Rahm Emanuel Releases Reform Agenda for Chicago Public Schools

Rahm Emanuel wants to be Chicago's next mayor, but his critics say his recently revealed education agenda isn't what the city needs.

In his bid to become the next mayor of Chicago, former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel hopes voters will focus on his education agenda instead of his lingering residency woes.

According to the newly released policy brief on his campaign website, Emanuel is, "guided by a single mission: to ensure that every child—in every school and every neighborhood—has access to a world-class learning experience from birth."

The nuts and bolts of the plan tackle principal autonomy and accountability, ensuring teachers are set up for success and are rewarded for excellence, and keeping parents informed and involved in their child's education.

If they don't hit academic performance targets, Emanuel would fire principals or have their schools shuttered. Merit pay would give high performing teachers a salary boost, and layoffs by seniority would end. He also suggests requiring parent signatures on contracts that limit children's TV and video game time.

The Chicago Teacher’s Union isn't handing out any kudos to the Emanuel education agenda. Union head Karen Lewis told the Chicago Sun Times that the city, “has tried much of what Mr. Emanuel suggests—more autonomy for principals, merit pay, competitive school funding, increasing crony contracts for teacher preparation—but none have actually improved teaching and learning."

The union is holding a public Mayoral Candidates Forum on December 16 to allow the, "Chicago mayoral candidates to discuss the issues that are important to us." Emanuel has yet to RSVP for the forum, but several of his biggest competitors in the city's mayoral race, including former Senator Carol Moseley Braun have already confirmed their attendance.

photo (cc) via Flickr user Afagen

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The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they've worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.

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The Planet

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In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

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The Planet
via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

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via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The 2020 election is a year away, but Donald Trump has some serious ground to cover if he doesn't want it to be a historical blowout.

A Washington Post- ABC News poll released Tuesday shows that Trump loses by double digits to the top Democratic contenders.

Vice President Joe Biden (56%-39%); Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (54%-39%); Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (56%-39%); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (52%-41%); and Sen. Kamala Harris of California (52%-41%) all have big leads over the president.

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