• AP Photo / Paul Beaty
  • Mayor Emanuel and President Obama at O’Hare Airport in May.

Obama’s Name Dropped from Planned CPS High School
—headline yesterday in DNAinfo Chicago


September 18, 2014: Mayor Emanuel announced today that the city will honor President Barack Obama by not naming a Chicago Public School after him. Emanuel confirmed that the city’s next selective enrollment high school won’t be called Barack Obama College Prep, as the mayor had originally decreed. Emanuel acknowledged that the name had sparked controversy because the $60 million school is slated for the affluent near north side, which already has a selective enrollment high school. “We take community input seriously in the months before a mayoral election, so we will look for other possible names,” Emanuel said.

October 13, 2014: A spokesperson for Mayor Emanuel dismissed reports that the next selective enrollment high school would be named Whatever I Damn Wanna Call It College Prep. The spokesperson said the reports stemmed from a “joshing” remark the mayor had made during a meeting with aides.

November 8, 2014: His support from women lagging in his bid for reelection, Mayor Emanuel announced that the coming selective enrollment high school will be named Hillary Clinton College Prep. Emanuel noted that the former First Lady, senator, and secretary of state had grown up near Chicago. He insisted his decision was not politically motivated in any way, although at one point he referred to Clinton College Prep as an “elective enrollment school.”

December 15, 2014: The mayor’s office conceded that the next selective enrollment high school will not be named Hillary Clinton College Prep. The slated school is still mired in controversy over its proposed location, and Ms. Clinton reportedly instructed Emanuel to withdraw her name and “to ask me first next time.”

January 21, 2015: With polls indicating the Hispanic vote could decide the mayor’s race, Mayor Emanuel told reporters the next selective enrollment high school was now tentatively named Frida Kahlo-Sonia Sotomayor College Prep, and would be built in Gage Park.

February 10, 2015: Still trailing as the mayor’s race heads to the wire, Mayor Emanuel announced this morning he had decided against building another selective enrollment high school. Emanuel said that because money was tight, the city would instead spend more on its financially strapped neighborhood schools, a plan the mayor called “bold and innovative.”