AVALON PARK — The mayor said Tuesday he is unfazed by teachers' union threats to make him pay at the ballot box for closing public schools.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that while others play politics, he's busy governing, focusing "like a laser" on education.
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis threatened this week to launch a citywide voter registration drive to unseat politicians who back school closings if they go through as expected at the May Board of Education meeting.
"When the board rubber stamps this destructive program on Wednesday, that following Thursday we are going back into the streets with an aggressive comprehensive voter registration and education campaign,” Lewis said. “We will go door to door in neighborhoods where people’s schools have been shut down and their jobs have been lost."
"I have all the confidence in our teachers," Emanuel responded Tuesday. "I have all the confidence in our principals. I have confidence in our administrators as well as the board, and I know where I am. So if others wants to focus on politics, they have every right to.
"I am focused on our children," he added. "And I will continue to be focused on that, and I think it's the right thing to do."
Emanuel pointed out the next city election is still two years away and said he expected all public employees in Chicago Public Schools to do their jobs.
"Every day will be spent focusing on the education of our children and making sure they're prepared and ready for the future," Emanuel said at a news conference promoting Internet access for low-income families. "Now other people have the right, obviously, to focus on politics. My responsibility is to the public [and] is to make sure our kids are getting an education and ready for the future. And that's where I'm going to spend my time and that's where I'm going to spend my energy.
"We don't have a day to waste in making sure that they're prepared," he added.