Exclusive: Emanuel To Send Kids To U. Of C. Lab Schools

CHICAGO (CBS) — CBS 2 News has learned where Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s three children will attend school this fall.

The mayor repeatedly has said that he and his wife would make that decision as a family and now they have.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports on what he learned following an exclusive interview with the mayor on Wednesday.

Sources familiar with the decision said that Emanuel’s son and two daughters will be enrolled in the private and prestigious University of Chicago Lab Schools in Hyde Park.

As recently as two weeks ago, Emanuel insisted that he would not publicly announce where he will be sending his kids to school

Word of Emanuel’s choice of schools came after the one-on-one interview on Wednesday, which dealt with Emanuel’s challenges as a mayor and as a parent, and how he’d separate the two.

Decisions concerning his family, he said, would be strictly divorced from politics.

“If I made a decision about my children that was not as father, but as mayor, first of all my kids would know it – because it is exactly what we said, they have a sixth sense about that – and I’d be less as a father,” he said. “I would know it and the public will understand, then I’m less of a person and I know they will appreciate that. I have absolute confidence in that.”

Only after the interview did CBS 2 learn that Leah, Ilana and Zach – who walked with their mother and father to City Hall right after the inauguration in May – would go to the top-rated South Side private school once attended by President Barack Obama’s daughters.

Emanuel and his wife chose the Lab Schools rather than the Chicago Public Schools he’s made such a priority both during the campaign and first months in office.

During Wednesday’s interview, the mayor talked at length about the importance of separating political from personal decisions.

“There is nothing more important to me than my children and my family and you know this as a father … our kids are unbelievably smart. They know if tjey become instruments or second priorities,” he said. “And I never want my kids to grow up thinking that my career or my profession trumps their future or their relationship with me.”

Emanuel has consulted with other politicians – including the Clintons, Daleys and Obamas – about the difficulty of raising children while holding office, drawing lines between politics and family, setting ground rules and sticking to them.

The mayor realizes the risk that people might say he doesn’t practice what he preaches by sending his own children to private school while overhauling the city’s public schools.

“They’ll have to make that judgment and I’ll have to live with the judgment I have as a father and a husband,” Emanuel said.

“Over the years, the boundary between private and public … constantly gets eroded, erased, knocked down; and unless Amy and I are vigilant about it, there’s nothing that’s gonnna – not meanly – nothing’s gonna stop you, because rules are different. And, in fact, I don’t think any of us really know anymore,” Emanuel added. “So I have to be vigilant about the wall that protects my children so they have a natural both childhood and now adolescence. And that, to me, is something I thought about and, therefore, that’s why we’re gonna be strong because, in fact, I don’t think you could tell me today where the wall is, where you stop.”

The mayor said he thinks the voters who elected him will understand that.

“Nobody elected me or voted against me based on my children. They voted for their own interest, based on their children and their families and their future,” Emanuel said. “That’s what they voted for. They didn’t vote about where I’m sending my children or any decision Amy and I make as parents or as a family. I think they respect that.”

There will undoubtedly be questions about how his choice of private school for his own children reflects on his commitment to and belief in the quality of Chicago’s public schools.

Judging from his interview on Wednesday, it’s clear this was a decision that Emanuel and his wife gave much thought and that they are comfortable with.

More from Jay Levine
  • ursula

    I am with you Ron! Its strictly his business and this is family and kids decision. Its not Chicago politics

    • Stan

      Really, Ursula? You REALLY don’t see the underlying “you common people aren’t good enough for me and neither are your schools” message? Forget ignorance being bliss, being blind to the obvious is apparently more blissful.

      • Trevor

        There is no message. This is a parental decision. I made the same decision a year ago. Sounds like you have some deep rooted insecurity issues.

        Rahm was spot on with this. His kids are no ones business. I would have reacted the same way.

      • Scott


        Obama has talked repeatedly about improving public schools. Wouldn’t he be sending a proper message by sending his girls not to Sidwell Friends but the a public school in DC where Jimmy Carter sent his daughter. Living here in the DC area, many in Congress on both sides send there kids to private schools but preach to the general public about how great the public school system has become.

      • OBAMA = FRAUD

      • Nivosum

        I don’t have problem with Rahm sending his kids to private schools. I have a
        problem with not giving everyone vouchers so they come closer to affording
        the same choice for their children.

    • Joe Shmo

      It is Chicago politics! Even at U of C- if you’re ‘important enough’, you get in. If you’re Joe Shmo, you’re S O L.

    • Steve

      That would be true if he wasn’t the mayor, but he is and he is ultimately responsible for the schools. So if they aren’t good enough for his kids, why are they good enough for anyone else’s kids?

    • Amy Enman


      In order to be a leader, you have to believe in what you say and do. If you do one thing and then insist that what you say is correct for others, you are a hypocrite. I am not saying to send his kids to public school but at the very least! make the education choice up to EVERY parent thru vouchers.

    • WatchCarefully

      Then politicians should not marry, should not have their families on the platform with them when they campaign or refer to them in speeches; should not be influenced by them; sleep with their wives, etc., etc. Of course this decision is part of who he is; inasmuch as he uses them for his platform and image.

      • BOOYAH

        He doesn’t , never has, never will, ever, give a rat’s @$$ about what anyone thinks about him. He is almost as arrogant, his lies are almost as proficient, and he has same solitary goal as Obama. That goal is to destroy what’s left of this country and at the same time keep his job. You can substitue Rahm Emanual’s name with just about any jerk in Congress or the Senate and the result will be the same. “Do as I say and not what I do” Lip service is their gift and they just keep on giving. F them all!

  • RetiredinAz1

    Quite a shame to see he does not have faith in the Public School System! And “no”…..John Q. Public’s children would not have an easy time obtaining enrollment at the lab school!

    • kelc

      Nobody has an easy time enrolling at Lab, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It has nothing to do with whether or not Rahm has faith in the CPS system, Lab School provides vast opportunities to those who are lucky enough to attend and there is no reason he shouldn’t open doors for his children, given his political and monetary success.

  • Larry

    Softball interview with Levine. Snore.

    I don’t care where Rahm’s kids go to school. That’s his business. The problem is the way he acted when asked about it weeks ago when he lied about it. The guy is just slimy. Gross.

    Also, I’ve heard that kids of CPD officers get to go to Devry or U of C for free if their CPD parent works security one day a week at these institutions. Wow. Just wow. How about blowing that one out into the open, media?

    • Lyndia

      Larry are you sure about that? WOW, that is a real kicker for you.

    • BOOYAH

      You never will get the truth when the truth is purposely being held from the public. Larry. 100% correct on this one. Want to see my neighbor’s diploma? It’s not a secret, but nobody knows about it. BTW. Most cops are the biggest law breakers. Poly tickers and pigs are cut from the same cloth except one takes the money from the public in the form a fines etc and the other ones put that same money in their pockets when we’re not looking.

  • Obama2012

    Am I surprised? No. However, I think it’s unfortunate that Rahm chose to send his kids to a private school. He lives down the street from a really great CPS elementary school. For high school, his kids could attend Northside College Prep. I truly believe that if parents send their kids to their local CPS school and take an active role in cultivating a relationship with the school, positive changes will happen. CPS schools are not inherently bad. Kids who attend CPS schools are not inherently bad. Collaboration between families, communities, and schools needs to happen. Rahm, make it happen. By choosing to send your kids to private school, you’re letting us know that you don’t have faith in your own city’s public school system. Real change takes hard work. For those who call CPS students, “rude and dumb children,” shame on you. For those of you who send your kids to private school, but wish you could send them to public school (if they were “better”), why don’t you volunteer at your local public school?

    • retiredinAZ1

      So TRUE! AMEN!

    • jackolantern

      Your right, but now what about that temper Rham?
      Now your not Obama’s personal attack dog, don’t you think walking away, then coming back to stick your face into a woman reporters face is a bit shall we say over the top?.
      Would you want this guy to be in charge of anything? let alone the Mayor of a large city?
      Hell No!.
      More examples of the Elite Dems sense of entitlement.
      I dont remember Bush either one, behaving like this, is this another example of one rule for the Dems and one for the Gop.

    • NOBAMA 2012 or ever

      We home schooled are three boys because the schools are so bad. We had to pay for our own courses and curriculum, as well as the outrageous school taxes. Boy 1 graduated from college with a 4.0 and will be attending the number 1 law school in the state. Boy 2 is beginning his Junior year of college with a 4.0. Boy 3 will be going in the fall of 2012. We were very involved and we have paid a huge price finantially. But our children are suceeding. Everyone has the option, they just don’t choose it. You really want to improve schools, get rid of the department of education, and put in compitition. School vouchers. Etc. Then you will see the school improve.

      • zkorth

        can you spell financially right? I’m really worried……Especially with spell check that you chose to ignore.

      • Obama2012

        I’m glad your boys received a sound education from one who writes, “We home schooled are three boys…” I’m happy your boys are “suceeding.” Ok, I’ll stop picking on your grammatical and spelling errors now.

  • Toonces

    Typical limousine Liberal. Yeah, keep on sopping up the ‘Democratic party is in tune with the average Joe’ baloney. News flash: the Dems care about nothing but lining their and their cronies’ pockets. You didn’t really think that his majesty would send his kids to school with mere mortals….

  • Unimpressed

    That’s going to be a long commute for his children, but, since he has been visiting some of these schools, the man probably knows what he is doing. It would be nice if the rest of us taxpayers could get school vouchers so that we could also have choices. The message I am getting is that my hard earned tax dollars will not really be gettting me an education worthy enough for “exceptionally smart” children, like Mr. Emmanuel’s.

    • Hazel Burke

      A commute never seems as long when it’s in the back of a limo with bodyguards present.

  • moron

    From team Obama and Democrats. NO vouchers in D.C. for children to go to private schools. Public schools for them, therefore the unions will continue their contributions to the Socialists! Over $20,000 per child in DC for the public school tab!

  • Bruce_Almty

    If they have the resources, why would anyone send their kids to a public school. Gov’t run education…..has there been a bigger failure???

  • Felix

    private schools- special insurance- waivers to friends for obamacare and tax deals-special pension- sounds like a typical Democrat poverty pimp to me- is this a shock to anyone with a brain?

    • Philip Wayne

      More Fox News talking points…just a lot of Blah, Blah , Blah, Blah.

  • Paul Scipio

    Of course, do what I say not as I do, typical National Socialist Progressive garbage

  • RS

    Why is it a news story that a Socialist wants socialism for everyone else (i.e. the “little people”) but feels that he and his family should be above it and be free to decide for themselves what it in their best interest? Leftist politicians sending their own children to private schools while blocking access for the “little people” at the behest of big labor (e.g. Obama, Clinton, Emanuel, etc.) should be about as much of a shock at this point as the lineup of redistributionist Democrats in the administration and Congress who are tax cheats.

  • http://www.fastnews.tv/?p=37801 CHICAGOLAND: Rahm gets testy about kid question, walks out... | Breaking News

    […] (First column, 8th story, link) Related stories: Like Obama, Emanuel rejects public schools for his children… […]

  • Anne

    All the best for them….the rest of you should eat cake that’s just what he is thinking.
    I feel for his children when they are grown they will know what a low life thier father was.

  • Stan

    Yeah, Judy, but he sent them there while lying about his opinion that the public school of the common little people were good. If he blieves that, then why aren’t his kids taking part in a public education? If he ddn’t beleive it, then why did he say he did? Oh yeah, another slime bag politician who decides what is good enough for US but continues to do what he wants.

  • Marsha

    Just goes to show, loves to preach how great the public schools are and everything they are doing to make them so much better but in the end just like all the RICH he puts his kids in an expensive ass private school. HYPOCRITE

    • WarPresident

      Well, unlike republicans who want to gut the public schools (see NJ’s slimy governor Chris Christie), democrats are at least trying to improve schools and funding. I don’t blame anyone who wants to do what they think is best for their children’s education. Gutting public schools, subsidizing private for-profit schools through voucher programs, trying to turn America into a Christian Theocracy… this is what the Republicans stand for.

      • jackolantern

        Not so, the underlying fact is the Dems have a sense of entitlement and arrogence that is usually displayed with a little veer of the scripted track or the unexpected.
        Obama walks off when pressed he gets into a “Huff” he used to have Rham to go on the attack and give him a chance to prevent the miscreant from taking a savaging from Rham, not so nowadays so whats he do pull off the mike and walk off.
        Rham does the same, but his temper gets the better of him more, he comes back and gets a snarl into the reporters face just like a thug.
        These two Obama and Rham were obviously a double act, I dont see any GOP people who need a symbiotic relationship to debate politics anywhere else.
        The whole Dem party smacks of Communism, and the sad thing is the ideals of the Dems are usually sound and make sense, except in practice, the not in my back yard way of doing things is not good enough, when are we going to get these betters of ours to practice what they preach?
        Rham a lam a ding dong could start by sending his offspring into the school system his voters came through and their kids too!
        Get off the high horse Rham a lam a ding dong and grow the hell up!

      • Common Sense


        If the Democrats are trying to help the Public School system, then why are the majority of the CPS Teachers who have children sending them to Private Schools?

        I will tell you why. Because Public schools are good enough for “us” but not good enough for them, the Elitist Liberal Democrats…….

        It seems that your intolerance and hate is blinding you from seeing things with a common sense point of view.

      • Fred Mitchell

        Vouchers do not gut public schools. It provides kids with an opportunity to get a quality education instead of being stuck in a dead in school which is not improving. These schools should close and be swept away. More funding is not the answer. We’ve thrown enough money at the situation. it is time to hold the administrators and teachers accountable at these schools and if they don’t take action, the school should not get anymore funding and should be closed.

        No private school that performs poorly would remain standing like the public schools our kids are forced to go to. Not everyone is a Rich white liberal elite.

      • Nivosum

        Not all private schools are connected to a church.

      • Obama2012

        Common Sense,
        You state, “why are the majority of the CPS Teachers who have children sending them to Private Schools?” Can you please provide a link to an article (or articles) where you are getting your information?

  • Poetx

    NJ governor Chris Christie said it best. It’s none of your business where they send their kids to school. That is a personal decision between he and his wife. I thought you Conservatives loved Christie’s abrasive answer to the NJ resident?

    • Tuttle

      Fine! I will put my money where my mouth is. Let’s institute a voucher system. If you like your Public School you can go there and if I choose (I thought you Liberal’s love Choice) a private school I can send my child to that school

    • xyz

      Conservatives have always been for school choice. Christie is not doing anything inconsistent or hypocritical.

    • Kim

      The difference is, Christie is not a lap dog for teachers’ unions and supports school choice. The Rahminator takes money from teachers and then spits in their faces and also denies others the same choices. That makes him a hypocrite.

  • Hazel Burke

    I have no problem where he sends his kids to school. My issue is the liberal hypocrisy. You take public transportation. They drive armored limousines. You use new, dull, expensive light bulbs, they swing from the chandeliers. You live in a tiny green house, they build mansions. You can’t have a gun to protect yourself, they get exceptions to carry. You’re supposed to accept diversity, they live in gated communities. And alas, you don’t get school vouchers and they send their kids to private schools.
    At least I don’t vote for the left year after year. Therefore I feel just in my righteous anger.

    • Herr Stig

      Well put!

    • WarPresident

      You’re describing the rich, not liberals. Do you vote for republicans year after year? How’s the last 10 years been for you? Didn’t work out so well, did it? Oh well, at least there’s a democrat to blame for the last few years of trying to dig out of 8 years of republican “leadership”…

      • Amy Enman

        Ah… let’s review. We have more illegal “wars” going on in the middle east than 4 years ago. We have a higher debt than ever before. We have a government that is the ONLY growing industry, we have rising fuel costs, rising food costs, and exactly what have the Dems done? BLAME BUSH!!!!

        This president has spat on every ally we have in Europe and supported sending guns to Mexico so our border patrol get killed! Rome burns while Nero parties and sips his wine…
        The goal is to break the back of America and have it join the NAU (North American Union)

      • healthnut

        Your Pretender in Chief has been in for 3 years now…how long will it take for you to get your head out of his butt? There is an extra war now and millions of people out of work. Leadership…Please…get a life!…Your smart a.. mayor is laughing at you all the way to the bank…with his millions taken out of Freddie & Fannie… his little mongrels cannot be seen with the likes of you morons.

  • Ron

    Gov. Chris Christie, responding to a voter question about where his children go to school, retorts with a blunt “none of your business.”

    • DeJordy

      Yes, but then he did answer, and unlike Democrats, he is not embarrassed about it. He was answering a union teacher. Christie doesn’t let the union have its way on everything, to the detriment of the schools, and then insist that everyone send their kids to public schools.

  • DeJordy

    Like there ever was any doubt. Democrat elites have one standard for you and one for them.

    • Nivosum

      Isn’t that two standards. One for them and one for you.

  • PoetX

    Here is Christie’s response:

    “It’s none of your business. I don’t ask you where you send your kids to school. I pay $38,000 in taxes for public schools that we don’t utilize. We believe, we have decided as parents we believe a religious education should be part of our children’s education. Third, I, as governor, am responsible for every child in this state, not just my own. The decisions i make are to improve the educational opportunities. With all due respect, it’s none of your business.”

  • stan alto

    The Bully was childishly intolerant of a question which could have easily been answered w/o exposing his privacy. A simple explanation of his reasoning and his escape from the INADEQUATE PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM would have satisfied everyone. But remaining consistent with his liberal values — when confronted with his embarrassing hypocritical position, he felt cornered and lashed out at the messenger.

    I think a good explanation would have also reinforced our understanding of his philosophy that PUBLIC SCHOOLS AREN’T FOR EVERYONE.

  • PoetX

    When Republican Christie made a decision with his wife where to send their kids to school, it was praised by Republicans. When Obama or Rahm do it, they are criticized. Hypocrisy at its best.

    • xyz

      Conservatives unlike liberals have always been for school choice. Christie is not doing anything inconsitent or hypocritical.

  • Gibson

    As a chicago resident I too sent my children to private schools, I budgeted and save to send them there. My choice. I do not object to Rahm sending his children to a private, there is also a safety issue that goes with those children. It is not our call on where they send their children.

  • Tuttle

    Once again proving the point that Socialism is not for the Socialist. It is for everyone else!!

  • PoetX

    If Rahm would have responded the way Christie did, the Repubs here would have jumped all over it.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live