Thursday, February 27, 2014

Rahm Emanuel's Chicago Education Policies Aren't Very Popular

"When future historians view the wreckage Mayor Emanuel has made of public education in Chicago, I'm sure the conversion of Ames Middle School into a military academy will not top the list. No, it will undoubtedly rank below the cuts, closings, firings, high-stakes testing, and political games he's played. If he'd only limited himself to ribbon cuttings and left the schools alone.  But the looming debacle at Ames is a good example of those head-shaking maneuvers in which the mayor manages to create a problem where none exists. In all fairness to Mayor Emanuel, the idea of turning Ames into a military academy wasn't his—it was the brainchild of 26th Ward alderman Roberto Maldonado. I'm not sure what exactly inspired the alderman, and he didn't return my call to explain. But according to a 2012 interview he gave to Mark Brown of the Sun-Times, he saw some kids flashing gang signs in the hallway at Ames one day a few years back. And he essentially said, that's it—I'm turning this into a military school! " (Ben Joravsky: Chicago Reader: "Mayor Emanuel sends the marines into Ames Middle School")