CHICAGO (CBS) – Candidates for Chicago mayor used the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast as a political platform, with less than five weeks to go before the election.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the four main candidates all spoke Monday morning at the annual Dr. King Scholarship Event at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, 301 E. North Water St.
Each of the leading candidates – Rahm Emanuel, Carol Moseley Braun, Gery Chico and Miguel Del Valle – devoted attention to education reform at the breakfast. All said it is time to change the Chicago Public Schools system.
Hundreds of people gathered to remember Dr. King’s life and legacy. With music, speeches and performances, the message revolved around the need for a high-quality education for all children.
The 21st annual scholarship breakfast highlighted educators who have done just that.
The mayoral candidates all came with opinions on education reform.
“The focus needs to be neighborhood schools,” Del Valle said. “My plan calls for creating community learning centers at every underperforming school in the city of Chicago, in every neighborhood, where the school will be open from 2 until 8 in the evening.”
“Look for the most comprehensive plan for improving our schools going forward – more preschool, longer school day, longer school year, and technology to help our children enrich their education experience,” Chico said.
“I want a performance contract for every school so principals know what they have to do and we can judge them by that. Second, raise the quality of our teachers in the classroom by doubling the size of our teaching academies, and third, the most important thing we can do is get parents off the sidelines and involved in their kids’ education,” Emanuel said.
“Make certain we invest in our neighborhood schools. Dr. King fought for the right of young children; of every child, whatever background, to get a quality public education, and the fact that our system has been spinning in the direction of privatization does a disservice to the neighborhood schools,” said Braun.
The money raised from the breakfast will go toward high school and college scholarships.