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Julie Woestehoff Headshot

Yes, Rahm, People Want Change -- Stop the False Charter School Rhetoric

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Rahm just doesn't get it.

Back in February, a group of Chicago Public Schools high-schoolers busted Chicago mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel's chops in a YouTube video for making false statements about charter schools on the campaign trail:

Rahm had claimed that, outside of two selective enrollment CPS high schools, the seven top-performing high schools were charters. The students didn't think that sounded right, did some research, and found out that, in fact, none of the top seven were charter schools, and they explained that in their video.

That didn't stop Rahm, though. He used the same false statement last month at a student forum. The Sun-Times actually ran an inset to the story correcting Rahm's assertion, a public tsk-ing almost unheard of in Chicago's mainstream media.

Then, Monday, he did it again. This time, he called for more schools like the Young Women's Leadership Charter School. Here's what WBEZ's Linda Lutton had to say about that:

Emanuel called the school's results 'quite impressive,' though state records show only 15 percent of high-schoolers there met state standards. The mayor-elect... cited a 'hundred percent graduation rate' at the charter school. But that number does not take into account students who dropped out before their senior year.

So, it seems that Rahm is going to base his education plan on fakery and overblown rhetoric. Sadly, that's way too much like the "change" President Obama offered us -- and we believed in -- until he appointed Arne Duncan as Education Secretary. That's not the change people want.

I have to agree with Christina Henriquez, one of the students on the YouTube video, who said that statements like Rahm's show "that the people that people think know everything aren't really looking into the problems they say they want to fix."

Christina and her friends deserve much, much better than this.