I’m a proud product of neighborhood public schools. I learned from dedicated public school teachers and was raised in a family that always believed a solid education was the key to a brighter future, a good job and realizing the American Dream. But that Dream in Chicago is at-risk now more than ever due to corrupt and dishonest politicians armed with destructive ideas that are shutting down schools and ripping the heart out of neighborhoods by stealing tens of millions of dollars from our most fragile communities — tax dollars that those communities count on to survive and thrive.
Every child has the right to learn and achieve, to be inspired by local heros, nurtured by loving parents and a community that cares. These are the community elements that empower our youth to explore their world and pursue their purpose. Unfortunately, through a racially-tinged and aggressive disinvestment campaign, this Mayor has robbed thousands of Chicago children of the support they need to thrive.
As your mayor, first and foremost, I will look you in the eye and tell you the truth. The truth about what can be done, what needs to be done and what will be done. In the short term and over the long haul.
First, I’ll stand with the Chicago Teachers Union in their effort to build a robust network of “Sustainable Community Schools.” Community schools act as hubs for wrap around services, including social-emotional supports, clinical services, before and after-school programs and professional development for parents. We’ll also work together to ensure a CPS diploma has real value in the job market. That’s why I’m committed to improving career pathways in CPS high schools, including accredited training in the trades and leading-edge learning technologies inside every school. Second, as Mayor, I’ll lead from the front on school board accountability by initiating a partially-elected school board; and a fully-engaged Local School Council. Most importantly, I’ll be a Reformer mayor who reinvests in neighborhood schools by modernizing our education infrastructure. But, unlike what we’ve had in the past, I won’t do it alone. A neighborhood schools reinvestment task force starting with the five aldermen representing communities hardest hit by Rahm’s disinvestment attacks will lead the way back to a healthy, thriving network of neighborhood schools.
As a father, I know that kids begin shaping their destiny when they’re young. Anything less, and they’re in danger of missing their shot at a bright future. We cannot continue on a course of dishonest leadership that won’t level with us about where we stand, where our kids stand, and the hard truths about what needs to be done. What’s more, we must immediately correct this destructive course of neglect and disinvestment our city has pursued for too long now. Chicago’s youth have what it takes to win the future but they need us to stand up for them now and always. I’m running for mayor to be an honest broker for parents and to stand with our children, and public school teachers for our City’s future, against the elitist policies that have put this city and its schools on the brink of disaster.