School Ties

Alderman helped his daughter get into elite high school.

By Matt Bartosik
|  Friday, Aug 14, 2009  |  Updated 9:37 AM CDT
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Chicago's Political Players


One alderman called the principal when his daughter wasn't admitted to the school she applied to.

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For the politically connected, getting  kids into an elite college-prep high school is as easy as picking up the phone.

At least, that's what Alderman Ricardo Munoz (22nd ward) did.

In 2005, Munoz's son was admitted to Whitney Young Magnet High School thanks to high test scores. But this year, the alderman's daughter wasn't so fortunate.

"We didn't get an admissions letter," Munoz told the Sun-Times.

Refusing to accept the school's decision, he called Principal Joyce Kenner. And he's not ashamed to admit it.

"I wanted my daughter to attend Whitney Young. The curriculum there is great," he said. "Parents are gonna do whatever they can [for their children], but I do it for community kids also."

According to Munoz, he places "at least 10 to 15" calls to various institutions, trying to help the children of his constituents get into their preferred schools.

"There's obviously something wrong when political clout is being used to [benefit] unqualified students. But I'm advocating for neighborhood students who are qualified," Munoz insisted.

Many schools actually request applying students to supply recommendations from adults, such as teachers or community leaders. But should local politicians be allowed to get involved?

"I'm an alderman," Munoz said. "But I'm also an active parent."

Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, has no clout.

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