Update II: Dave Dayen reports that Rahm is blinking, under pressure from the Obama campaign to settle the strike so it doesn’t interfere with the election.
Update: Rahm thanks both Obama and Romney for supporting him against the Chicago Teachers.
Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, smacked Rahm Emanuel around last night on Bloomberg TV for his perceived mishandling of the Chicago teacher’s strike.
Al Hunt asked her if things would be different under former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. Replied Weingarten:
“I think that Mayor Emanuel did a lot of poking in the eye that he ought not to have done. He ended up taking away a raise, trying to unilaterally implement a longer school day and doing a lot of poking in the eye…I think what we’re seeing, unfortunately, is 15 years of lots of reform go amok. So I’m not going to do the kind of compare and contrast between Daly and Emanuel. But what I am going to say is that I’ve watched in Chicago people being really frustrated that they don’t have the tools they need to do their job.”
Weingarten’s assessment of Rahm’s performance is charitable compared to others, who have accused the Chicago Mayor of taking badly needed money meant to repair inner city schools and funneling it to his billionaire political cronies like Penny Pritzker and Hyatt Hotels.
Paul Street rips into Rahm for waging a war on inner city children, calling his proposals “noxious” and “neo-Dickensian”:
Blaming teachers for low test scores in under-funded urban schools with high proportions of poor and deeply disadvantaged students from broken neighborhoods and fragile families is like blaming a farmer for not having a bumper crop after a drought. It’s like blaming a bus-driver for being behind schedule when much of her route is closed by a flood.
Rick Perlstein says that “since Rahm Emanuel’s election in the spring of 2011, Chicago’s teachers have been asked to eat shit by a mayor obsessed with displaying to the universe his “toughness” — toughness with the working-class people that make the city tick; toughness with the protesters standing up to say “no”; but never, ever toughness with the vested interests, including anti-union charter school advocates, who poured $12 million into his coffers to elect him mayor.”
It’s time for elite institutions that have the welfare of children as the core of their organizational mission to stop lending their good names to cover Rahm’s ass. There is no legitimate reason for the Boys and Girl’s Club of Chicago to allow a class warrior like Rahm to sit as honorary head of their Corporate Board while he literally takes tax money meant to provide air conditioning for inner city schools and uses it to pay off his political cronies at Hyatt Hotels.