Mike Klonsky: Rich Kids Don’t Need Grit

Mike Klonsky in Chicago checked out the schools where Mayor Emanuel and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool send their children. 

Klonsky writes:

“I checked. No, there’s no “Grit” curriculum being taught at the University of Chicago’s Lab school or at chichi Francis Parker, the schools where Mayor Rahm Emanuel and schoools CEO Forrest Claypool send their children at upwards of $34,000 a kid.

“Professor Duckworth didn’t intend it for their kids. Fixing the poor is the burden of the rich, white and powerful.”

When asked about sending his kids to an elite school, Mayor Emanuel have this answer:

“I’ve got to be honest, I don’t think it’s a fair question, and I’ll say why,” Emanuel said. “My kids go to the same school that President Obama sends his kids to school, and nobody said anything when President Obama was leading the fight for Race to the Top. I don’t live in public housing, but I do fight for fairness in housing. I’m not homeless, but I do fight for resources for homelessness. So if it’s only about whether I as a parent make a decision, that’s not actually, it’s not about my kids, it’s about the kids of Chicago.”

Klonsky said in response: 

“And what a strange analogy Rahm’s making between public schools – created for everyone– and public housing and homeless shelters, specifically reserved for the poorest and neediest of us. It’s clear that the mayor views public education as some sort of poverty agency rather than as the cornerstone of a democratic society. And therein lies his problem and ours.

“Nobody I know is challenging the right of the rich and powerful to send their children to private schools. That’s not the point. The point is that the corporate reformers now running public ed, including our autocratic mayor and his hand-picked CEO, don’t want our kids in public schools to experience the best educational practices, now reserved for their own….

“In 2011, the mayor forced a longer school day and school year on resistant Chicago schools even though he had no plan for what to do with the added seat time or how to pay for it. Again, I checked with Lab only to find out that their day and year was shorter than Chicago’s.

“Common Core? Nothing common about Lab or Parker.

“Over and improper use of standardized tests? You won’t find it in Lab or Parker.

“In conclusion – the best way to learn grit is by standing up to the bullies and pretenders who think they know what’s best for other people’s children.”

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