Thirty years ago a brash developer named Donald J. Trump exploded onto the national scene with his No. 1 bestseller, “Trump: The Art of the Deal.” Now that he is in the White House making successful deals on behalf of the American people, he is proving to be a far more effective leader than establishment politicians like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Emanuel, who should write his own tome and title it “The Art of Failure,” has shown himself to be an abysmal dealmaker and leader. So to divert attention for his many failures, he is attacking President Trump. Over and over again.
I’m a proud Chicagoan. I love the city: its architecture, its culture and my Chicago Bears. But the harsh reality is that Chicago faces a systemic crisis – beset by failing schools and rampant crime – all while careening toward a fiscal cliff of insolvency.
And don’t take my word for it. People are voting with their feet as Chicago is the only major American metropolitan area to lose population in both 2015 and 2016.
But of course, Emanuel paints a very different picture. Instead of coming clean about his own failings or figuring out how to do his job, he’d rather spend his time attacking President Trump.
Addressing illegal immigrant students protected under an executive order issued in 2012 by President Obama, which President Trump is phasing out over six months, Emanuel sermonized recently: “Chicago, our schools, our neighborhoods, our city as it relates to what President Trump said will be a Trump-free zone. You have nothing to worry about.”
While President Trump is ending the 2012 executive order because it is unconstitutional, he is asking Congress to pass legislation reforming our immigration laws in the next six months. That’s how to solve a problem.
Emanuel has been attacking the president for months, particularly when it comes to Chicago’s failing public schools.
Responding the president’s justified criticism of the poor job Chicago schools are doing for students, Emanuel said back in April: “Now, the president of the United States is allowed to have fake news, but the facts are the facts about the city of Chicago,” and bragged about progress the schools have made since he became mayor. Emanuel demanded that the president stop “running down” schools in Chicago.
Calling Chicago schools a giant failure is “fake news?” Hardly.
Not only are Chicago’s schools “Trump-free,” they are also learning-free for most students. According to the baseline PARCC test used by the Illinois State Board of Education, only 25 percent of Chicago students score at “ready for the next level” to advance to the next grade. Think about that – 75 percent of students are not getting the education they deserve!
But of course, the school district promotes students to the next grade whether they are ready or not, largely to hide the fact that it has failed to properly educate them. If you don’t like the score, just move the goalposts.
No wonder, then, that among those students who do graduate from high school – still under 70 percent – only 30 percent are deemed “college ready” according to ACT scores. Among Chicago community college enrollees, fully 70 percent require remedial classes to address their academic deficiencies.
And sadly and unsurprisingly, only 14 percent of Chicago Public School 9th graders will eventually graduate from college.
While Emanuel focuses on shielding Chicago students from Trump, his school system excels at shielding them from success. The ramifications, naturally, flow into adulthood. A University of Illinois study found that 47 percent of black men in the city ages 20 to 24 are neither in school nor employed. What a tragedy and waste of their potential.
And that tragedy, of course, is not merely confined to the these young people, but to the city at large as violent crime spirals out of control in Chicago, now very likely the most dangerous city in the entire developed world.
While our mayor purports that “you have nothing to worry about,” the sobering truth is that children in large swaths of the city cannot even play safely in the park. Over 2,600 people have been shot so far in 2017 in Chicago, including 447 who were killed.
If this carnage represents “nothing to worry about,” then I cannot imagine the mayhem once the violence becomes worrisome!
Mayor Emanuel should forgo the grandstanding and the politics of diversion. He should stop scapegoating our president and start healing and repairing his once-great American city.