Friday, February 18, 2011

CPS students call foul on Emanuel's charter school claims

Posted By on 02.18.11 at 03:03 PM

Carol Moseley Braun has complained that reporters jump on her "crack addict" and "Hitler" references—but ignore Rahm Emanuel's transgressions.

Does she have a point?

At a recent mayoral candidate debate, Emanual declared that seven of Chicago's nine best-performing public high schools are charters. None of the other candidates raised an eyebrow — not Braun, not Miguel del Valle, and not Gery Chico, former president of the Chicago Public Schools. And not moderator Bruce Dold, whose own Tribune website contains contradictory data.

Does anyone in this campaign — including the media — actually pay attention to what anyone says, except when they say something about Hitler?

Guess who called Emanuel on his claim — three students from Sullivan High School on Chicago’s north side. They did some fact-checking, then wrote, filmed, and put onto YouTube a video that shows Emanuel making his charter claim, along with the Tribune site's list of the seven top-performing Chicago high schools. None is a charter.

The students' video uses Emanuel's remark as proof that he doesn't care about neighborhood schools. And the video urges viewers to cast their mayoral vote for del Valle.

click to enlarge 1298064936-cps-kids.jpg

"We were pro-Miguel before" seeing Emanuel's remark, says Sullivan student Gerardo Aguilera, one of the video's creators. When he and his cohorts saw the footage of Emanuel's remark, he says they felt they had to counter the message.

"Everybody thinks Rahm is a great candidate, but nobody sees his negatives," Aguilera told me.

"It's the exact opposite of del Valle—Emanuel has a charter school agenda."

Did the del Valle campaign tell the students what to put in the video? "Definitely not," says Aguilera.

Back to Emanuel's remark. What s behind it? When I asked what data set he was using, his campaign office said the data came from a CPS spreadsheet. But I don’t see how it supports Emanuel's claim. According to what I can see from the spreadsheet, only one of the top nine high schools (for which CPS has reliable data) is a charter.

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