School & District Management

Chicago Mayor Backtracks on Naming School After President Obama

By Denisa R. Superville — September 19, 2014 1 min read
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Mayor Rahm Emanuel will not name a planned high school on the city’s Near North Side after his former boss, President Barack Obama.

Emanuel backed off plans to name the school after Obama on Thursday after ongoing criticism—particularly from the African-American community with whom he has an already fraught relationship stemming from massive school closures a year ago, which disproportionately affected African-Americans.

The school, which would have been called the Barack Obama Preparatory High School, is planned for a predominantly Caucasian community near the site of the former Cabrini-Green public housing development, according to the Chicago Tribune.

South Side politicians argued that it would make more sense to locate a school named after Obama in the neighborhood where he started his career as a community organizer or in the Hyde Park neighborhood where he lived before moving to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the Tribune reported.

Emanuel will now consider other names for the selective enrollment high school. The administration is also looking for a new site for the school. Parents who live near the originally proposed site weren’t too thrilled about the location, either, the paper reported. They argued that it would take away from a neighborhood park and that it was close to an elementary school where parking is a problem.

Citywide, parents complained that the selective enrollment high school was also going to be in close proximity to another of Chicago’s high-performing schools, Walter Payton College Preparatory High School.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.