Watch Berkowitz interview author Matt Rosenberg about what pisses Matt off about CPS’ pervasive historic failures and Chicago’s and Cook County’s massive failure to protect many of their citizens from violent crime, Cable and Web

Author Matt Rosenberg:  If you are talking about [improving] CPS, We need to lift the cap on charter school growth. Our state legislature has to approve a more robust framework for school choice…


Jeff Berkowitz: …should parents be telling the Chicago public schools what to teach?

Rosenberg:..I like activist parents because … they are invested in their children’s education and… if parents are engaged, the kid is going to turn out well- going to have a good career, going to be educated and…


You can watch the show 24/7 by clicking here and (cable airings are listed, below)

This morning’s and tomorrow morning’s City of Chicago, and this coming week’s Highland Park and North and Northwest Chicago Metro suburban editions of Public Affairs features author Matt Rosenberg.  

After growing up on the south side of Chicago’s Hyde Park, the long-time home of the University of Chicago and then working in Chicago for about a decade, Matt spent almost three decades in the Pacific Northwest.  

In the fall of 2020, amidst riots, looting, and an alarming uptick in senseless killings, he returned to his native Chicago to see if the City could dig itself out of the hot mess it became after decades of liberal governance.

Author and journalist Matt Rosenberg then spent most of the last year observing a great deal, interviewing a large, diverse group of Chicagoans (especially from the South Side) and doing extensive additional research and writing.

The result is “What Next, Chicago? Notes of a pissed-off Native Son”, reviewed by, among others, Dennis Byrne [Former Chicago Sun-Times editorial board member], who wrote:   

“This book is a … balanced tour of the City’s perpetual corruption, unsafe streets, gawd awful schools, ghost neighborhoods… and the false Unified Theory of Systemic Racism that cloaks it all. Yet, [it’s] no … hopeless wail, but a powerful… roadmap for a rebirth of a once-great city, based on voices of Black families and others… Must reading for Chicago lovers.”   

Show host Berkowitz interviewed Rosenberg recently, primarily about the portion of the book dealing with (1) the CPS’ more than half century failure to teach most of its minority students to read, write and do math at grade level and (2) Chicago’s and Cook County’s failure to arrest, prosecute and keep violent criminals off so many of the streets of Chicago and much of the rest of Cook County.

The show airs in Chicago  

— this morning, 9 am (as the 1st 30 min of Illinois Channel’s 2 hr package), Cable Ch 21

— and Sunday, 8:30 am, (as the 1st 30 min of Illinois Channel’s 2 hr package), Cable Ch 19

You can also watch the show 24/7 by clicking here and

  • In Aurora, today and Monday, 6 pm, Aurora Cable Ch 10
  • In Highland Park, Monday and Wednesday, 8:30 pm, Cable Ch 19
  • in 25 Chicago Metro N and NW suburbs, Tuesday, 8:30 pm on

· –Ch. 19 in Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, parts of Inverness, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northfield, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wilmette and on

·   – Ch. 35 in Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Glenview, Golf, Des Plaines, Hanover Park, Mt. Prospect, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Schaumburg, Skokie, Streamwood and Wheeling

Part 2 of a partial transcript of the show, dealing with many of Chicago’s education issues, is included, below. Education is discussed in the 1st part of the show and violent crime in the 2nd part. Part 1 of the partial transcript of the show is included in our most immediate prior blog post.  

Matt Rosenberg:… if you want to focus on something like the remote possibility of getting a bill for real school vouchers in Illinois, I will tell you this: we are a million miles away from something like that happening because you are going to have to have massive turnover in the IL State Legislature [to get real school vouchers in IL] …and this can’t happen without grass roots engagement, particularly in the City of Chicago, you can’t correct the City Council without grass roots engagement- look who got elected last time- we -now have six socialists on the Chicago City Council… versus one [socialist] on the Chicago City Council prior to the 2019 City Council election. This is the direction things are going in Chicago. 

Berkowitz: I think it’s six COMMUNISTS that we have on the Chicago City Council now, we have way more socialists than six [among the 50 member Chicago City Council].


Berkowitz: What is the major obstacle to reform at CPS?

Rosenberg: The Chicago Teachers Union, but simply saying their name isn’t going to change that.   

Berkowitz: …How do you, Matt Rosenberg, take on the CTU?

Rosenberg: I don’t. It has to be the Mayor and the City Council.

Berkowitz: Mayor Lightfoot and the Chicago City Council?

Rosenberg: Look, political leadership is utterly, utterly crucial… 

Matt Rosenberg: Part of change is that it occurs one household at a time. It does not entirely depend on enlightened policy. And, if I lived in IL or Chicago, I would not be holding my breath for new and better policy. I would be starting to make change at the household level. I met people who have done that.

Berkowitz: Well, this is the cultural revolution that kind of started in VA in 2021. They elected a Republican Governor [Glynn Youngkin], it was grass roots. It was a cultural reaction to what was going on in their schools [teaching critical race theory and the thesis that systemic racism has been and still is a central part of the U S Government. And, it is similarly true that the Illinois State Board of Education instructs teachers around our State to teach that systemic racism characterizes most governments and other institutions around the country. But, It was Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic Party candidate for Governor of VA who said: “Parents shouldn’t be telling the schools what to teach.”  

Berkowitz: Should Chicago parents be telling the Chicago public schools what to teach?

Rosenberg: I just want to answer that by saying, “I like activist parents because … they are invested in their children’s education and regardless of how good or bad their public schools may be on objective measures- if the parents are engaged, the kid is going to turn out well- going to have a good career, going to be educated and going to have a good life.

From “Public Affairs with Jeff Berkowitz,” recorded in the Chicago Loop offices of RESIDCO on November 19, 2021    

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