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Emanuel's School Dilemma

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Emanuel's School Dilemma
Emanuel's School Dilemma

Rahm Emanuel and his family make the trip from Millennium Park to City Hall after Emanuel was inaugurated.

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel may have no choice but to send his children to private school. Would you want your kids taught by people you refused to give a raise?

Earlier this week, Emanuel was asked whether he’d reveal where his three children will attend school this fall.

“No, it’s my children, they’re private,” he replied. “I live in public life as mayor. I’m a father to three great children, and that’s a private life.”

It’s true that the mayor is entitled to a private life, but it’s also true that decisions he makes in that private life may have public ramifications. As the mayor, he sets an example for the entire city.

For the record, the mayor’s neighborhood schools are Ravenswood Elementary, which has a 77 percent low-income population, and Lake View High School, which has an 80.6 percent low-income population. The Emanuels probably have more money than all the other parents at those schools combined -- the Emanuels vacation in Thailand, while most of these families can’t even afford to eat in a Thai restaurant.

If the mayor’s children go to school in the ’hood, their lives will be like a Richie Rich comic book -- the one in which Richie has his Kindle stolen by the Almighty Insane Latin Counts.

On the other hand, if the mayor doesn’t send his kids to public school, he’ll send a message that Chicago is not a city for the middle class, but a city for well-to-do families who can afford private school tuition, and poor families who send their children the neighborhood school, with other poor children. For the last 30 years, Chicago has been developing into what demographers call a “dumbbell society,” with large masses on either end of the economic scale, and nobody in the middle. It’s a city of people who eat in expensive restaurants, and people who wash their dishes.

That’s Rahm Emanuel’s America -- he was one of the biggest boosters of the North American Free Trade Agreement -- and it’s Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago, too.

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