CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said a recent poll showing most voters are unhappy with how Mayor Rahm Emanuel is handling the Chicago Public Schools reveals “pushback for … failed policies” such as the controversial closing of nearly 50 schools.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Lewis, who is considering a run for mayor, said it’s not a tough call to close 50 schools in predominantly African-American neighborhoods, as the mayor and Chicago Board of Education did last year.
She said the closings affect people with little political power, and the public sees it.
“We’re looking at parents who are saying, ‘We remained silent during these 50 school closings, because you said you were going to rearrange resources to address some of our needs, and those needs are not only not being met, our budgets are being slashed.’ So we are seeing pushback for these failed policies,” she said.
A Chicago Tribune poll showed 65 percent of registered voters disapproved of the mayor’s handling of public schools, and only 25 percent approved.
His overall approval rating wasn’t much better, with 52 percent of Chicago voters dissatisfied with the job he’s done, and only 35 percent approved.
Lewis said Emanuel’s approval ratings are no surprise.
“People feel absolutely unimpressed with what this man claimed he could do,” she said.
The same survey found Lewis leading Emanuel in a head-to-head matchup, 43 percent to 39 percent, with 14 percent undecided.
Still mulling a run for mayor, Lewis suggested what should be done
“What we’re seeing in Chicago is still an absolute refusal on the part of the Board of Education to focus in on the wraparound services that are needed for our children,” she said. “We have got to have some sort of plan to prioritize resources.”
Lewis is the guest on this weekend’s edition of “At Issue,” airing 9:30 p.m. Sunday.