Betsy DeVos, Mayor Emanuel Talk Chicago Education, Reforms in DC

Emanuel and DeVos reportedly spoke about Chicago’s education system, graduation rates and the mayor’s reform plans. (Chicago Tonight)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos met in the nation’s capital for a “wide ranging” discussion Wednesday morning that centered on the road ahead for Chicago education.

In a meeting held at the Department of Education’s LBJ Building in Washington, D.C., Emanuel and DeVos spoke about Chicago’s education system, graduation rates and the mayor’s reform plans, according to a U.S. Department of Education statement.

“I want to thank Mayor Emanuel for today’s conversation and for sharing his vision for education in the city of Chicago,” DeVos said in a statement.

“I look forward to continuing to find ways in which the Department can work with the Mayor’s office to ensure the students of Chicago receive access to the highest quality education possible. I applaud the Mayor for Chicago’s rising high school graduation rates and commitment to providing more students new opportunities through dual enrollment programs.”

A request for comment from Emanuel's office was not immediately returned. Chicago Public Schools declined comment on the meeting, but did note its dual enrollment program has grown from 15 schools up to 60 over the past five years and currently serves more than 4,200 district students. 

Before their meeting was announced, the mayor said he planned to send a pair of studies from the UChicago Consortium on School Research to both DeVos and President Donald Trump detailing improvements in CPS graduation and college persistence rates.

That came after Trump was quoted as saying graduation and college and career readiness numbers in Chicago and other major cities are “very rough,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Last week, Emanuel also introduced a new graduation initiative for CPS students, requiring high school grads to have a postsecondary plan in place in order to earn their diploma. If approved by the Board of Education, that program will take effect beginning with 2020 graduates.

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