HOD Meeting Sets New Highs in Lows
By Jim Vail
The Chicago Teachers Union invited Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to address teachers at the house of delegates on Wednesday to plead his case about why they should re-elect him.
Even though one union official described his arrival as entering a "hostile environment" - it actually was anything but.
The auditorium filled with about 400 delegates on June 4 were mostly silent, and occasionally cheered weakly, when the democratic governor stated how he is in favor of increasing the income tax to fund public education and supports an elected school board.
The boos and chants of "Dump Vallas" that greeted the governor came mostly from a section centered around me.
I am the teacher delegate from Hammond Elementary School, and I was furious that the governor had the nerve to come and ask for teachers' votes after he has stated how he is in favor of making pensioners give up more of their pensions while signing bills giving more corporate tax breaks.
The fact that he signed up Paul Vallas to be his running mate assured the business class that he is no friend of unions, especially teachers unions.
Vallas was the first "CEO" of the Chicago Public Schools under Mayor Daley who implemented draconian education reform. He immediately went to battle with the union to fire teachers, close schools, privatize services and destroy many African-American jobs.
Think of Vallas as the Michelle Rhee of today. He is the ruling class's go to guy to gut public education, having driven the public schools into the ground in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and privatizing much of Philadelphia's schools.
And now the governor wants teachers to vote for him.
Sounding like the typical broken Illinois politician he has always been, Quinn kept stating in a monotone voice that his family are teachers, he wants to help restore some funding to public education and he's running against a "billionaire" who has billions.
The lies were flowing like wine this night.
He spoke about how he supports charter oversight. He was the guy who signed the bill to give scandal plagued UNO Charter Schools $98 million in tax payer dollars while the state says it has to close public schools and reduce pensions because it has no money!
He spoke about how he favors an elected school board and yet chose a running mate who implemented draconian ed reform in Chicago thanks to an un-elected school board controlled by the mayor!
He says he wants to save our pension system, but he says the pensioners must give up part of their pensions while corporations can continue to receive big tax breaks.
The CTU decided that they would let the governor address the teachers because they are afraid Bruce Rauner will be elected.
"Don't compare me to the almighty," Quinn told the delegates, "compare me to the alternative."
What alternative is there to Paul Vallas, and a machine democrat who supports charter schools (anti-union), education reform (anti-teacher) and privatization (anti-living wage)?
With a union friend like this, who has enemies?