Tuesday, January 21, 2020
US flag

A wording discrepancy in Chicago mayoral campaign

Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who trails Mayor Rahm Emanuel by about 16 points in polls for a runoff election in Chicago on April 7, may have embellished the story in terms of Mr Emanuel’s school funding moves, the Huffington Post reports.

Mr Garcia says in a recent ad that Mr Emanuel “took” money away from public schools in order to fund “elite private schools.”

For the record, charter schools, which are the schools that benefited from Mr Emanuel’s mass school closings, are neither “private” nor “elite.” They are run by private organizations, but they are publicly funded. They are open to all students, not just ones who come from rich families, and no tuition is charged.

Mr Garcia is not a fan of charter schools, to be sure, as he promises to impose a moratorium on the creation of charter schools in the city if he is elected. He correctly points out that many educators see charter schools as a step toward privatizing public education in the US. His campaign website lists the following education plans:

  • Halt school closings
  • Restore democracy with an elected school board
  • Pull the plug on high-stakes standardized testing
  • Stop starving public schools to feed charters

Although we support Mr Garcia’s campaign for mayor, mainly because of his plans for education, there’s no need to paint the mayor’s actions inaccurately. Mr Emanuel closed nearly 50 public neighborhood schools and replaced many of them with charters, some of which have succumbed to waste, fraud, and abuse.

As a Hispanic man, Mr Garcia correctly points out that “Chicago has shamefully allowed some charter schools to openly flout state requirements for many years by not offering necessary bilingual services.” This is indeed shameful and reflects poor management of charter schools in the city by a board of education completely appointed by the mayor.

We have every reason to believe—given the fact that many of Mr Emanuel’s biggest campaign contributors would benefit from real estate development in some of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods that would include an expansion of charter schools—that the mismanagement will continue. All Mr Garcia has to do is paint an “accurate” picture of Mr Emanuel’s first term as mayor. That should be reason enough for people to make good decisions in the voting booth on April 7.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Feds boost Bay funding

Restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed received a boost in federal funding in the budget Congress passed last month.

Md. & IL bands perform on New Year’s in...

Bands from IL and Md. once again entertained thousands of people who lined the streets of London and Rome on New Year's Day.

Howard Co. sounds an under-staffing alarm

Teachers in a Md. district have filed a grievance over missing planning and lunch periods and, as a result, putting the most vulnerable students at risk.

Top 11 school stories of 2019

We find these 11 stories to have the greatest potential for influencing activity and direction in schools for the near future.

Girls’ volleyball champs in Illinois

We congratulate the Illinois state champions in girls' volleyball: Newark, St Teresa, Sterling, & Benet Academy.

A weekend of ‘band geeks’ across America

The musical Band Geeks was in performance at a MD high school, just as marching bands from across America named a national champion.

2 dead, 3 wounded in Calif. school shooting

Another school shooting has resulted in the death of 2 California high school students. The suspect shot himself and is in custody.

Mercury makes a transit; next in 2032

A transit of Mercury occurred today and was visible from the US, provided you had sunny skies. It was one of longest possible transits.

On the Naperville BWW racist incident

A racist incident at a Naperville, IL, sports bar indicates that the threads of racism are strong, perhaps as strong as ever.

IL bill could excuse absences to vote

A proposed law in IL could give students up to two hours during the school day so they could vote in the upcoming election.

Loan forgiveness gains some bipartisan support

One Republican from GA, who used to work under Betsy DeVos at the US Education Dept, offers a plan to forgive some student loan debt.