Today, while at the James R. Thompson Center, members of the Chicago Teachers Union challenged Governor Rauner to a ‘read-off.’
The challenge comes amid the release of emails in which the governor claimed that half of Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) teachers are “virtually illiterate” and half of Chicago’s public school principals are “incompetent,” according to a release.
“Contrary to the governor’s rude and inflammatory [Donald] Trump-like comments, I don’t know any illiterate teachers,” CTU President Karen Lewis said in a statement. “If he thinks we’re illiterate and schools are crumbling prisons, imagine what he and his elitist buddies say about our students behind closed doors.”
CTU educators also demonstrated their literacy by presenting to the governor the ways he has undermined schools and social services in Chicago and downstate Illinois for the entirety of his tenure:
• From 2009 to 2012, the top 1 percent in Illinois—people like Rauner—captured a whopping 97.2 percent of all income growth, far surpassing the overall Midwest average of 72 percent.
• This past year, Governor Rauner has pursued his Turnaround Agenda at the expense of working families. Across the state, families have been denied basic human needs, institutions vital to our public life such as universities and municipal governments have started to collapse, and our state infrastructure is being put at risk.
• If Illinois had kept up with funding education, healthcare and human services at 2002 levels, the budget for the 2015 fiscal year would have seen more than $6.6 billion for funding to services and programs that every family in Illinois depends on.
• Illinois ranks No. 5 in the nation for the least fair tax system.
• In 2013, Illinois spent $1,150 per person on core public services, while Minnesota, a state only slightly wealthier than Illinois, spent $2,742 per person—almost 2 ½ times as much as Illinois.
• The poorest 20 percent of Illinois residents pay 13.2 percent of their income in taxes—the third highest amount in the country. In comparison, the middle 60 percent pays 10.9 percent, while the top 1 percent pays 4.6 percent.
• Governor Rauner has supported charter school expansion that has jeopardized the fiscal integrity of Chicago Public Schools. Charter schools expel and suspend Black students at 11 times the rate of traditional, neighborhood schools.