- Chris Sweda/Sun-Times
- Does Bruce Rauner realize that this is a unionized Chicago high school?
You’d think that with all the money Bruce Rauner contributed to Payton Prep, the school could afford a librarian.
As opposed to having a librarian-less library , which serves as a convenient backdrop for a Mayor Emanuel press conference.
But, nope, still no librarian at Payton, despite Rauner’s $250,000 contribution.
Time out! Let’s put this in order . . .
As you know, Rauner’s the gazillionaire investor who made $53 million in 2012 alone and owns eight different properties around the world, including one in Chicago.
He’s also running for governor in this year’s Republican primary on a platform that basically calls for an all-out war on teachers’ unions. If elected, he pledges to accelerate the conversion of unionized public schools into nonunionized publicly funded charters. Over time, the unions will lose more members and power—think of it as death through attrition.
Rauner’s very open about this. In a speech he gave shortly after the 2012 strike, Rauner said teachers’ unions protect “lousy, ineffective, lazy teachers” and “the union basically is a bunch of politicians elected to do certain things—get more pay, get more benefits, less work hours, more job security.”
You know, so teachers can continue living large, with properties all over the world.
As he put it on Chicago Tonight, “this is a war” to take “schools back from union bosses.” ‘Cause it’s those unions and their bosses who keep low-income children in Chicago from scoring as high as wealthy kids in, oh, Winnetka. Another town in which Rauner owns a home.
It’s safe therefore to assume that given this world view, Rauner would send his own children to a charter school that has no union to protect its “lousy, ineffective, lazy teachers.”
But, no, Rauner sent one of his daughters to the aforementioned Payton Prep. In fact, when she didn’t get in on the first go-around, Rauner called Arne Duncan, then CEO of the system, and, voila, as my French-speaking friends would say.
Just so you know, Payton is very much a union school, whose teachers stood 100 percent behind their union bosses when it came to walking that line.
So I guess Rauner’s against evil union bosses for every kid except his own.
I should also mention that New Trier, the high school in Winnetka, is also under the clutches of an evil teachers’ union, which doesn’t stop them from being the best in, like—everything!
I suppose we can all agree that this is yet another case of a rich guy saying one thing and doing something else, as I may have written about before.
As a sign of appreciation to all the wonderful Payton teachers who taught his daughter, Rauner is proposing to radically ransack their pensions. Thanks for nothing, Bruce.
On the other hand, Rauner contributed $250,000 to Payton in 2009. Unfortunately, that donation was not enough to offset the recent cuts mandated by Mayor Emanuel, which came about in part because he’s shifting funds from unionized schools to charters.
As a result of these cuts, Payton’s principal felt compelled to move the librarian out of the library and make her a Spanish teacher.
That didn’t stop Mayor Emanuel from using the library as a backdrop for his press conference last October to announce that he was expanding Payton.
Think about that: there’s not enough money to adequately fund Payton, but Mayor Emanuel wants to expand it.
The cuts could get worse as Mayor Emanuel’s school board prepares to approve up to 21 new charters at its January 22 meeting.
So the high-stakes war of attrition continues as we head into a strange new world of union schools for the rich and nonunion charters for everyone else.
Perhaps we should just auction off seats at Payton to the highest bidders—with a starting price of $250,000. Maybe then Payton will be able to afford to pay for a librarian.