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Did Obama Administration’s Policies Contribute to Chicago’s Deadly Violence?


Did Obama Administration’s Policies Contribute to Chicago’s Deadly Violence?

Diane Ravitch

For many years, parents and education activists in Chicago have warned that the deliberate destruction of neighborhood public schools was causing a rise in violence. The city, first under Arne Duncan, now under Rahm Emanuel, ignored the critics, and made a virtue of closing public schools, opening charter schools, and sending kids long distances to new schools. Mayor Emanuel recognized that the critics’ complaints had some validity. He didn’t stop the school closings–in fact, he closed 50 public schools in a single day, an unprecedented action in American history.


Ravitch's book Reign of Error is essential reading for those interested in education politics in the US.


Duncan's fine work in Chicago and DC landed him a managing partner role at Apple subsidiary Emerson Collective. The revolving door never stops revolving.


I believe Amy Carter was the last kid of a US President to attend public school in Washington D.C. Point is, Obama, Emanuel, or Duncan would never make their own kids go through this nightmare. Just those poor kids in Chicago, walking long distances in the snow, through gang neighborhoods, to get to a charter school. Because, the public school around the corner from where they live was shut down by Emanuel, ( 50 in one day ).


The entire mess in Chicago can be laid at the feet of Hillary and Bill Clinton favorite Rahm Emanuel.
Duncan is a screw up, but Emanuel is a criminal.


The path to decay that happens in Chicago seems to be very much like what happened in Detroit. It will take longer as it a larger City but it seems they wish to make all black neighborhoods unlivable and abandon them to the jungle in the hopes they all go elsewhere.

If things go as they are going there will be unelected managers appointed to run Chicago much as with Detroit in order to address budgetary imbalances.


Hillary will be forced to bail Chicago out.
Which if you think about it benefits the bankers a great deal.
Use Puerto Rico as an example.


Right on Diane Ravitch! Calling out the top of the Democratic party for the violence of privatization!

We need much more of this. We also need a concerted mass action campaign to reverse the privatization of basic public functions like education, medicine, the post office, etc.


Right on point. The president's appointees have done the dirty work and get a "good job Brownie" from the president. Where have we seen that before?
I have no doubt that the new and reformed school system they push so hard for is nothing but steps to privatization. They don't care that it causes children to become unstable and I'm sure in many cases that's where their education ended.
Keep up the good work Ms. Ravitch I appreciate your work.


I believe the 8 years of Obama / Duncan have done great damage to public education in the US, and perhaps the most serious in Chicago. Having worked 30+ years in a low-income part of the city, I saw first hand how the local school can enrich a neighborhood : providing stability, resources, and even basic needs to its students and families. In those decades, I saw many families receive financial help from a staff that always jumped in to help when tragedy occurred. I saw many families receive Christmas baskets that made the difference between a real holiday meal and none at all. I saw families referred for services that they did not know about. I saw many 8th graders helped into good high schools that seemed out of reach to them. BUT , you go in and close those schools, disperse those students, and send them to a school much farther away, and those connections are lost. Families have a harder time reaching the school and are less likely to be connected in the same way as before, even in the simple meeting of parents outside the school at dismissal. Students do not live near their classmates, making those friendships more difficult.
In the end, you have to ask : Are things better for Chicago's students and families in the last 8 years of Duncan's "reform", and especially since Emanuel started closing schools in poorer neighborhoods ? No teacher, parent or taxpayer in Chicago would say "yes".