Tag Archives: Bruce Rauner

Endorsing the Unendorsable Pat Quinn

30 Oct

It’s been awhile, but I felt a real need to post again.  This time, it’s about the race for Illinois Governor and it’s something I do not because I want to as much as I feel that I have to.  I’m no fan of Governor Quinn.  I downright despise his running mate Paul Vallas. However, I am throwing my support to him and I am asking everybody who either teaches or cares about education in the state of Illinois to do the same.

I feel that in this election, Illinois is Bedford Falls in Frank Capra’s classic film It’s a Wonderful Life.   Everybody would love to have George Bailey running for governor, but he’s not running.  Instead our choices appear to be evil Mr. Potter (Rauner) and incompetent Uncle Billy (Quinn).  Neither is a great option, but I’ll take incompetence over evil any day.

I expect that most readers of this blog would sooner walk barefoot across a CPS classroom floor (Thanks Aramark) than vote for Bruce Rauner, but I’m addressing this to those of you who feel that Quinn is such a bad Governor that they’d just assume not vote or write in Karen Lewis or Mickey Mouse.  Allow me to give you my reasons for not doing that.

The Wisconsin Example: When Scott Walker won, the reaction wasn’t for the Democrats to rally around a true progressive who could unite all those people who occupied the Capitol Building.  Instead they ran Tom Barrett and now Mary Burke.  Both are the pro-charter non-progressive Democrats that we love to hate so much in Illinois.  There is no reason to believe that if Rauner wins, anybody will take the message to put a Democrat or Independent who is truly progressive.  More likely, the lesson will be that we need a Democrat with their own funding like Rauner had and we’ll get a Pritzker or something running for Governor.

“But the Democrats won’t let him set an agenda”: That isn’t quite true.  There are plenty of places his interests will intersect with either Madigan or Emanuel.  We’ll get more charters, union crushing, privatization, corporate handouts, a corrupt Chicago casino, and pension holidays.

Paul Vallas: I hate him too.  However, there is no less important job in the world than Illinois Lieutenant Governor. It’s a job that makes Vice-President seem demanding.  Maybe Pat Quinn is actually doing a school district somewhere a big favor by keeping him away from education.

It’s Easier to Stand up to a Republican: This  argument is that it’s easier to stand up to a Republican because people will see he’s a right wing nut job much faster than they’ll see just how corrupt a corporate Democrat is.  The problem is that a Rahm-Rauner coalition allows them to claim any attack on the Chicago schools is a bipartisan move.

I am Tire of Voting for the Lesser of Two Evils: I am too, but the time to fight for a progressive governor was when Quinn was running in the Democratic Primary or if you wanted a Green candidate when it was time to organize a campaign.  It’s too late to do anything now that would have any significance.  You may get the satisfaction of saying, “Well I didn’t vote for him,” but if Rauner wins, you’ll also have to live with knowing you didn’t help stop him.

So I’m endorsing Quinn.  I’m not doing that because he’s a great governor.  I do it because I know Rauner will be much worse.


One Teacher’s Look at Politics – The Governors

19 Nov


I remember when things got down to the wire in the 2010 election.   In the Democratic Primary, I had wanted Dan Hynes.  He lost in a heartbreaking election with no turnout and I was disappointed that teachers who should have known better had stayed away in droves.  At the last House of Delegates meeting before the election, a Chicago Teachers Union with very mixed feelings about Quinn who had already pushed through an attack on our pensions, had a very close vote to endorse him.

I pushed for us to endorse Quinn despite not believing he was a very good Governor.  I was scared of Brady getting in and when we saw what Scott Walker was able to do in Wisconsin, I think the movement of the teachers union and other organized labor to Quinn saved us from having a string of right to work states from Wisconsin to Indiana.  Some of my friends wanted to support any third party candidate.  However, a teacher who is gay, posted on a mailing list that I am on that she didn’t have that luxury.  She wanted to marry her long term partner and Quinn was her best chance of that happening.  In the end, supporting Quinn was a good move.

Things changed when Quinn chose Paul Vallas as his lieutenant Governor.  Even though they run separately in the primary, choosing an out of state Republican with a track record of education reform failures as his running mate was a slap in the face to the Chicago Teachers Union.  When local pundits analyzed it, they all said “well, who else are they going to vote for?”  We have other choices besides Rauner and Quinn and I want to go through them point by point.

Rauner – I believe he’d be like Emanuel, but worse.  However, the Governor has less control over us than the mayor does.   Also, it may be easier to fight a Republican Governor than a Democrat.   Voting for him is not an option

Voting for a more moderate Republican – There are none.  Senator Kirk has refused to endorse any of the candidates because he doesn’t think any our moderate enough for the state.  I think he knows.

Vote for third party – If you want to get behind a third party, that’s great.  I understand the desire to say a pox on both of your houses.  However, with so much at stake, I don’t see why I should give up a vote in order for the green party to go from 5% to 7% of the vote.  If the greens or any other party can run a quality candidate with a chance, I definitely would be for supporting them, but that’s a huge “if”.

Run our own candidate – To what end?  Do we want to play spoiler?  There probably isn’t enough time to really be credible a year from now.  Also, with limited resources should teachers be putting all of them here?

Vote for Mickey Mouse – The inability to find an actual candidate probably has as much to do with your unwillingness to be informed as it does with the quality of the candidates.

Endorse Pat Quinn – I think that ship has sailed. 

So what do we do?   I think we need to continue to advocate for our issues.   We should fight for a fair tax, for pensions that we can live with, for an elected school board, and for more funding for our schools.  We should get involved in the elections where we can make a difference and where there are candidates who have championed our issues or are willing to do so, we give them our full support.

In the race for Governor, we play the game.  Maybe we do endorse Quinn, maybe we don’t.  However, we don’t throw our resources into this election.  I will probably not take a Democratic primary ballot and will instead vote for Rauner’s closest challenger int he GOP primary.   We can vote for Quinn, we can choose not to, but I do think we need to get political.  We need to advocate for our issues and for those who champion them and let the race for Governor take care of itself.

If Your Mother Tells You She Loves You, Check It Out

21 Jun

ImageI am not a reporter, I’m a teacher and I make no claims to being a journalist.   This is pretty ironic in itself as dozens of reporters act as if they have some kind of education credentials.  I bring this up because there is a cardinal rule of journalism and that rule is that you always need to look at the source.  Sometimes, there are two sides to an issue.  A lot of the time, there’s only one.  

I don’t think the debate between evolution and creationism is compelling.  That debate should be part of history, not part of policy.  The same could be said of Becky Carroll claiming that the CPS budget cuts wouldn’t impact the classroom, when principals are reporting budget cuts from a few hundred thousand to several million dollars.

When Student First ranked states by how much they went after teacher pensions and hired hugely expensive consultants, papers printed their rankings as if they came from a panel of impartial experts.   This week, the same thing happened with NCTQ.  The National Center for Teacher Quality published an error filled report attempting to rate education programs at universities by course outlines that the bribed students to send them.  NCTQ has more conflicts of interest than I can list,  Fortunately, Mercedes Schneider already did.

I make no bones about the bias about this blog.  I don’t plaster this blog with every educational link I see.  Sometimes, I miss something, but more often, I didn’t think it was terribly newsworthy.

A Child’s View of CPS’s Historic Closings: ‘I Just Don’t Get It.  I Don’t Get It at All’

“Do you have any idea what your doing to us … our school … even to me? We all have tried and tried everything to keep our school open. How can people like you have no mercy on us?”

Philadelphia: Blame Teachers First Is a Bad Strategy

“The School District is demanding $133 million in labor concessions to plug its $304 million budget gap. That’s more than twice as much as it requested from the city, and $13 million more than what it’s seeking from the state — which cut nearly $1 billion from school funding statewide (that’s you, Gov. Tom Corbett) despite its constitutional obligation to fund public education and, critically, its direct control of city schools for the past decade.”

Union-Hating Republican Rauner is a Democratic Pal. Further adventures in Bizarro World

“The Democratic Party line-up of Madigan, Daley and Quinn aren’t exactly union allies. Why would anti-union voters mark the ballot for a rank amateur when they already have professional union bashers among the Democrats.”

CPS Budget Cuts: More than $900K slashed from Portage Park Elementary

“”I don’t think parents know how bad these cuts are,” said Principal Maureen Ready, adding she was not certain it is possible to operate on the amount of money the Chicago Public Schools plans to give the far Northwest Side neighborhood school at 5330 W. Berteau Ave.”

Whitney Young Proposes Charging Students $500 for 7th Period

“Under the proposal, all students at the high-powered magnet school at 211 S. Laflin would attend six periods, but students wanting to take a seventh would have to pony up $500, according to a letter sent Wednesday to faculty and parents by Whitney Young Principal Joyce Kenner.”

CPS Parents, You Have Now Entered the Twilight Zone

“That’s right, happy citizens. What you’re seeing is an increase in spending, an increase in per pupil funding, and the only school district in the United States to increase its spending at such rates.”

Chicago Schools May be Forced to Choose Between Teachers and Toilet Paper Due to Budget Cuts

“In many schools, including mine, there are no funds left for janitorial supplies –- and this includes toilet paper,” Chicago teacher Michelle Gunderson told the Daily Kos before the toilet paper drive. “What might seem juvenile to some is in fact a perfect metaphor for the disregard of human dignity — the Chicago Public Schools care so little about children that their basic needs are being neglected.”

The Rains of Castamere

6 Jun


By now, it’s over except for the weeping and the moaning.  Tonight, CPS principals found out their budgets for the coming year and the word I’m hearing is that the many reassurances they had that the per pupil budgets wouldn’t be bad have fallen by the wayside.   Principals with 7 figure holes in their budget don’t seem uncommon and there will be some deep and painful cuts on the backs of Chicago’s teachers and school children.  This will be the kind of ambush that those of us who watch Game of Thrones saw on Sunday night.  Actually, there are a lot of similarities between Joffrey and Rahm.

I’m not kidding about some large schools facing multi-million dollar cuts to their budget.   Of course, this will be blamed on the teachers.   Our huge 3 percent raise for working 17% longer is the culprit or maybe it’s our ridiculously high pensions.    The worst part is that I believe the current budget is probably CPS posturing.  Unfortunately, a lot of teachers will be laid off before anything gets changed.

CPS has been true to form in their actions towards the pension shortfall.  They refused to meet with the CTU representatives in Springfield from November until May.  When they did finally meet with CTU, their negotiating strategy was to offer nothing and demand cuts.  CTU rightly wants to know that the revenue stream for the pensions will be fixed and that healthcare will be adequately funded.

I saw on the Huffington Post today that charter school hack Andrew Broy calls these neighborhood schools closings a “new era of possibility for Chicago students“.  Calling this outrage an era of new possibility is like calling the attack on the World Trade Center a great real estate opportunity.  I hate profiteering.

Taxpayers Protest TIF Funding of DePaul Basketball Arena

““I’m paying out of my bottom for my education at DePaul, the extremely high tuition is worth every penny, but they certainly don’t need taxpayer dollars,” said Erika Wozniak, 30, the organizer of Wednesday’s protest, which was timed to coincide with a faculty meeting.”

Emanuel Won’t Rule Out Property Tax Hike, Class Size Increase as Pension Problem Looms

“The Chicago Public Schools is working through the issues. I can’t tell you today what their budget’s gonna be line-by-line. I know that the first priority is to protect the classroom and to protect our children’s education and to also find savings — as we have to pay for a full day of kindergarten — through administrative savings, as we have from Day One,” he said.

Rauner Announces He’s Running For Governor, Doesn’t Mention Payton Prep Charge

“Rauner, who says he’s not one of those typical politicians, made the announcement in a slick video on his website, produced with some of the $1.5 million his exploratory committee has collected. “I could ride a horse at six, milk a cow at eight, fire a rifle at ten,” Rauner says in the video.”

If We Can’t Elect a School Board, Can We Draft One?

26 Apr

ImageI hate missing a day because in Chicago, if you miss a day you miss a lot of education news.  I know I’m going to miss something or another I read earlier in the day and wanted to share.  Anyway, because I envision a lot of links today, I’m going to cut my own commentary short:

Parents at Chicago School Slated for Closure Chase Away Inventory Team

“CPS is paying a logistics firm $14.2 million to inventory everything from student records to textbooks in all schools set to be closed, turned around, or “co-located” with other schools. Johnson, who opposes the turnaround, said Dewey students have been told for two days they aren’t allowed to take home textbooks for homework because they’re being inventoried.”

State Cuts Off Money to UNO Charter Schools Over Insider Trading

“Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration has cut off funding to the state’s largest charter-school operator, the politically influential United Neighborhood Organization, over insider deals it says violated terms of a $98 million state grant, according to a letter obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.”

Secret Clout List for Chicago Public Schools

“This week, Crain’s is reporting that likely GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner got his daughter clouted in to elite Walter Payton High School, where one in three students come from private grammar schools. One of the entries on this log may be his.”

40 Terrible Decisions on School Actions

“Today we delivered a report to the Board of Education listing our concerns for 40 proposed school actions. As we stated to the Board, the omission of certain schools on this list does not mean we support their closure but as a grassroots group these were the schools we were able to visit, attend hearings for, meet with parents at, or research. We did walkthroughs at 22 schools on the closing list and attended numerous community hearings over the past few months. “

SPECIAL REPORT: School’s Closing, Gang Feud Fuel New Fear in Old Town

“A Jenner student with alleged GD gang ties posted a “hit list” that marked nine kids as targets if they come to the Wild Side.

Later, the boy who posted the hit list made a Facebook pledge that he would show Manierre kids something that goes “bang-bang.” In a separate post, the boy wrote, “F— ALL SED IAM KILLIN BABYS AND ALL.”

After a school-closing hearing, a Manierre eighth-grader pulled out her cellphone to show the hit list to Chicago School Board member Henry Bienen.

“These are very serious issues,” Bienen said. “Obviously, these are not easy decisions to make.”


Special Fraud Edition

14 Mar

ImageThe SEC reviewed the Illinois pension debacle and the only word they could come up with for it was “fraud”.   Even the Tribune was forced to report that it wasn’t greedy public workers, but the deliberate malfeasance of governors and legislators, many of whom are still in office.  I refuse to accept my $28,000 pension payout in 2025 would be something you could consider extravagant.

Even the Trib Calls it Fraud

“The SEC order details how, beginning 19 years ago, Illinois pols laid the foundation for today’s pension mess — evidently so they could keep spending what should have been pension fund contributions on other things. But the agency doesn’t have jurisdiction over most of that chicanery; as an agency official put it, “The SEC is not involved with whether the state is doing a good job or bad job in terms of managing its pensions.”

The Philadelphia Story: Bruce Rauner, Part II

“Shortly thereafter, Mr. Rauner “sent a check for $200,000. Another check, for $100,000, came just before the election,” the paper said. And something else happened, too. After Mr. Rendell was elected governor, “the state doubled its stake” in investment funds handled by GTCR LLC, picking up management of an additional $116 million in pension funds worth more than $4 million in fees.”

Chicago Public Schools Get Too Much: Illinois Senate GOP

“In a detailed report and at a press conference today, Senate Republicans headed by Leader Christine Radogno said whatever Chicago doesn’t get in pension aid, it more than gets back by grabbing an oversize share of funding through poverty, early-childhood, property tax limitation and corporate income tax replacement programs.”

Parent Trigger Promoted by Illinois Republicans

“For the second time in two years, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s legislative desires are being brought to the Illinois General Assembly by right wing Republican legislators. The last time, it was State Rep. Tom Cross who introduced legislation that tried to change all Chicago public workers pension boards to seven members, four appointed by Rahm. This time it’s State Rep. Darlene Senger who is trying to get the “Parent Trigger” into Illinois. Senger is from Naperville, which is unlikely to ever face “parent trigger.” So, once again, the target is Chicago’s public schools.”