The BGA sued to get Mayor Emanuel’s private emails because public officials are not supposed to use private email for business matters. Chicago Public Schools were a recurring topic in these emails.
It is not clear what may have been withheld from this email dump. Numerous prominent CPS issues either are mentioned either minimally or not at all: the 50 school closings, the unfunded longer day, Aramark, and only a brief reference to Barbara Byrd Bennett.
As a whole, however, the emails show the access to and influence on the Mayor that the most prominent supporters of education privatization in Chicago have— John Rowe, Ken Griffin, Bruce Rauner, the Pritzker family, Frank Clark.
Some education-related highlights in the ~2700 pages of emails that were released:
Bruce Rauner and the Mayor emailed regularly around education policy and other areas in his first term, and Rauner was closely involved in setting up meetings on ed policy, inviting high-ranking CPS employees, such as Tim Cawley, and BoE members to join him. (See pages 39-43, 337, 452.) Rauner advised the Mayor to have CPS teachers take the ACT yearly and have schools publish teachers’ average scores every year, as well as student scores, and said “this will lay the groundwork for constant measurement and reporting (like all great organizations do) so that when cps rolls out student growth grades for teachers and schools, the psychological shock will not be as big and we'll be set for a whole new ballgame.” (p.41) Luckily, this suggestion was ignored.
Frank Clark made reference to the 2012 strike (p. 557) and said, while it was unfortunate that teachers put themselves before students, it would provide an opportunity for the media and general public to focus in another direction, on charter schools, which he then went on to claim were superior to district schools. Note: you weren’t imagining it, our Board has a bias towards charter schools!
There’s an interesting exchange (p. 1148) between Alderman Joe Moore and the Mayor on Noble trying to move into Rogers Park, another case where an elected claims neutrality in public, but not in private.
You can read and search all the emails here.