Goin’ To Chicago… Sorry But I Can’t Take You

I brought some big questions with me to the Windy City—and I need your help in order to answer them…

DYETTWhen I visited Chicago last spring I learned something that really surprised me. And I’m not just talking about the fact that Chicagoans have more than 5,000 different ways of insulting Mayor Rahm Emanuel. (He’s a what????) Virtually everyone I talked to—parents, teachers, community leaders—told me that the closure of 50 neighborhood schools was about more than just the future of public education in Chicago, but the question of who gets to live in a city that’s rapidly becoming richer and whiter. I couldn’t wait to return to find out more. But I need some assistance in order to delve more deeply into how big money education reform and what Mayor Emanuel is fond of calling *the New Chicago* connect—and that’s where you come in.

The hard part
First, the hard part. No—not the part where I hit you up for money. (That’s the next paragraph). This is where I confess to having been unbelievably sad about my friend Karen Lewis. You see, I wasn’t just excited about the prospect of Karen running for mayor, I was ready to move back to the Heartland to work on her campaign. Oh sure, there were a few small inconveniences to be overcome—one’s marriage, for example—but that seemed a small price to pay. So when I learned that she has a bigger battle before her than Rahm Emanuel, I felt devastated. I shed some tears, and then I settled into what the man to whom I’m technically married refers to as my *monkey face.* (Trust me: it’s not a good look.) But you know what Karen Lewis can’t stand? Mopers. And I imagine that she will tell me that herself when I see her.

Lessons learned
Since I started blogging about the end of public education two years ago, I’ve learned a thing or two, including that when you travel around and listen to what people have to say about what’s happening in their communities, you can end up with the sort of stories that no one else is telling. But there’s one thing I have yet to figure out: how to pay for the work I’m so passionate about. When I visit places like Chicago, I rely on the extraordinary generosity of teachers and parents. [Advance shout out to everyone who’ll be spotting me snacks and drinks in the coming days—much appreciated!] To dig deeper into the kinds of questions that feel so important to me though, I need to figure out a more sustained strategy than just disappearing into the ladies room whenever I spot the check coming (!) So I’m trying something new.

Help a sister out
I’m working with Beacon Reader, a new independent platform for journalists. My goal is to raise $3000 in the next 10 days. Here’s how it works. You subscribe to my writing for as little as $5 a month. The more you chip in, the more *special* your reward will be. Back me at the $250 level and, in addition to a year-long subscription to everything I write, you’ll get premium EduShyster Academy swag from my exclusive Teach Minus collection. For $500, I’ll gratefully expose the education reform fraud of your choice. And for the lucky *gold supporter* who contributes $1000, I’ll even come to your town. What an offer! Back my project here and if you have any questions, drop me a line at tips@haveyouheardblog.com.

Now I’m off to visit some neighborhoods…