Since Kanye West-associated rapper Rhymefest announced intent to run for a Chicago alderman position, he has been a steady presence at political and community events to help gauge what the people in his community really think and need. His next appearance will be with the esteemed Dr. Cornel West at the Chicago Urban Education Forum. The event, which takes place on Jan. 6, will be an open forum where community leaders, organizations, adult educators, administrators, teachers and students can voice their opinions about education in Chicago's South Side neighborhood.

The Chicago Public Schools, aka CPS, is in complete disarray. 80 percent of Chicago's schools didn't meet federal testing requirements this year, and improving that number will be difficult with a $245 million deficit in operating accounts looming. A $4.5 billion price tag was estimated for repairs on the city's decrepit school buildings. The forum hopes to start turning things in a more positive direction. "Attendees will leave the forum invigorated, with newfound knowledge and commitment to promote positive change in their institutions and communities," a rep for the Chicago Urban Education Forum told in a recent interview to preview the event.

Rhymefest, real name Che Smith, officially announced his candidacy for the city government position back in October 2010. At the time, he stressed the need to relate to those with little voice in city politics.

"The 20th Ward in Chicago needs help," he said. "Shorties are out here selling dope to pay the family bills. Grandmothers are raising their children's children, people are un-employed and under employed & leadership is absent!"

The Chicago Urban Education Forum is a free event and lasts from 3:30 - 5:30PM on Jan. 6. Visitors can find the forum at the Great Hall, U- Building at Kennedy King College.

Watch Rhymefest's 'Bullet'
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