News Round Up • Rahm Tries to Set New Graduation Requirement, Cook County Judge Murdered & More


Rahm Emanuel Proposes Requiring Acceptance Letter to Graduate

While the Chicago Public Schools continue to grapple with ways to close a several hundred-million dollar funding gap, it appears the Mayor is looking to add more roadblocks for students looking to get a diploma. At a morning press conference last Wednesday Mayor Rahm Emanuel told reporters that he thought it was a good idea to require CPS students to present a letter of acceptance from a college or "military, or a trade or a 'gap-year' program." 

"Just like you do with your children, college, post-high school, that is what's expected," Emanuel said at the news conference. "If you change expectations, it's not hard for kids to adapt."

While Emanuel reasoned that the move would make CPS students not see high school as the end of the education experience, it flies in the face of the general attitudes towards both graduation requirements and college in general. It's already wild that we assume 18-year-olds to make decisions that will affect the rest of their life and to add more weight to that transition could only serve to make the act of attending school and getting an education all the less attractive. At a time when the city and it's leaders should be focusing on ways to get more money to schools and raising graduation rates at high schools in every neighborhood, the mayor instead has proposed a piece of junk that will only serve to make it harder for students to get a diploma by adding yet another hoop to jump through in a week that saw the state of New York declare public universities free for residents.

There are still questions as to the legality of the proclamation and it wouldn't go into effect until 2020, but the statements last Wednesday still have those across the city talking.

"I've been doing this for 20 years and I've never heard of anything like that," said Maria Ferguson, executive director of the Washington D.C.- based Center on Education Policy in a recent Chicago Tribune story. "The question I would have for Mayor Emanuel is: 'Where did this come from? What informed your thinking to lead you to believe that this was a good plan of action for CPS?'"

Cook County Judge Murdered at His Roseland Home

As if it seemed the city's problems couldn't get any wilder, this week struck fear in the hearts of plenty of Chicagoans after an assailant shot Associate Judge Raymond Myles in front of his home, injuring a woman he was with in the process. The shooting ocurred in the Roseland neighborhood on Monday and so far no arrests have been made, although police announced Wednesday that they had a "person of interest". 

The shooting occurred just before 5 AM on Monday morning and appeared to be a botched robbery, according to officials. The judge reportedly had surveillance equipment on his home, but so far the footage has yielded no arrests.

"Judge Raymond Myles was a well-respected and long-serving jurist, and we mourn his tragic loss," Emanuel said.

ACLU Continues to Fight Downtown Street Musician Crackdown

It appears even the latest draft by downtown residents to quiet the city's streets is still not enough for the ACLU, which called the revised plan "draconian" and deemed it illegal. 

"The city should not impose these new restrictions on street performers, and should instead eliminate the current permit requirement and the prohibition on performances in Millennium Park," Glenberg wrote.

The ongoing spat has been back and forth between downtown residents upset with street musicians, a staple of Chicago that has long been a tradition along the city's streets in the Loop. As the 9-5'ers briskly walk down State St., Michigan Ave or Wabash towards trains, buses and rideshares, musicians of all types typically line the sidewalks with instruments, amps and microphones to deliver DIY performances and make the commute a bit more fun. Apparently, in the new, yuppified downtown of Rahm Emanuel, music has no place. 

Downtown residents have been pushing to get the musicians off the streets with several proposed ordinances which have garnered opposition from both Emanuel and the ACLU. 

According to DNAInfo: "The proposed regulations — which would restrict when musicians can play in an area bounded by Michigan Avenue and Dearborn Street as well as Oak and Van Buren streets — will have its first hearing at 11 a.m. Thursday at City Hall.

The ordinance would limit musicians who amplify their sound or play an instrument that produces a "sharp percussive sound" to only play between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., as well as from 5 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturdays, according to the measure."

Uber Driver Shot in Chinatown 

An Uber driver is recovering after being shot in the leg while giving a passenger a ride through the Chinatown neighborhood on the near south side on Tuesday afternoon. 

A 41-year-old woman was driving on the 300 block of west Cermak road when a driver pulled up alongside her car and let out several shots. The woman was hit in the leg and transported to Northwestern Hospital where she was listed in good condition. The passenger was not harmed in the incident and no one is currently in custody.

“We’ve spoken to the driver, and we are grateful and relieved she is doing OK,” said Uber spokeswoman Kayla Whaling in an emailed statement.