Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Rahm Calls for More Teacher Academies

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Calling it an "excellent program," mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel proposed doubling the current number of Chicago teaching academies from seven to 14.

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Calling it an "excellent program" and a model for the nation, mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel proposed doubling the current number of Chicago teaching academies from seven to 14.

"Our kids deserve it," he said Tuesday morning at a press event at National-Louis University. "Our parents deserve it.  The city of Chicago deserves it, and I want to take a program that I have known since the first time I ran for public office and has seen its potential, and take it to its full potential."

NLU houses the Academy for Urban School Leadership, where student teachers receive master's degree-level instruction from mentors.  Once they graduate, they're committed to a minimum of five years teaching in Chicago Public Schools.

Emanuel said he hopes his $10 million initiative would more than double the annual number of graduate teachers from 60 up to 160.

Two new high schools and six K-8 schools would receive the new graduates each year, he said.

"We have a gem here. The only thing stopping us is our willingness to scale it up," he said, noting that "people from all over the country, every major urban school system, is coming to study what we do here in the city of Chicago."

With education a focus of his campaign, Emanuel was asked about where his own kids would go to school upon their return to Chicago.  They currently attend private Jewish schools in the Washington area, and Emanuel wouldn't commit to sending them to Chicago Public Schools.

"The decision I make on my children is one that [my wife] Amy and I are going to make as parents," he said.  "We’ll discuss where our children go, as parents. And I think the people of Chicago, as parents, will appreciate that."

One of Emanuel's challengers in the mayoral race, Gery Chico, said he wouldn't tell a parent what they should do for their own child but personally wouldn't feel comfortable asking parents to do something he wouldn't do himself.

"There is something to be said for leading by example and having a personal stake in the system you seek to reform," said Chico, who previously led the Board of Trustees of Chicago Public Schools and later was chairman of the Chicago City Colleges.

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