Return to Transcripts main page


Chicagoland: First Day of School; Startups Compete at Demo Day

Aired April 3, 2014 - 22:00   ET




SINGING: Say Chicago

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We now have a digital economy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chicago is closing 50 schools.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is the murder mayor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He do not care about nobody else but himself.

RAHM EMANUEL, MAYOR, CHICAGO: I am comfortable with what I am doing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's going to be a lot of death if these schools close.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got to jack it up and destroy that gang.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Murder, murder, murder. I don't want any of that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's no one else to cut. We're at the bare bones.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is going to be a hard year. It's going to be hard.


NARRATOR: As the summer winds down, Chicagoans try to take advantage of the warm weather while it lasts. At Sox Park, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy throws out the first pitch before his cops take on the firefighters in their annual showdown.

GARRY MCCARTHY, POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: We might lose in football, we might lose in boxing, but we ain't going to lose in this.

NARRATOR: Off the field, you could say the police are ahead in the count. There have been fewer shootings than murders than is summer. And McCarthy knows, that with school opening soon, there's still a tough test ahead.

Over on the west side in Humboldt Park, the mayor joins Principal Dozier and some lucky Fenger students at a production of Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors."

With the first day of school just around the corner, Liz is worried about Fenger's budget shortfall.

The mayor promises to look into it, but he's got bigger things to deal with. In the spring, the mayor-controlled school board approved the largest school consolidation in American history. Nobody's sure how that's going to affect kids, but they're about to find out.

BARBARA BYRD-BENNET, CEO, CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS: The first day of school is August 26.

CROWD: August 26.

NARRATOR: The countdown begins, and with less than two weeks to go, principals get ready to welcome students who are displaced by school closings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to welcome all of our students. One united school, one bundle of love.

NARRATOR: Alex Haley is one of 54 so-called welcoming schools that's accepting students from schools closed in the consolidation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have children coming here to Haley from opposite gang territory. Cutoff minus 115 (ph).

Our parents want to know their children walk out the door in the morning, they want them to come back safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we got the mayor in the house, man.

NARRATOR: The mayor responded to parent's concerns by spending about $8 million to hire 600 additional safe passage workers.

EMANUEL: No resident in the city of Chicago from the mayor on down to a grandparent or a parent gets a pass. We're all accountable to the children of the city of Chicago.

NARRATOR: The changes that the mayor pushed through the board of education don't get a pass either. Now they'll be tested.

EMANUEL: I want y'all to do me a favor. I want you to stand up for a second. The city of Chicago is on watch for the children of Chicago. Turn around and tell them who we are.

NARRATOR: These folks will keep an eye out for trouble on safe passage routes, and if something happens, it's their job to immediately call the police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Superintendent, who's accountable and why if one of the children gets injured by street violence on one of these safe passage routes?

MCCARTHY: Whenever violence occurs, we take the accountability. The reality is, this is nothing new. Kids have been crossing gang lines for years to go to school.

NARRATOR: McCarthy leans on his top brass to put a lid on violence and keep kids safe. In Inglewood, that's not going to be easy.

LEO SCHMITZ, DEPUTY CHIEF, CPO 7TH DISTRICT: The difference between my district and other districts is I have seven, actually eight schools. Other places have one or two. I think they're going to have to take my plan because if I do their plan, I won't be able to cover anything.

NARRATOR: Commander Leo Schmitz has seven close schools in his district. Manning safe passages routes while responding to regular calls will be a big change.

SCHMITZ: If they want us to do that, that means I would have to put 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 32, 33 and 34 down to cover the schools. I can't do it. I'm not going to do it. Then there's nobody answering any calls in the whole district.

NARRATOR: To protect school kids, these cops have to stop gang beats before they lead to shootings.

SCHMITZ: This would be Gangster Disciple territory. This is where Jo-Jo got killed over a year ago yesterday, a year ago yesterday. He's a Gangster Disciple.


NARRATOR: During the first week of school last year, little Jo-Jo was shot dead on the street not long after taunting a crew of rap rivals. His most popular song was called BDK, that's short for Black Disciple Killer. The rappers he targeted with associated with the Black Disciple street gang. And superstar Chief Keef, best known for his hit song "I Don't Like."

A year later Jo-Jo's friends haven't forgotten.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all right there. We see Jo-Jo on the (expletive) ambulance. They turn him around, you see a big ass hole like this, boy. I'm like boy, hell no. He couldn't get hit like one time. The girl said they shot like six times. They started it all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This BD and GD (expletive), the whole thing, this ain't ever going to stop.

NARRATOR: Commander Schmitz works to keep the conflict from erupting so innocent kids don't get caught in the crossfire.

SCHMITZ: This is a big, heavy area right here of the BDs, Black Disciples. The Gangster Disciples start over here, and this is where the fight comes in right along here. Seventh district, we have all the challenges because we still have a lot of other things to cover at the same time as these safe passages. It's tough, but we do it. We don't want anything to happen to those kids.

NARRATOR: Nearly every city agency has been recruited to help out during safe passage including from the fire department.

JOEL BURNS, CAPTAIN, CFD TRUCK 41: From a technical standpoint, I don't know what we're going to do. If anything were to go south, what am I going to do? I'm might have to hit them with an ax.

NARRATOR: Joel Burns is the fire captain now in charge of Truck 41 in Inglewood, better known as the House of Bells.

BURNS: Everybody knows it as the House of Bells. The bells do not stop ringing in this joint.

NARRATOR: Every day, Joel and his firefighting crew deal with victims of violence.

BURNS: Assaults, violent stabbings, beatings, a lot of gunshots.

How many shots did we hear?


BURNS: I try very hard not to bring it home, because, believe me, it would harden you. You see a child shot. To detach yourself from that emotionally, because I have a daughter, and you just cannot take it personally.

NARRATOR: Joel was born into this profession. His family has been fighting fires in Chicago for generations.

BURNS: If my father had been on the fire department, I would have been a fourth generation fire department. My great grandfather, my grandfather, then there's myself and I got two brothers on the fire department. For me, personally, you uphold that tradition until you go off the job and you try to instill that tradition in the young guys.

NARRATOR: For 13 years, Joel's worked as a reliever, roving the different firehouses around the city.

BURNS: All right, Johnny, get it while it's hot.

NARRATOR: As the first day of school approaches, the new captain is looking to get assigned to his house and stay put for a while.

BURNS: As a reliever, you're like a substitute teacher. That's why I bid for a captain's spot. We'll see.

I think the older you get, you start to become aware of the fact that you're not invincible. We've lost quite a few guys on the job. At the end of the day, it's just a fact. It's going to take a toll. Do I ever worry about not coming out? Never. You can't think about that. Because otherwise you're not going to do your job.


EMANUEL: The Second City is now known as the Startup City. NARRATOR: As most of the city gets ready for the start of school, entrepreneurs of the city's digital hub, 1871, prepare for Chicago's biggest tech event, Demo Day.

SAM YAGAN, CEO, MATCH, INC: There's a reason to come to Chicago as entrepreneurs, as technologists, as somebody interested in start ups. I think there's some geek chic I guess going on.

NARRATOR: Sam Yagan is a resident, entrepreneur, and mentor. He co- founded OKCupid. Now he's CEO of Sometimes he even plays celebrity matchmaker.

YAGAN: Well, what we know is we can get you some great first dates. I think finding a soulmate for you might be a little difficult, but I think first dates are easily --

NARRATOR: Yagan helps run Tech Stars, Chicago's digital startup incubator.

TROY HENIKOFF, MANAGING DIRECTOR, TECHSTARS: 904 companies applied for the 10 spots that you guys got. Like, 1 percent acceptance rate, that's pretty crazy.

ERIK SEVERINGHAUS, FOUNDER/CEO, SIMPLE RELEVANCE: The ability to really take this and grow and expand it out to the world is huge.

NARRATOR: These start-ups gear up for Demo Day. They'll pitch their ideas to venture capitalists, hoping to score and become as big as Facebook.

ALEX GRIFFITHS, CEO, SOCIAL CRUNCH: Social Crunch is the new way to unlock provocative human insights for brands and their agencies.

You just can't buy access like that. So Chicago is a great place for us to do business.

NARRATOR: This isn't the first time entrepreneurs flocked to Chicago. They came more than a century ago after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed most of the city.

J.B. PRITZKER, MANAGING PARTNER, PRITZKER GROUP: After 1871, the entrepreneurs came to Chicago to build out of the scrap heap something great in a city. So it's why I love the name.

NARRATOR: Billionaire J.B. Pritzker of the Chicago Pritzkers, one of America's wealthiest families, teamed with Mayor Emanuel to back the initiative.

EMANUEL: We're not going to give him the secret sauce.

PRITZKER: Getting to know Rahm, what I really discovered is he's all about results.

EMANUEL: We're here to hug it out, OK?

PRITZKER: How do I get from here to there to solve a problem? I don't think he worries about how people feel in the middle of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When it comes to raising money from the corporate supporters or when it comes to finding funding in our city for the public schools, he's nowhere to be seen.


NARRATOR: To bridge a $1 billion budget gap, the school board voted to slash $68 million in spending, and that's in addition to closing 50 schools and laying off 3,000 workers.

JACKSON POTTER, ORGANIZER, CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION: Parents and teachers are standing together with students, outraged.

We're hearing that they want the mayor's head on a platter because the schools that you have the highest levels of violence, they're going to be a train wreck.

NARRATOR: At Fenger, nobody wants budget cuts to create a repeat of the school's violent past. But the missing money that the mayor promised to look into has apparently vanished.

ELIZABETH DOZIER, PRINCIPAL, FENGER HIGH SCHOOL: So I met with the mayor and he got right on it. We found out that CPS never put it in official writing. It was promises made by former CEOs, like it's just up in the air, which I feel isn't -- it's not right. People made a promise. Like, we need the funds, but that was the last that I heard from my boss.


NARRATOR: School starts in three days and Fenger staff is psyched. But they don't know about the additional budget cuts.

DOZIER: My name is Liz and I'm the boss

NARRATOR: Liz works to lift their spirits before breaking the news about what's ahead.


DOZIER: I want you to think about a time in your life when you faced a particular challenge. What was it inside of yourself that helped you to overcome this challenge? Fear is really the king of mediocrity. We don't have time to be mediocre, because kids' lives are in our hands. The people we have, every one of you that's sitting in this room, you are the people that will take us to the next level. You are it. Everybody's going to put one hand in, it's going to be real nice and tight. We're going to get real friendly. One, two, three -- TEAM.

NARRATOR: Liz Dozier believes her team can do more with less this year. But losing more money and 28 staff jobs means it won't be easy.

With fewer than 72 hours to go, the city prepares for the first day of school. Over on the west side, Captain Joel Burns gets ready for a first day of his own. He got the assignment he wanted, leading a firehouse in the same battalion where he started his career.

BURNS: What's up, boys?

It's Engine 113 on the west side, which is where I came from. That's where I was a fireman originally. I actually have my own locker now. You've got to love that a little bit.

This fire's uniforms, I really don't care what you wear in the house, but when we're on the street, be in uniform. Chief shows up, be in uniform. Pride. That's all I am about. Having my own house where I can mold the firemen to my standards is one of the biggest advantages, getting my own house. I'm looking forward to it.

NARRATOR: Not only will Joel captain a new engine company, he'll have to cover one of the safe passage routes in one of Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods.

BURNS: Certainly we have concerns, don't get me wrong. We're going to walk the kids to school, and that's great, until we get a call. And as you see around here, that happens quite a bit. So what's going to happen to the kids? I don't know.


REPORTER: A 14-year-old boy was shot and killed a block away from a safe passage route.

NARRATOR: On the weekend before school starts, there's a shooting and it's got parents worried.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (SINGING): I'm a soldier in the army of the lord

NARRATOR: With less than 24 hours to go before the start of school, folks pray that safe passage works.

ROBERT SPICER, DEAN, FENGER HIGH SCHOOL: It's all hands on deck. These are our children and they need us. They need all adults to make sure that this first day of school goes off without a hitch.

NARRATOR: Robert Spicer isn't just a Fenger High dean, he's also pastor of a church in Inglewood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at you. Look at handsome man.

SPICER: Fresh, man. You half man, half amazing. You incredible. You're ready for the first day of school.

ASEAN JOHNSON, THIRD GRADER: On Facebook they said they was going to kill us. I walk all the way over here just to get beat up. I walk back, then I got to get chased back.

Every day I see more and more kids get shot down because of the gang laws. Kids don't grow up and say, oh, I want to get shot and killed.

SPICER: The mayor of the city of Chicago and others have to create signs to tell us that this area is safe. I thought we were in Chicago, not Syria. I thought we were in Chicago, not Beirut. I thought we were in America, the United States of America, and not in a foreign land where we hear about wars.

The children of the city of Chicago are going to make it, because we're going to be right there with them, encouraging them and letting them know that you're not by yourself.

In Jesus' name, we bless the children that are going to school tomorrow. Watch over them. Amen.


DOZIER: OK, good morning, everyone.

CROWD: Good morning.

DOZIER: First day of school. Everybody take a big breath in.

NARRATOR: The first day of school is an especially anxious one, for kids, parents and their teachers.

DOZIER: OK. First, attendance taking procedures. We have to account for every single student. Every single student counts for a little over $5,000. So that's important for the viability of our school. So you have to make sure you're doing a good job of that. And the first day is especially important. So please make sure you're doing that.

NARRATOR: The mayor also has a lot riding on today.

EMANUEL: How are you?

NARRATOR: Emanuel huddles with the Superintendent McCarthy and Deputy Chief Schmitz.

EMANUEL: All right, Garry, Leo, I'll talk to you. I'll see you guys.

SCHMITZ: We're going to be fine. If something happens, we'll be all over it.

That's the most important thing in the world, our kids.

NARRAATOR: Today, about 10,000 elementary students will attend new schools.

EMANUEL: You guys good?

KIDS: Yeah.

EMANUEL: You guys look like scarpy (ph). I'm wearing my uniform. You know what it is? A suit and a tie.

NARRATOR: Rahm said he ran for mayor to improve Chicago schools and if anything goes wrong today, he'll take the blame.


CHOU: Welcome back to school.


CHOU: Have a good day.


NARRATOR: If something bad goes down, school security chief Jadine Chou will be among the first to know.

CHOU: How is it going?


CHOU: Jadine Chou.

It's my job to worry about children and things going wrong. That's what I do for a living.

OK, I'm sure I'll find out what that's about. We're going to find out what that's about in one minute. Everything cool? OK, just didn't know what those lights are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh there's a burglar (ph) we're going after.

CHOU: Oh, OK. They got it taken care of. All right.


BURNS: How are we doing, guys? We all happy to be back?

NARRATOR: Joel Burns and firefighters all across Chicago do their part for safe passage.

BURNS: This is very important. You're interrupting Operation Safe Passage for me to call you. I'm only teasing you, Ma. This is the plan where we sit and watch the school kids walk out. Are you excited to be back?

KIDS: Yes.

BURNS: Truthfully.


BURNS: See, she was being honest, no.


DOZIER: All right, coming in, coming in. One, two, three, welcome back.

NARRATOR: On Fenger's opening day, Liz tries to do the impossible, get teenagers excited about the first day of school.

DOZIER: OK, here they come, here they come.


NARRATOR: Like Liz, Rahm tries to rally school spirit. But as he bounces from school to school, he can't escape protesters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayor Rahm Emanuel closing 50 schools all over black and Latino (ph) neighborhoods.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayor Rahm Emanuel prefers to go into staged environments.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the megaphone gets turned on, he runs out the back door.

EMANUEL: I can understand the anger. It doesn't mean it's right. The hard work of educating the kids is not done by not screamers, not occupiers, but people doing the hard work. So when you say to me, so I'm accountable for what I'm do and I'm willing to take it. Somebody calling me a name, I've had that my whole life.

NARRATOR: So far things are off to a smooth start. The mayor stops Sen (ph) High, a once underperforming school that's made vast improvements.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So part of our class every day, we start with a quote or a question, wanting to put you on the spot and see if you have a response.

EMANUEL: When a stupid man is doing something he's ashamed of, he'll always declare it's his duty. Why would someone do this? Well, first of all, the stupid man can't be too stupid because he's obviously ashamed of something, so he has some self-awareness. So I would not call him stupid. Did I pass?

KIDS: Yes.

NARRATOR: After the mayor shares his philosophy, he takes questions. One student asks about school closings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it just like elementary schools? Why didn't you close some high schools with poor attendance?

EMANUEL: We made a decision this year not to do any high schools, because there is a concern about safety and there was basically the history of Fenger. Now, I want everybody to know, there ain't a mayor in America that don't like opening schools. Nobody really likes to do this. But we're not doing this ever again for five years. And the entire focus from now on is only one thing, education.

See you guys.

KIDS: Bye. NARRATOR: Deputy Chief Schmitz walks the streets to make sure his officers keep gang bangers as far away from safe passage routes as possible.

SCHMITZ: There's a problem here. Gang members were hanging out. This is right on the route, so we had to move them.

NARRATOR: Around here, there's a raging gang war going on, and these guys aren't putting their guns down for anybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We protect ourself. Or (expletive) shoot at us or (expletive).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm (expletive) fixing to get this (expletive) before they get me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their main reaction to every problem, I'm going to get my gun. I'm going to come back and I'm going to merc your ass.


NARRATOR: 13-year-old rapper, goes by the name Lil Mouse got national attention when he puts tales of real life (inaudible) gang beats to a hiphop beat.

LIL MOUSE, RAPPER: I just like rapping about what goes on in my neighborhood, what I see.

NARRATOR: But Mouse, who lives in gang turf called the Nines, has become a target of neighborhood rivals from the 'ville.

LIL MOUSE: They came and shot up my house and killed my dog in the backyard. They came, shot out the back way, and shot out the bathroom window. My childhood ain't normal.

NARRATOR: Fenger is his neighborhood high school, but going there means crossing into enemy territory.

PRINCE NOBLE, MANAGER, LIL MOUSE: Now you got a neighborhood that's been at war for 30, 40 years going to school with each other. That would have been a no-go for them.

NARRATOR: Little Mouse's family decided he won't be going to Fenger. Instead he'll be home schooled.

DOZIER: What is my count for how many kids we have in the building?

NARRATOR: Little Mouse was among the no-shows. And each absent kid costs Fenger about $5,000 in funding.

DOZIER: What's your 20, Gordon?

We only have like 200 something kids show up. If we don't get more kids in this building, we're going to lose position. I mean, that's a really bad number.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tomorrow is the day that you have been waiting for. I want to make sure that you are prepped as well as you possibly can.

NARRATOR: You could say that tomorrow's D-day for the startups set to pitch venture capitalists who will need to turn their big ideas into booming businesses.

YAGAN: So we're 24 hours away from Demo Day. And there's always the one, two, or three companies that you always wonder, "Are they really going to have their act together in time to make the next stage?"

SEVERINGHAUS: We're going to be talking about raising $5 million, which is just an incredible sum.

STEVE FARSHT, DIRECTOR, TECHSTARS: The stakes are pretty big. I don't think they understand that right now.

GRIFFITHS: You have a choice: Would you like a regular Coke or a Diet Coke? Now let's give all these Diet Coke drinkers a big hand. These Diet Coke drinkers have four times as much sex as the rest of you.

NARRATOR: Alex Griffiths is the CEO of SocialCrunch, a data collection company that helps brands learn more about their customers.

GRIFFITHS: As you see, we asked some pretty edgy questions. And what we found is -- sorry. As a result, we're getting data and insights that no one else can. Sorry. We are surprised at the reaction for months. Months of SocialCrunch two. If you like what you've heard today, we would love to chat with you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. So let's talk about that. And what do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One sex joke is funny, two sex jokes means you're (INAUDIBLE) amateur.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like we're in, like, a survival mode.

You guys come back to the office now, and then I'm going to sit and work with you and watch you all day.

GRIFFITHS: Thank you.

NARRATOR: At Fenger High, pressure is also mounting.

DOZIER: I need all the counselors in my office. We've got to talk about attendance.

NARRATOR: They need more students to show up, or else the cash- strapped school will lose even more funding.

DOZIER: We have a Code Red emergency. I need everybody's attention. We're at a little bit over 50 percent in terms of our attendance on the first day of school. That's not going to work. We only have 35 roughly ninth graders that have shown up to school today. They're only giving us ten days to get as many kids in as we can. So it's a really, really big deal. So everyone think about what we can do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had offered like $50 to the person who brings the most students, gift cards for parents. Grocery gift cards, Wal- Mart gift cards.

DONALD GORDON, DEAN, FENGER HIGH SCHOOL: Give out McDonald's gift cards to those who bring in other students.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dose the school have a Facebook page or a Twitter account?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That might be something to consider.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On Facebook, kids were putting as their status, "I'm not coming to school today."

CHOU: Hello. How's it going. Hi.

NARRATOR: CPS security chief Jadine Chou makes a surprise visit to Fenger.

CHOU: This is a school that is doing pretty darn well.

NARRATOR: For Principal Dozier, it's not exactly the best time.

DOZIER: Hey! How are you?

CHOU: We're checking in with the high schools around the area just to see if we can lend any support. But of course, you're doing great.

DOZIER: We're good.

CHOU: Well, you know, I just like being here, too.

DOZIER: Yes, enjoy it. Walk around and take it all in.

CHOU: Welcome back to school.

DOZIER: Yes. Same here.

CHOU: I'm just going to walk around.

DOZIER: OK. Sounds good.

NARRATOR: On day one, Fenger struggles with under-enrollment, while other schools deal with overcrowded classrooms. School chief Barbara Bennett checks on how they're doing.

BARBARA BENNETT, SCHOOL CHIEF: What's your attendance for today, how many students? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I counted 43 -- 44.

BENNETT: There are 44 enrolled, and there are 44 in attendance.


BENNETT: Before the end of next week, we will work this out. My heart is like, 40 little kindergarten kids? If that were my grandsons, I'd be pulling them out of here.

NARRATOR: At the sound of the bell, the first day of school is over. Back on the Safe Passage route, Captain Joel Burns takes a little survey of who's doing the best job so far.

BURNS: Policemen or firemen, who's your favorite?



BURNS: You have to pick one.



NARRATOR: Aside from a little confusion, some attendance issues, and opening day jitters, it was a pretty smooth start.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything looked pretty good. I saw a lot of city services out there.

NARRATOR: Superintendent McCarthy gets the end-of-the-day report on Safe Passage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very good coverage, no issues.


It's a good start to this thing. We've just got to make sure we keep it going. We haven't won anything yet. It's going to take a while.

NARRATOR: McCarthy knows there's 179 school days left to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Mayor, where you at! Mr. Mayor, where you at!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Mayor, where you at! Mr. Mayor, where you at!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Mayor, where you at! Mr. Mayor, where you at!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just two days later, protesters spill into the street.

JOHNSON: I thought you were supposed to be in school. I'm marching.

NARRATOR: Today, some students is, like Asean, protest budget cuts by not going to school. He joins a nationwide school boycott that's calling for more support for public education on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington.

JOHNSON: Fifty years ago it was for the people. Today it's for the kids.

Ain't no power like the power of the people because the power of the people don't stop.

NARRATOR: Even though the decision to cut $68 million from classroom spending is final, protesters refuse to give up their fight.

JOHNSON: There's going to be 39 kids in my classroom because of those budget cuts.

Rahm Emanuel needs to come down here, and you need to talk to the people, communicate with them.

NARRATOR: Passionate debates over politics and policy. That's nothing new for Mayor Emanuel.

EMANUEL: When I was growing up, we were a family about politics. So like, our family dinners were a slugfest over politics. It became so violent, and I mean violent, screaming, yelling. My grandfather would slam the table, that our German shepherd grabbed his hand because he was raising it towards my mother. And my father took us all out of the room and said, "That's just a family dispute."

NARRATOR: Each side is convinced they're fighting for the survival of Chicago's public schools.

UTU (PH) BROWN: You cannot sit up and govern our communities and lock our voices out and say we know what's best for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Mayor, where you at!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Mayor, where you at!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Mayor, where you at!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the mayor here?

TOM ALEXANDER, DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY, MAYOR'S OFFICE: What I can do is receive the materials, and I can give them to everybody in here. What I can do is...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is the mayor in Chicago?

ALEXANDER: The mayor is in Chicago.

NARRATOR: The mayor is no stranger to crisis. And he shares with students lessons he's learned from setbacks in his own life.

EMANUEL: I get to the White House with President Clinton. And in about seven months, I had fallen on the wrong side of the first lady. Not a smart idea. I was notified that I was going to be fired. And everything...

But I just said, "I'm not leaving." I don't know where I got the guts to say this. I just said, "The president will tell me. If he doesn't tell me, I'm not going anywhere." And I knew Clinton couldn't look me in the eye and say it. And the rest is history, and I made my way to senior advisor. The guy they were going to fire had his office next door to the president.

NARRATOR: But the defining moment in Rahm Emanuel's life occurred when he was a teenager, just like these students.

EMANUEL: I was 17. I needed to make some money to go to college. And I got a summer job. And I was a meat cutter, so I was cleaning the blade. I cut my finger, and I ended up with five blood infections, two bone infections and gangrene. I had a 105 fever and was this close to dying.

Prior to that, I was a total screw-up, and I took that experience and I said every day, "I'm going to make sure I get everything out of life. I'm not going to let a day go where I don't make a difference, because I don't know whether I'll ever be here again." And it was the biggest emotional thing that changed me.

The moment I walked out of that hospital, I've been on fifth gear, and I've never stopped because of this fear that it can all go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You guys ready to rock?

NARRATOR: It's Demo Day for Techstars, and if they're good enough, some of these startups could walk away with a big-time backer.

YAGAN: A great presentation can't save a bad business, but a bad presentation can do real harm to a good business.

GRIFFITHS: Yesterday was awful. It was really bad. And it was obvious that it was bad and there's no hiding that. We don't want to let people down. Don't want to let ourselves down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are here to see the best of the best.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Weight loss is easy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are not online dating. We're an offline dating platform.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are Trading View (ph), the network where investors exchange ideas to to maximize profits.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is not going to be long until your doctor tells you to take two photos and call me in the morning and when they do, Capture Proof. Thank you.

NARRATOR: It's Alex's moment and everybody is wondering if his practice will pay off. GRIFFITHS: I want everyone to please stand up. I need everyone on their feet. Please, come on. You have a choice. Would you like a regular Coke or a Diet Coke? If you chose regular, I'd like you to sit back down. Diet Coke drinkers have on average four times more sex than everyone else sitting down. That's right. Let's give them a big round of applause.

HENIKOFF: Night and day in 24 hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We would love to talk to you today. I'd love to meeting you and sharing a Diet Coke. Thank you.

NARRATOR: Downtown, Alex pulled off an improbable comeback to score an investor. On the west side, Joel and his crew race to their first big test, a raging fire.

BURNS: We have the expression that you're baptized by mother fire. What these guys know or don't know you're not going to find that out until you have a fire with them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring the line here.

NARRATOR: Battling the blaze, Captain Burns rallies his men to control a fire in an auto parts stop.

BURNS: Hit the (INAUDIBLE) to your left. Should have gone under with this. Disconnect this. We're running under. Come up, a little left.

That's it!

All right, gentlemen, strong work.

If the world ran like we run the fire department, we'd be a lot better off. Because we don't mess around. We identify the problem, we take care of the problem. And that's that.

NARRATOR: Firefighters hit the bar to hoist a couple cold ones in honor of Joel and the group of guys who recently got promoted to captain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all know why we're here, right? To honor -- o honor Captain Joel Burns. All right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations.

SCHMITZ: That's one of our cars up there. There's a fire here today.

Everything all right?

NARRATOR: Back on the beat in Inglewood, Leo sends a message to the bad guys.

SCHMITZ: We're going to talk to some of the gang bangers. We told them no matter what they do or think, their job is also to make sure nothing happens to the kids going to school. You'd be shocked at the ones that agreed with us, and they never agree with us. NARRATOR: A call comes over the radio, and Leo's on it.

SCHMITZ: What happened? Is anybody fighting?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what's going on. All I seen was shooting.

SCHMITZ: Nobody is telling us nothing.

NARRATOR: Four people were shot. and Leo is canvassing the area.

SCHMITZ: Yes, I just don't want (INAUDIBLE). I'm trying to get in front of it. That's all.

NARRATOR: Principal Dozier has got her own problem to solve, where are her missing freshman? During the last four years, Fenger's enrollment has declined by 50 percent, from about 1,300 students to about 500. Liz needs more students to show up or the school will lose even more funding.

GORDON: So reality, we only have 200 kids and 35 freshman. We have to take it serious. I need to know, give me a list of kids. You know what I'm saying? What have you done? What have you done? Offer them, we've got McDonald's cards, whatever we've got to do to get them up in here. This is not a scary thing, OK, but I also believe in being transparent. It's my job, your job, your job, your job. Ain't nobody here safe.

NARRATOR: Liz is already stressed out about the budget crisis and losing students. And a few fights at school make matters worse.

DOZIER: You are going to wait here, bottom line, stop!

NARRATOR: When an expelled student tries to get back in school, it's the last straw.

DOZIER: Close the door. Get your tail outside!

She can't come in here anymore. I'm tired of her. I'm so tired!

That's fine, she can stand out here like crazy. She's not coming back in here, not to get anything. Anything will be delivered. We're not opening that door for her. We're clear on that, right? Get her stuff. You can pass it out the door. I'm not playing. I'm completely serious. I am (EXPLETIVE DELETED) done!


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Inglewood today, a shooting near a school while the kids are out at recess.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the fourth day of school, a 23-year-old was shot just a block from an Inglewood elementary school in broad daylight.

BENNETT: Apparently it was at 65th and May. It was not on school property. Blah, blah, blah. Nonetheless, you know, we're serious about it. Our safety plans were all in place.

Hey. There was a shooting outside of the school today. An adult was shot.

CHOU: It is a welcoming school, as everyone knows. It happened on a Safe Passage route. But the good news is that no children were hurt.

This is something that we've been dealing with for the last, you know, 20 years in Chicago, and it's not new. Now it's much more visible because we have so much attention on our welcoming schools. We're very prepared and equipped to handle these situations. But it doesn't mean that, you know, people, parents, students won't be uncomfortable.


NARRATOR: Safety is concern No. 1. But declining enrollment and funding are also at the top of the list.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are another 3,000 kids, which is worth about $12 million, that would look like it's going to be cut at this point that won't be cut. We're confident those kids will be showing up.

NARRATOR: Principals only have ten days to find their missing kids in order to qualify their schools for full funding.

BENNETT: When we get to the ninth day, you do generally get a sense of where kids are going to fall. You know, a school that has 300 is not going to go to 600 or 500 kids. That just doesn't happen. At this point, if I were a principal, I would be using every other resource in my building to literally -- to knock the doors.

NARRATOR: Principal Dozier is already on the case.

DOZIER: You're going to be in the community walk today, right?


DOZIER: If we don't find the kids, then we'll have even less for our kids who are here. It's not good.

This is the No. 1 biggest thing that brought the kids in last year was you guys going and knocking on doors. So please go get out kids for tomorrow.

Right now we're still missing, like, over 100 kids. So 100 times the $5,000.

I'm trying to get to the door. So I've already started thinking about, like, who's going to -- who's going to have to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bye, guys, have fun. Go get our kids.

NARRATOR: Despite many dire predictions, the school year has gotten off to a safe start. But only time will tell you how the consolidation and budget cuts will affect student safety and learning in the future. For now, Rahm tries to keep people's attention focused on school improvements, like the work being done here at Dulles Elementary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was speaking with the mayor about the culture of calm that this church, that this field has brought for us.

EMANUEL: Now, this year we went -- as we all know, the city went through a very difficult period of time, a very stressful period of time. But because of the decisions we were willing to make, there are new air conditioners, there are new roofs, there are new windows, there are new computers in these classrooms, and we could not do that before. And you can tell by what's going on behind us, that is one exciting moment of time.

That's right. I look forward to recess. It's the one thing I excelled at at school.

See you later. Have a good day at school. All right. I will.

DOZIER: There's some guy right there. Hi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?

DOZIER: We're here from Fenger High school. They don't live here anymore? All right. On to the next one.

Where are you headed to? Oh, you're in the suburbs?

We have one more. This is so bad. Guys. What happened? We miss you. And we'd like you to come back. I mean, we really would. So think about it, and if you change your mind, you're always welcome to come back.

Guys, what are we going to do? We've got zero for 9.

I've never seen it like this before, where it's like, you know, I've never had a team where we didn't get any kids back. I don't know. I don't feel good about it.



EMANUEL: When we say building a new Chicago, we mean building a new Chicago.



DOZIER: This is like real.


DOZIER: We've got to get 45 kids in this door.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But I can't walk to school.

DOZIER: It's going to mean someone at the table will not be here.

EMANUEL: I love being here. Greatest job in America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chicago is the most elegant city.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you're someone who's done well, you're expected to give back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Relax. Let me do what I've got to do.

MCCARTHY: It's the course of human life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got to wake up the sleeping giant that's not doing what they need to do.