POLITICO Pro: Bracing for a Windy City Brawl


September 25, 2014

By Caitlin Emma

BRACING FOR A WINDY CITY BRAWL: Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis hasn’t yet decided whether to challenge Mayor Rahm Emanuel for his job … but education reformers aren’t waiting for an official announcement. They’re jumping out now to proactively defend the mayor — and bash Lewis. This week, the Illinois branch of Democrats for Education Reform released a poll showing Chicago residents strongly believe Lewis should step down from her union post if she runs for mayor. “She shouldn’t continue to be tone deaf,” said Rebecca Nieves Huffman, DFER’s state director, noting that Lewis will soon embark on teacher contract negotiations with the administration she hopes to replace. Lewis, however, has dismissed concerns about a conflict of interest as ridiculous. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Emma Tai, a spokeswoman for the Karen Lewis Exploratory Committee. “Should she decide to become a candidate for mayor, she will continue to be the same advocate for educators, parents and students that she’s always been.”

In recent weeks, DFER-Illinois also released a briefing paper on Emanuel’s education record. In glowing terms, it details the mayor’s push to lengthen the school day, expand access to full-day kindergarten, open more charter schools and launch several new hands-on STEM schools in partnership with businesses such as Cisco, IBM and Microsoft. The paper: http://bit.ly/1vbrRvY

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