Daley Wants Teachers to Lead Return of Middle Class

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Granger

Daily Herald columnist Bill Granger joined Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley in the mayor's city hall office to talk about Daley's ideas for luring the middle class back to Chicago. In the first of four parts, Granger reports Daley's call for requiring Chicago school teachers to live in the city.

Tuesday: Daley's ideas for more jobs, better schools.

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley wants to revive a long-dead school board policy to make Chicago teachers live in the city.

Daley told me that "people who work for the Board of Education should have to live in the city."

He said past boards have exempted so many teachers from the requirement that the policy has been abandoned. He said it would not be abandoned in the future.

Tens of thousands of Chicago public school teachers, principals, administrators and other office personnel in the bureaucracy now make their living from educating city kids while living in the suburbs.

A change in school policy would create a major upheaval in both the city and suburbs.

"There should not be any exemptions (to a residency requirement)," Daley said last week in a wide-ranging interview on his plans to entice the middle class back into living in Chicago.

"You can work here for the board and it's a good job, a very good job. You work for the board, you should live here," he said.

Chicago has required that police, fire and city workers all live in the city. The policy was started by Daley's father and it has had a significant effect on creating middle class neighborhoods throughout the city.

The mayor wanted to talk about the disappearing middle class in Chicago but he did so without any suburban prejudices. He said urban unrest in the 1960s led many to flee the city for the safety of suburbs and that the times had changed.

"A lot of suburban kids now want to live in the city and that's good," he said. "But it's important that city and suburban areas are strong together and that one is not weaker and one is not stronger.

"You cannot allow one part of the metropolitan area to be strong and another weak because our problems are shared," he said. "Our competition comes from Indiana and Wisconsin in residency and jobs. …