This snippet, from Governing‘s cover feature profiling new Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, helps to illustrate the danger of a public education narrative framed by defeatism and a lack of creativity in approaching challenges:
[Former Mayor] Daley managed to convince not only Chicago residents, but also businesses that expended millions at his behest that it was worth investing in what had been a miserable public school system. Daley put billions into school construction and helped pave the way for a host of reform ideas that are now being promoted nationally by his former schools chief, Arne Duncan, Obama’s secretary of education. “If Daley hadn’t changed the tone about what could be accomplished, there would have been a taxpayer revolt,” says Alderman Patrick O’Connor.
There are no easy solutions to our country’s long-standing educational inequities. And it’s wrong to pretend otherwise. But, if we want support for public education, the voters must perceive that improvement is possible–and that new investments aren’t just more of the same.