As much as the Gentry Class* ( affluent, professional, college-diploma Progressives) hate to recognize it, Chicago is a Catholic city. Catholics tend to vote Democratic even though Catholics are about as welcome in the Progressively controlled Democratic Party as a Lesbian Methodist Minister at a Taliban goat-roast after Ramadan.
Catholics belong to a Faith that remains committed to the sacrament of marriage and defends life from conception to the Hospice. Ethnic Catholics tend to go into the military, take careers in Law Enforcement, become home-owners and tax-payers. Catholics are saddled with a Church hierarchy that until only recently took its eye off the ball where children are concerned and almost universally kissed the botox-ed fannies of Planned Parenthood and its Democratic Party minions;too many in the Catholic clergy tried to become Unitarian ministers with better perks, tax-loop holes, residences and cover from accountability.
Nevertheless, the pews remain full in Catholic neighborhoods and the children go to Catholic schools that out-perform public schools across the board.
Charter Schools fit nicely in the Progressive pattern of John Dewey education, but aped the veneer of the hall-marks of Catholic schools: selective enrollment, uniforms, uniform discipline codes, Mission Statements, teacher accountability, and do more in the classroom with few dollars. Charter Schools, even the very best ones like the Noble Street models, are not Catholic Schools.
Charter Schools get tax-dollars and Catholic Schools do not.
Because Charter Schools get State tax-dollars, Public Service unions directed by SEIU pushed teacher unions to agitate for unionization in Charter Schools. The door to that was kicked wide open in 2009. Charter Schools are public schools and over the years to come will be dominated by the teachers unions who helped create the mess that is public education.
Catholic Schools and the fewer Lutheran, Dutch Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Independent Schools operate on tuition and money from fund raising. Catholic cops, firemen, streets and sanitation workers, skilled trades union members, nurses and public school teachers in tax-targeted middle class neighborhoods send their children to Catholic Schools - because their kids will receive faith-rooted moral instruction, discipline, accountability, feed-back, and self-esteem.
Empirically speaking, I see thousand of teens wearing Mount Carmel, St. Rita, Marist, Notre Dame, St. Gregory, Gordon Tech, Leo, Maria, and Our Lady of Tepeyac sports wear.
N.B. I must give a shout out to the Green and Gold of St. Patrick High School on the north side in celebration of its Centenial and a Half of service to Chicago!
I have yet to experience the sight of young people sporting Simeon, Dunbar, Hubbard, or Whitney Young caps, hoodies, or t-shirts.
Kids represent. When they are proud of the association with their school's history, record of achievement and street cred they brand themselves, Mom and Dad, Grannie and Gramps and the extended family and neighbors with Maroon and Orange of Brother Rice, Brown and Vanilla Mount Carmel, the Blue and White of Maria, Red, White and Gold of Mother McAuley, Blue and Crimson of St. Rita, the Orange and Grey of Gordon Tech and of course the Orange and Black of Leo.
Today in a very cogent and practically articulated article John Kass of Chicago Tribune offers a sound bit of advice to Mayor Rahm Emanuel - get behind School Choice Vouchers and now. Here is the impact point - Chicago's tax-base send their kids to Catholic schools -middle class families black, white and Hispanic - with great personal sacrifice: they pay tuition twice, because they are required to live within the City limits:
. . . And under the restrictive — and selectively interpreted — residency laws, Chicago schools have a captive middle class. Cops and firefighters and city workers and teachers must live in the city to keep their jobs.
They can't leave town and raise their kids in the suburbs, even if they keep a house address in Chicago. The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that a presidential chief of staff, living in Washington, with kids in Washington, can be considered a resident of Chicago. But don't be naive enough to think this standard would apply to others.
So if students can't be squeezed into top magnet high schools, the parents are compelled to fork over more than they can afford for parochial education. Or leave the city.
This sets up an unequal, two-tiered system, with limited resources. And in a city so historically corrupt, the dispensing of limited resources has predictable and cynical outcomes.
In March 2010, for example, the Tribune reported on the VIP list maintained by Chicago Public Schools. A nephew of former Mayor Richard Daley's lobbied to get a political supporter's two daughters into an elite high school. And there were other reports that Chicago politicians — including a so-called reform alderman — tried to clout their own children into select schools.
Those who win a spot in the excellent magnet schools sing the system's praises and lavish the politicians with praise and votes. And those who don't are abandoned to fate.
Certainly Rahm knows this. And, I'd like to think, it's what truly angers him.
John Kass is a public school guy, but John Kass is not a member of the Gentry Class. He is a blue-collar ink-slinger.
The Gentry Class control the Media. The Gentry Class controls Democratic Party and very sizeable number of GOP elected officials. The Progressive agendas present a steady diet of empty rhetorical memes - a Buffet of Bullshit.
Most people take a pass on the offerings under these sneeze guards, but their elected officials for whom they continue to vote wolf the offerings down.
Rahm Emanuel needs to serve up Vouchers, Chicago needs Catholic schools and their non-Catholic cousins: Lutheran, Dutch Christian, Hebrew, Muslim and Independent schools.
Chicago is still a Catholic city and Chicago Catholics have had enough from the Gentry Class Progressive Buffet.
* from Joel Kotkin:
Gentry liberalism combines four basic elements: faith in postindustrial "creative" financial capitalism, cultural liberalism, Gore-ite environmentalism and the backing of the nation's arguably best-organized political force, public employee unions. Obama rose to power on the back of all these forces and, until now, has governed as their tribune.
Obama's problems stem primarily from gentry liberalism's class contradictions. Focused on ultra-affluent greens, the media, Wall Street and the public sector, gentry liberalism generally gives short shrift to upward mobility, the basic aspiration of the middle class.