Mayor Daley defends secret school admissions list

March 23, 2010

By FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
A secret log of clout-heavy Chicagoans seeking to help kids win admission to elite public schools was a complaint file, not a back-channel admissions process, Mayor Daley said today.

Daley said there was nothing wrong with former Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan’s office maintaining such a log because “no favoritism” resulted from it.

“People are calling,” Daley said. “What do you do, just say, ‘No?’ Arne Duncan said you have to say something. Someone complained, ‘My child did not get in to this school. What can I do?’ He sent it to the principal to review, which is the right thing to do.

“You cannot hide it. It existed … There’s no favoritism, as Arne pointed out. Any complaint they had, he sent it right to the school … If people complained, you can’t just dismiss the complaint.”