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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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