Duncan rigged school admissions for political allies

This is a huge scandal, even for Chicago. Isn’t it? Or is it okay for the politically well-connected to get special treatment?

While many Chicago parents took formal routes to land their children in the best schools, the well-connected also sought help through a shadowy appeals system created in recent years under former schools chief Arne Duncan.

Whispers have long swirled that some children get spots in the city’s premier schools based on whom their parents know. But a list maintained over several years in Duncan’s office and obtained by the Tribune lends further evidence to those charges. Duncan is now secretary of education under President Barack Obama.

The log is a compilation of politicians and influential business people who interceded on behalf of children during Duncan’s tenure. It includes 25 aldermen, Mayor Richard Daley’s office, House Speaker Michael Madigan, his daughter Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.

Non-connected parents, such as those who sought spots for their special-needs child or who were new to the city, also appear on the log. But the politically connected make up about three-quarters of those making requests in the documents obtained by the Tribune. . .

The list surfaced amid a federal probe and an internal investigation into admissions practices at the city’s top high schools. Until Monday, the district had not revealed it had kept such a list. . .

Pickens [a former aide to Duncan] acknowledged the list was kept confidential. The vast majority of parents who follow the system’s school application process never knew they could appeal to Duncan’s office for special consideration.

“We didn’t want to advertise what we were doing because we didn’t want a bunch of people calling,” Pickens said.

They didn’t want a bunch of people calling. The appeals process wasn’t for them.

(Via Hot Air.)

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