Rahm plays the press like a Stradavarius, and schools, teachers and students pay the price.

Over the summer I was asked to be a panelist on Chicago Newsroom. It’s an interesting show on cable access. Being on cable access guarantees it a small audience, although anyone can watch the video of each show on YouTube.

Ken Davis, a former press guy for Mayor Daley, is a gregarious host.

Its small audience doesn’t mean there isn’t interesting stuff to be heard on it.

This past week, the panelists featured Emanuel appointed CPS board member Rod Sierra, Sarah Karp from Catalyst  and Nora Ferrell of the Community Media Workshop.

The show was taped right after the school board passed the budget and the tax increase.

At around 12:35 of the show Sarah Karp begins to talk about the impact of budget cuts on schools. She estimates that each school in Chicago will lose an average of half a million dollars, that the two city-wide Special Needs schools will be hit particularly hard, that class sizes will increase slightly. All as well as cuts in after school programs, security and other services

Everyone agreed that there would be “pain” at the school and classroom level, even Board member Sierra.

Then the issue of the longer school day came up.

Nobody addressed the issue of why the Mayor would cut so deeply at the school level causing so much pain and then turn around and argue for a longer school day.

And then it became clear that this whole longer school day is just Emanuel gaming the teachers union and the public.

Karp blew the whistle on the Mayor. It was all a set-up to embarrass the teachers union. Karp explained how the news of the two percent offer to elementary teachers that CEO J.C. Brizard allegedly let slip out during an appearance on public television’s Chicago Tonight was phony as a three dollar bill.

The media and been called ahead of time to watch Chicago Tonight, Karp admitted.

Rather than go to the union using fair bargaining practices, Rahmbo and Brizard went public and played the media like a fine violin.

“Brilliant,” the panel all agreed.

Turned my stomach.

2 thoughts on “Rahm plays the press like a Stradavarius, and schools, teachers and students pay the price.

  1. Karen Lewis ends all speculation as to a walk out in Chicago this year. The CTU still abides by their contract. Good for them: a tactical and strategic non-move; if obvious in hindsight; as all good moves are. So much for the trust fund dreams, and crisis management schemes of Winnebago Man and the CCotCotCCoC. Wait until next year, Rah-rah.

  2. Hoping a clarification might be in order.

    The topic at that moment was press strategy and “issue management” by Mayor Emanuel’s message people.

    We did call it “brilliant”, a word that’s perhaps a little inflated, but the brilliance referred only to the strategy, not to the policy. I hope no one believes that we think asking teachers to work 90 extra minutes for half the minimum wage is “brilliant”. That wasn’t our intent.

    Ken Davis
    Chicago Newsroom

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