Shootings, schools, and “values”

Over 500 people have been shot in Chicago in just four months. My teenage son casually¬† commented that they are picking up fast these past few weeks. Last night a 14-year-old girl shot another 14-year-old girl over a boy. When the summer comes, I’m grateful that my son is at camp in Michigan where he might fall out of a tree or get bit by a snake but he won’t get shot.

Last week Rahm Emmanuel suggested that the people who live in the communities that see the most violence must “live by a moral code …. It’s whether you have values.” Now this is the same mayor who has made it clear that many communities have no value to him. He’s closed their PassiSahlbergschools, their libraries, their mental health centers. He’s starved neighborhood schools in most communities but particularly those of color while he gives millions of dollars in TIF money to private universities.

I also had the opportunity to hear Passi Sahlberg this weekend, the Finnish educator and author who  has studied education systems and reforms around the world. What struck me is the overall attitude in Finland is the philosophy that every child should have access to equal opportunities in education.

This came on the heels of Rahm’s announcement that another Selective Enrollment school will be built on the near North Side with $60 million in TIF funds. While he’s clearly playing to his demographic – white middle class North side – it’s outrageous that a school named after an African American president wouldn’t go in or near the South Side neighborhood he calls home.

Lack of values? Or perhaps it’s just that what Rahm values is all too clear.