Rahm Emanuel Defends Choice of Private School for Kids

Saturday, 23 Jul 2011 08:56 AM

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, is sending his three children to the private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in Hyde Park -- the same school that President Obama’s daughters attended when they lived in Chicago.

rahm emanuel private schoolBoth Emanuel and Obama support test-based school reform yet have selected schools that do not require teachers to drill students to pass standardized tests and don’t evaluate teachers by how well their students do. Currently Obama’s daughters attend the exclusive Sidwell Friends School.

It’s apparently a sore subject. Earlier this week, Emanuel walked out of a television interview after being asked where he plans to send his children to school. "The mayor of Chicago positioned himself inches from my face and pointed his finger directly at my head. He raised his voice and admonished me. How dare I ask where his children would go to school!" NBC Chicago's Mary Ann Ahern described.

Emanuel’s choice has brought on criticism that city leaders who send their children to private schools have no personal stake in Chicago's public schools, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune.

"I'm not in a position to question his choice. Every parent has the right to do that," says Julie Woestehoff, executive director of Parents United for Responsible Education. "But I do think he has to recognize that his choice has sent a message to Chicago public school parents. It sends a message that he has not found a Chicago public school that he is confident enough to send his kids to."

At a recent press meeting, Emanuel said the decision was one to make privately with his wife. "This is what you have to respect. I live in public life. I'm a father to three great children, and that's a private life," Emanuel said. "If I use my kids' education in any political context, I'd be less of a father than I want to be."

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