in Chicago to succeed while taking their students from a general population. Despite repeated revelations that the Noble Street charter schools in Chicago dump at least half their students back into the city's real public schools between 9th and 12th grades, Emanuel and Chicago's charter school promoters ignore the facts (and the burdens placed on the city's real public schools) and simply repeat the marketing talking points that have been utilized for years by the city's charters, particularly Noble Network.

Michelle Obama's May 20 visit to the Comer "campus" (one of a dozen) of the Noble Network came on a day when Whitney Young High School students, parents, and staff could easily have given a show for the first lady (and the first ladies of other NATO nations who accompanied her). Bryn Mawr teachers and former teachers would also have taken the time to greet the former Bryn Mawr student and talk about the challenges faced by the city's real public schools. But during her four days in Chicago, Michelle Obama not only ignored her own roots, but chose to promote a privatization program, also supported by the mayor, that is draining resources from the real public schools of her home town and her own South Side community. 


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