Le’t work through a few things. Shortly after he became president, Barack Obama killed Washington, DC’s school voucher program. His own Department of Education had concluded that students who received the vouchers benefited from it and improved, but that did not matter a bit. He callously turned a deaf ear to pleas from parents and students who found the vouchers to be an escape from the city’s terrible schools. He sided with the teachers’ unions against those families and their children, even while claiming to be a champion of the oppressed and under-represented. Obama also sided with the unions on charter schools, another escape path for children from terrible public schools in Washington. He only relented under massive pressure three years later, in an election year.
So, Barack Obama’s record on education opened to scenes of him siding with the powerful teachers’ unions against the powerless children our public schools are supposed to exist to educate. Barack Obama stood in the doorways of private schoolhouses, keeping poor children out.
His former chief of staff from those days is now Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago. Emanuel’s ear is made of even thicker tin than Obama’s. Emanuel announced Thursday that he intends to build a selective-enrollment elite public school in one of Chicago’s upscale neighborhoods, and he is naming it after one Barack H. Obama.
Many of Emanuel’s constituents are not amused, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mary Mitchell.
Concerned African-American families on the South and West sides are still so outraged over the mayor’s decision to shutter 50 public schools last year, that “Anybody but Rahm” political campaign has formed to challenge Emanuel’s re-election bid.
And despite emotional pleas from community stakeholders outside of the Chicago Teacher’s Union, the mayor’s handpicked school board moved forward with plans on Wednesday to turn three more public schools over to a private contractor.
Now, Emanuel’s decision to open a selective-enrollment school named for President Barack Obama in an upscale community where roughly 70 percent of the seats will be filled through an admissions process adds insult to injury.
The poor and under-served lose again, just as they lost in Washington when Obama became president. Am I the only one who sees a pattern here?
To borrow from Emanuel’s language when he attacked Chick-fil-A, is favoring the rich over the poor and slapping the president’s name on a school that offends the latter “Chicago values”?