Why Rahm Decided to Kill a Plan to Name a School After Obama

The mayor was his chief of staff. The city was one he represented in the Illinois Statehouse and the United States Senate. He maintains a home there while he serves as leader of the free world. Yet the first attempt to name a school after President Obama has failed, and for reasons that have everything to do with politics. Local ones.

“Over the last few months, my team has listened to questions and concerns from the community, ranging from location of the building to the naming of the school," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "We take that community input seriously, which is why—as we continue to look for a thoughtful way to honor President Obama—we will look for other possible names for this future school."

There would have been nothing wrong with honoring the president, even if Chicago schools generally aren't named for living people. But the school will be built north of Madison Street, the dividing line between Chicago's North and South Sides. People on the city's heavily black South Side thought that if there were a school named after Obama, it should be located on their side of town. 

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