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Rahm To Trump: Stop 'Running Down' Chicago Schools, Students

 Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded to President Trump's comments about Chicago students and their academic performance.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded to President Trump's comments about Chicago students and their academic performance.
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DNAinfo/Tanveer Ali

NEAR WEST SIDE — Mayor Rahm Emanuel Wednesday angrily demanded that President Donald Trump stop "running down" Chicago's schools.

Pounding the lectern with his fist at an event to tout his proposal to require students to have a have a post-high school plan in place before they graduate, Emanuel called Trump's statements on Tuesday "fake news."

"It would be helpful if we didn’t run down our kids, we didn’t run down our schools, we didn’t run down our teachers and our principals, but held them up, because they are leading the country in ACT gains, graduation gains, math gains and reading gains," Emanuel said. "I am immensely proud that, against great odds, these kids are accomplishing great things.”

During a conversation with business executives at the White House Tuesday, Trump extolled the virtues of charter schools in response to question about what the federal government can do to train the next generation of workers.

“If you look at so many elements of education, and it’s so sad to see what’s coming — what’s happening in the country," Trump said. “Even the numbers, as good — you say we’re doing better, but the numbers in New York, the numbers in Chicago are very rough. The numbers in Los Angeles — the cities — it’s a very rough situation."

White House Director of Media Affairs Helen Aguirre Ferre said the president was responding to a question regarding high school graduation rates in New York and the percentage of those students prepared to attend college or get a meaningful job after graduation.

Those numbers are terrible, Aguirre Ferre said.

Emanuel made a point of blasting the president himself Wednesday — even after his office issued a statement condemning Trump's remarks on Tuesday.

“The President of the United States is allowed to have fake news," Emanuel said. "But, the facts are the facts about the city of Chicago. I would not call it 'rough.'"

The mayor said he was "immensely proud" of the accomplishments of Chicago's students, acknowledging that many face serious challenges.

Armed with copies of studies by the University of Chicago that Emanuel said proved Chicago students were making great strides, the mayor said he would send them to Education Secretary Besty DeVos, a supporter of charter schools.

Emanuel said it was disappointing that Trump shares the view of Gov. Bruce Rauner, who once referred to Chicago's schools as "crumbling prisons."

Rauner and Emanuel have been at loggerheads for months over state funding for Chicago schools.