Mayor Rahm Emanuel has a message to the middle class: Don’t leave my city in pursuit of a high quality, high school education for your kids.
The message accompanied a promise, issued during an exclusive interview with the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday — the same day the mayor announced he was doubling the size of an International Baccalaureate diploma program in the Chicago Public Schools. A recent study deemed the program extremely successful in preparing neighborhood high school students for college.
“Don’t head for the doors when your kid’s in fifth grade or sixth grade — for the suburbs — because the city of Chicago is going to give you a high-quality life with a high-quality education for your children,” said Emanuel, speaking in his office and flanked by Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard.
“That’s our commitment to the families of the city of Chicago. And we’re well on our way to starting to put that down payment down,” he said.
Emanuel, who inherited a school system on which his predecessor Mayor Richard M. Daley left his own mark, outlined his vision for public education: a focus on expanding access to quality high school options beyond the hard-fought for but limited selective enrollment seats.
Those nine elite public high schools — created by Daley in part to keep the middle class from bailing out of the system after eighth grade — this year alone drew 14,284 applicants for 3,200 seats.