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CTU launches video campaign that blasts Emanuel’s education record

“Sorry, Mr. Mayor, but a commercial can’t conceal your failure as a school chief,” say teachers, who are countering with #SameOldRahm video setting the record straight. Video:

CHICAGO, May 30, 2018—Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his deep pocketed allies are sinking big bucks into a public relations campaign that attempts to rewrite the awful truth about his failed leadership of Chicago’s public schools. CTU members are countering with a video of their own, #SameOldRahm, as part of a campaign to set the record straight on Emanuel’s deplorable education record.

The union is launching the 30 second spot in the wake of a series of scandals that include deep cuts to special education that illegally denied services to the city’s most vulnerable students, a contract kickback scheme that landed one of Emanuel’s hand-picked school CEOs in federal prison, and ethics violations that forced the resignation of another schools CEO and close mayoral ally.

“Emanuel is trying to spin his disastrous education record to his benefit for the upcoming election season,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. “We want to set the record straight. Emanuel controls who sits on his rubber stamp board and who calls the shots in our schools. He has hired lackeys and crooks to engineer policies that harm our students and the people who educate them. He’s hired yet another new CEO. But a new CEO won’t cut it. What we need is a new mayor – one who actually cares about our students’ educations instead of gutting their schools, turning his back on their parents and sabotaging their neighborhoods.”

Since he took office in 2011, Emanuel has slashed hundreds of millions of dollars from the budgets of public schools in the city’s poorest communities, despite the critical role those schools play as civic anchors in neighborhoods stripped of resources. He’s forced those same communities to bear the brunt of his school closings – including his mass closings of 50 schools in 2015, the largest in the nation’s history.

He’s hand-picked a series of corrupt CPS CEOs, privatized huge segments of school operations with no public accounting of how those dollars are spent – or to whose benefit, purged veteran Black educators from public schools, spent nearly a billion dollars on private ‘cleaning’ contracts that have left schools filthy and in shambles, and cut nearly $30 million in services from special education students, prompting the Illinois State Board of Education to impose an independent monitor on CPS to oversee the program.

This year, Emanuel moved to close every public high school in Englewood, one of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods, under a plan that also denies Englewood’s current high school students entry to a proposed new high school. His hand-picked board also is closing one of the city’s top elementary schools in the gentrifying South Loop, displacing its overwhelmingly low-income Black students.

That record, say teachers, should be grounds for firing, not praise.

The video and social media push is being funded by CUES, Chicagoans United for Economic Security. To raise visibility for the video, the CTU and allies are using the hashtag #SameOldRahm in a variety of social media venues, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google.

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The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago’s publicly funded schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, and is the third-largest teachers’ local in the United States. For more information, please visit the CTU website at

Chicago Teachers Union