Disclaimer: this post is spurred on by excitement and passion, rather than actual vetting and factual knowledge.
I’m in a position I’ve not been in before. After hearing a radio interview with the guy, and reading about him, I think I found a candidate for mayor of Chicago that I’d actually be excited to vote for. Someone I’d plant lawn signs for. Someone I’d man a phone-bank for. Someone I’d wear a button for. Someone I’d host a coffee for. President & CEO of Urban Prep, a network of all-boys public schools serving low-income neighborhoods, Tim King.
As someone who’s been entrenched in the public school system since I graduated college ten years ago, as a program manager at a non-profit that taught literacy, as a volunteer, as a board member, and as a digital media teacher, I’ve heard Tim’s name various times over the years, all in positive contexts. None more than this summer, as his school achieved a wondrous feat — 100% of the 2010 class, the school’s first graduating class, is college-bound. Considering where these young men started academically [only 4% of them were reading at or above grade level freshman year] and considering all the hurdles that come with their home circumstances [85% come from low-income households situated in struggling communities], that’s an amazing accomplishment. My eyes teared up when I saw the photo above of the young men finding out that they were ALL going to college.
From the surface, it seems like he’s done a wonderful job at Urban Prep and has created a public-school model that should be replicated nationally. In the radio interview, he came across as a balanced listener and speaker, a leader people respect and want to follow, and an intelligent, innovative, caring, and warm human being.
When asked if he’d consider running, he didn’t say yes. But he didn’t say no. Typical politician. Except that that’s the only way he seems to be a typical politician. A breath of fresh air. Which is what Chicago desperately needs post-Blago, and Ryan, and Stroger and…
“Mayor King, City of Chicago” — I like it.