(CNN)– For someone with a reputation for being forthright with his opinions, Rahm Emanuel was unusually cagey during a Monday interview with the Chicago Tribune.
The former White House Chief of Staff used the interview to lay out his plans for education reform, in particular touting the use of private funds to improve Windy City schools.
"We've raised a ton of money for the Olympics," Emanuel told the Tribune. "Let's raise a ton of money for school reform right here on our own Chicago version of Race to the Top. Let's not wait for the feds." Race to the Top is a federal program that grants money to states that meet reform goals set out by the Department of Education.
Emanuel also suggested that greater parental involvement could be rewarded with more funding; money could be directed to schools where parents attend parent-teacher conferences and pick up report cards.
Emanuel refused to be drawn out on other issues in the hour-long interview, preferring to focus on education, which he believes is the election's top issue. His only notable diversion from the subject was to declare his support for current mayor Richard Daley's expansion of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
Emanuel has yet to officially announce his candidacy to replace Richard Daley, the six-term mayor who will not seek re-election in February. Instead, he has been engaged in a 'listening tour,' designed to maximize his exposure and re-introduce himself to Chicago voters after almost a decade in Washington.