Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Wake-Up Call for Rahm Emanuel

Rahm, oh Rahm. I used to be a big fan. I thought you were awesome. What can I say? You were the bad cop to Obama's good cop, the snarling, foul-mouthed attack puppy backing up the eager golden retriever that was all that hopey-changey stuff. But that was back in 2008, when I was excited about your old boss's election and not wondering how I'd make myself hold my nose and re-elect him over Candidate Palin/Paul/Romney in '12 like I'm wondering right now.

And today, Rahm, you disappointed me again. The real you and not the hilarious Twitter impersonator. (OMG, one of my Chicago friends posted that on a Popular Social Networking Site and it probably destroyed three hours of my winter recess. I could not stop laughing. I wish you really were having a beer, cheese, and pool party in solidarity with the exiled Wisconsin Democratic state senators--how awesome would that be?!) No, unfortunately, Rahm, you made a boneheaded statement during one of your mayoral debates (since that's what you're working on these days) that just made me mad. But, fortunately, it made some quick and impassioned Chicago public schools students more than sad; it got them moving.

You see, you're under the mistaken impression that the top-performing Chicago schools are charters, when in fact they aren't. And, moreover, public school kids aren't too thrilled that you're missing the point and not planning to help out their schools--which, though they are certainly struggling, are certainly not failing. I think, speaking as a teacher, that if kids hear something that doesn't sound right, question it, do their own research, and prepare a reasoned and strong response to it, that sounds like those kids are actually being educated pretty darn well.

It's not too late for you, Rahm--after all, it looks like you're going to take this election tomorrow, so your second chance is right around the corner. Work with public school teachers, parents, and kids to improve your public schools, not continue the (fruitless, pointless) march towards all charters, all the time. Clean up the language when you visit an elementary school (the middle and high school kids have heard it all already, though, so no worries there!!!).

Failing that, go ahead with the beer/cheese/pool party with the Wisconsinites. It couldn't hurt.

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