If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, Come Sit Next to Me

Jean Claude BrizardThe head of Chicago’s public schools, Jean Claude Brizard, says that he “applauds” Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to send his kids to private school.

Okay, I get that this is politics and he can’t openly criticize the mayor. But applause?  How about “It’s none of my business”? Or “no comment”?

And how does Brizard square that applause with this?

It’s really his decision and I don’t think anyone should question what he’s doing for his family and every parent should have that choice.

Okay, so if the mayor’s choices for his kids are off limits, why should we applaud them? Why not, you know, maintain a respectful—and judgmental—silence?


  1. BREE ROBIN July 22, 2011 at 10:39 am | #

    this is definitely a “silence is golden” moment. hbr

    • Gordon Lafer July 22, 2011 at 1:44 pm | #

      This is not a time for silence. Rahm’s position is unconscionable. He’s supporting cuts to the school system. Where he sends his kids says this: defunded public schools are good enough for other people’s kids, but not for mine – because my kids deserve the best, and it’s ok for other kids to have shitty education. Parenthood should be the ultimate equalizer – that when you have kids of your own, you recognize the preciousness of all kids. But it’s not. Assholes like Rahm actively condemn hundreds of thousands of other families kids to conditions they find unacceptable for their own. That’s not neutral, it’s awful. And it is in fact, personal — but not in the way Rahm means, i.e. by being off limits, but just the opposite. It’s personal for EVERYONE who has a kid – nothing is more personal than this. It’s personal in the way that it demands personal accountability from Emanuel.

      • blackdemocrat January 5, 2012 at 11:57 am | #

        I agree Gordon.

        This reminds me of the feelings I had when President Obama decided to send his girls to a private school. It definitely says that public schools are not good enough to send his kids too, but the rest of us are “on our own”. You would think that this would spark a desire to change the system but, all we get are more cuts.

        I guess that’s how it is at the top.

        Sorry i’m new to the blog..sorry for the late response 🙂

      • dennyli January 20, 2012 at 11:15 am | #

        @ Blackdemocrat: At the time of the decision, I agreed with commentators that private schools had the ability to deal with security issues presented by enrolling the children of the President of the United States that public schools don’t. But the more I think about it, the more it becomes apparent that it was a huge missed opportunity for public education in this country.

        Sure vamping up security at the schools and having the Secret Service follow the girls around would have caused disruptions, but the inconvenience and disruption are vastly outweighed by the benefits of having the President of the United States personally invested in public education because his daughters are enrolled in public schools. For one, I don’t believe he would have supported increased testing in schools.

        Anyway, I found a great link under “Literature” that has Diane Ravitch discussing the dismal status of education in this country… I only wish there was someway of deleting Wendy Kopp commentary.

        (I wasn’t able to leave a reply under your comment -I’m new here, too.)

  2. sioned wiliam July 24, 2011 at 3:57 am | #

    This is a debate that’s going on in the UK too and all the same arguments are endlessly rehearsed with much hand wringing and ‘well you see there are NO good schools in our area’. Alan Bennet says the only answer is to shut down all the public schools (i.e the private ones) and I think he’s right. Our system is monstrously unfair – all children deserve a decent education.

    British Public schools are responsible for producing most of members of the current government (and let’s not forget Tony Blair and several other Labour grandees).
    This pretty much speaks for itself

  3. Dan Plonsey January 19, 2012 at 1:52 am | #

    What’s really galling is that it’s impossible to imagine that the “reforms” being forced upon public schools — in particular, longer school day — make those schools more attractive to Rahm and other paternalistic reformers. That is, he’s not just rejecting so-called “failing” schools, he’s rejecting the very “reforms” he deems appropriate for less fortunate people’s kids. Rahm deliberately pushes the children of Chicago in one direction, while pushing his own children in the opposite.

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