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CTU chief: Rahm gives up on many Chicago kids

Updated: April 1, 2012 8:17AM

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said Tuesday that Mayor Rahm Emanuel told her a quarter of the city’s public school students “are never going to amount to anything’’ and he won’t “throw resources at them” — comments Emanuel quickly denied through a spokeswoman.

Lewis told the Chicago Sun-Times she was “stunned’’ when Emanuel told her, over dinner, that “25 percent of these kids are never going to be anything. They are never going to amount to anything. And I’m not going to throw resources at them.’’

The comments came at her first private meeting with Emanuel before his May inauguration, Lewis said.

Emanuel “did not say that,’’ mayoral spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton countered Tuesday. “Nor does he believe that, which is evident in his actions to improve our schools for all children.’’

Lewis said that “evidence’’ that the mayor’s comments came months later, when his handpicked CPS Chief Administrative Officer, Tim Cawley, told reporters that CPS would not put repair dollars into a school with “a chance’’ of closure in five or 10 years. But Cawley said CPS likes the “bang” for the “capital buck” when physical building improvements coincide with academic turnarounds or other fresh academic starts.

Local School Council members this month cited Cawley’s comments in a lawsuit seeking to block the latest batch of school turnarounds, closings and phaseouts.

“Tim [Cawley] never intended those comments to be construed as they were,’’ CPS spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler said Tuesday. “We are clearly committed to investing in all of our schools regardless of their performance levels to support the academic success of our students.” Cawley did not return phone calls Tuesday seeking further clarification.

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