Daley Defends Clout System

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2009  |  Updated 3:45 PM CDT
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Two Illinois Pols Among Congress' "Most Corrupt"

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It pays to be in Daley's fave five.

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Mayor Daley defended today the controversial process that has allowed principals at nine elite public high schools to handpick five percent of their students.

Daley's defense comes, ironically, on the same day the University of Illinois' president announced his resignation over a separate clout scandal.

“You have to have confidence in principals," Daley said, according to the Sun-Times. "Say a child gets a C-plus. You know that child can achieve. He or she could be a slow reader. Or they’re not a good tester. This idea [that] you’re gonna test everybody — you’re gonna have very few people in the 99.9 percentile."

Daley argued that there's no political intrusion at the schools.

“You have someone calling. Yes, there’s been an alderman call on behalf of their child," Daley said. "But, the principal is gonna say, ‘This is not right for your child. I can get this child in. But, they’re never gonna compete. They’re never gonna move ahead. So what is the best interest of the child?’”

Last month, Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott was subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the clout scandal. School officials then demanded the names of every student who applied to be among the five percent group handpicked by principals.

Whitney Young High School principal Joyce Kenner was also subpoenaed after two aldermen admitted they made calls to Kenner on their childrens' behalf.

Kenner has said she “did nothing wrong” and has “nothing to hide.”

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