Rahm Emanuel wasted no words in discussing the schooling of his children with Chicago reporter Mary Anne Ahern on Wednesday; there was some question at the time as to who was bullying whom! Emanuel’s children, Zach, Ilana, and Leah will be attending a University of Chicago linked “laboratory school” in Chicago suburban Hyde Park. In theory, a laboratory school is an educational institution wherein new and evolving theories of education are employed, the resulting impact on the student body analyzed, and the information gathered to be used to improve education methods for all present and future students.
Educational research and experimentation is stressed, and new aspiring teachers are given the opportunity to monitor and teach in classroom situations. In fact, the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools – the upper classes designated “U High” – is one of the highest ranked preparatory schools in the United States, with half the students having a parent on the University of Chicago faculty.
Mary Anne Ahern, a television reporter for NBC Channel 5 News, was pressuring Emanuel on the issue of his choice of schools for his children. We recall that during Rahm Emanuel’s Mayoral campaign earlier this year, he was asked if the public schools in Chicago were “good enough” for his children. At that time he declined to say where they would be sent. In the Wednesday, July 21, interview the question was still in evidence. Ahern was insistent. She re-stated a position that city officials who send their children to private schools have “No stake in Chicago’s public schools.” She said that the Mayor’s adamant refusal to discuss the issue amounted to bullying. Emanuel too would not be bullied. He rose and walked out of the interview, saying, “I care deeply for my family. I don’t care about you!”
Some might consider that the children of major players on the world stage might, if sent to nearby neighborhood schools, be confronted with intimidation. In fact, while residing in the Chicago area, President Barack Obama sent his two daughters, Sasha and Malia Obama, to the University of Chicago lab school.
Tuition at the prestigious school in Hyde Park runs from $22,000 for each year in the lower grades, to $25,000 for the high-school years. The school has been educating students since 1896, and has a diverse student population. Currently 44 nationalities are represented; about 60% of the students are considered “white,” with about 35% students of color.