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Differences and simularities on education

Thursday, Jun 19, 2014

* Politico looks at education policy differences in gubernatorial elections. Illinois

The Land of Lincoln has a Democratic incumbent, Gov. Pat Quinn - but he is not well liked by the teachers unions, to put it mildly. How has he angered them? Let us count the ways: He cut teacher retirement benefits when he signed a pension reform bill. (Unions are suing [] to overturn it.) He approved a Chicago plan to reduce benefits for public-sector workers. And he tapped Paul Vallas, an education reformer who has clashed with unions in several states, to be his running mate [].

- Quinn does have one thing going for him with Big Labor: He’s not Bruce Rauner. The Republican challenger is even more widely disliked in union halls. Rauner supports vouchers, ardently backs charter schools and has called for merit pay, which many teachers oppose. His education philosophy, in a nutshell []: “More control for parents, not union bosses.” There’s also this: Rauner has taken to calling the sitting governor “Quinnochio,” as in liar [].

- The Illinois Education Association’s PAC has interviewed both candidates and the board will issue its endorsement in the coming weeks. Observers expect the union to set aside its grudge and make a significant push for Quinn, who has rolled out some proposals educators like, such as a call for $50 million in new spending for need-based college scholarships. The governor could certainly use the help: Rauner has spent millions of his own money on the race and just landed a $2.5 million donation from hedge-fund manager Ken Griffin. That’s the biggest single political contribution to a candidate in state history. Polls have Rauner ahead, but with a big chunk of voters undecided.

* But Quinn’s running mate has ideas that are very similar to Rauner’s, Dan Mihalopoulos notes

Effective or not, what Vallas did during the many years between leaving CPS and returning home to run for Illinois lieutenant governor seems very much in line with what Rauner says he would love to see more of here. […]

After leading “one of the country’s largest experiments with school privatization” in Philadelphia, she writes, Vallas arrived in New Orleans in 2007 to become the head of the state-run Recovery School District. […]

In New Orleans, Vallas clearly “hoped to turn nearly all of the schools into charters as quickly as possible,” and the city “became a destination for young, aspiring and ambitious charter schools leaders from across the country who were far less likely to hire veteran teachers.”

He also was a boon to a controversial program Rauner has lauded called Teach For America. It’s a national corps of college graduates and other professionals who agree to try teaching in public schools for a couple of years.

“Vallas helped triple the number of Teach For America recruits working in the New Orleans region between 2007 and 2010,” according to Carr.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Mighty M. Mouse - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    Somehow I think Vallas will say he prefers Quinn to Rauner.

    Just a hunch.

  2. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:26 am:

    What we need is for Paul Vallas to tell us why he would rather work with Quinn, than see what he supports enacted under Rauner.

    I would really like to hear Paul explain that.

  3. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:26 am:

    The Vallas choice was curious all the way around. Don’t know what he brings to the party, electorally.

    Plus, who really thinks he can tow the Quinn line all the way to November? The guy almost had the nomination himself, once. Hard to believe he can play second fiddle for too long.

    There will be a dustup somewhere.

  4. - yo - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:36 am:

    Agree with Word. Still do not understand Vallas pick. Especially when you have the teachers unions ready for anybody but Rauner. Why give them a reason to be lukewarm?

  5. - Federalist - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:40 am:

    Great Overview.

    Will be interesting to see how Vallas explains himself to the teachers and their Unions be it AFT or NEA. Or will he bother?

  6. - Mighty M. Mouse - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    ===The Vallas choice was curious all the way around. Don’t know what he brings to the party, electorally.===

    I would think Quinn hopes Vallas will bring votes from the areas where Vallas did well when he ran for governor in his primary against Blagojevich.

  7. - A guy... - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:51 am:

    BTW, is the typo in the headline a play on words?

  8. - Melo to Da Bulls - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    I agree that Vallas was a curious pick, at best. His body language on primary election night said it all.

    They should’ve found a downstate moderate businessman to counteract Rauner and help him geographically where he needs it.

  9. - olddog - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:01 pm:

    All due respect, but it’s misleading to call Teach for America a “national corps of college graduates and other professionals.” A lot of these so-called “professionals” only have a five-week course in teaching methods instead of a teaching certificate. They have no classroom experience, and they simply don’t know how to teach yet.

    But in all fairness, Vallas knew state government finance when he directed the Economic and Fiscal Commission before he started messing around with school “reform.” That’s what sets him apart from Rauner.

  10. - Mighty M. Mouse - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:11 pm:

    ===Still do not understand Vallas pick. Especially when you have the teachers unions ready for anybody but Rauner. Why give them a reason to be lukewarm?===

    The teacher’s choice is akin to choosing between the guy who punched you hard in the solar plexus (Quinn) and the guy who wants to strangle you to death (Rauner).

    I don’t think the significance of adding Vallas to the ticket rises to the level of changing the bottom line for teachers. Sure, they’re mad at Quinn, but Rauner embodies their nightmare from hell and to them Rauner is SO much worse the choice between Rauner and Quinn isn’t anywhere near a close enough call for the Vallas pick to change their coming down in favor of Quinn.

    If they don’t help elect Quinn they’ll get Rauner and that is clearly the more unacceptable outcome to them, regardless of the addition of Vallas.

  11. - Corporate Thug - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:18 pm:

    Maybe Quinn’s thought was money. You pick a reformer-type which gives him access to groups like Stand for Children, DFER and others. Who knows, not smart then and still not smart today. Right now, Bruce Rauner has more diversity on his ticket than Pat Quinn. And nobody with CTU has fond memories of Paul Vallas. I will never understand this choice.

  12. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    –I would think Quinn hopes Vallas will bring votes from the areas where Vallas did well when he ran for governor in his primary against Blagojevich.–

    That would be the city, 12 years ago. If Quinn’s motivation was to pump up his strongest region, Vallas was the pick?

  13. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    Vallas was a very curious pick, indeed. With the history of Vallas in education, and Rauner the nominee, the reality may be that the Rauner/Vallas ticket seemed more likely if someone asked, “Paul Vallas will be running with who as LG?”

    A better debate would have been Vallas and Rauner in the realm of schools than Rauner and Quinn(?)

  14. - the Patriot - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:42 pm:

    Way too much thought. The teachers unions have always and will always support the democrat. They gave on SB in exchange for not losing ground on pensions and a year later Quinn and Madigan crawfished on the deal and screwed them anyway.

    It is a ruse, they will never endorse a republican, period. Had they wanted a republican they should have been in the primary last fall and made the difference, not the token show they put on at the end.


    1. Does it matter. How could you be less relevant than Sheila Simon with no leadership experience and fresh off the mayoral loss in her home town of Carbondale?

    2. Who is Paul Vallas? Recall before being exiled he was the guy Madigan and the party passed over for Rod. Any inclination toward a Quinn impeachment is eliminated by Madigan knowing he ends up with a guy whose career he tried to end.

    3. Vallas is the first sign of fiscal responsibility from an IL democrat since the passing of Paul Simon. It makes you pause that maybe Quinn understands we need to fix our budget and he needs a guy to handle it.

    4. The exit strategy. Quinn did not need a running mate to be Brady so Vallas doesn’t hurt real votes. But if he wins, Quinn could resign before the end of his term and stick it to Madigan and the unions who tried to select a different republican purportedly to run against him. In essence, with Vallas, Quinn could walk, leave someone who could turn the state, and stick it to his enemies on the way out the door.

  15. - ... - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:48 pm:

    Paul Vallas was hugely popular among African-American voters, and is still. He was enormously popular twelve years ago, and still has that same pull today; if you don’t think so, ask a parent of a CPS student from Vallas’ tenure with the schools. Moreover, Vallas won huge swaths of African-American precincts when he ran for Governor. His time here at CPS, prior to his run for Governor, and while away in PA and LA, demonstrates that he has the wherewithal to contribute to the budget discussions, and school reform issues. Though CTU may not have cared for him, the parents of CPS students did, and in overwhelming numbers, too. Do you think CPS parents care more about the CTU’s opinion, or the education and safety of their children? I am going to go with their children. Do you think those same parents want students graduating as college ready at a rate of less than 25% (according to the 2011 ACT numbers published in the Sun-Times), or do you think they would like to see the rates of college ready students that those areas Vallas has worked in realized here in Illinois? Going to go with the increases. Rauner’s ticket may look more diverse, but Vallas’ popularity in African-American districts will be able to counter that. Moreover, with many African American community leaders jumping ship to back Rauner, Quinn wisely chose someone who the individual community members remember and supported for the Governorship; why would they now not support him, or even oppose his ideas being brought into the fold? In Hispanic districts, parents appreciate school reforms, including charter schools, and Vallas’ prior performances, too, again allow for a nice counter to the Rauner ticket. Importantly, too, Vallas is able to go into these communities and talk to these individuals without being damaging, and much more, being persuasive and understanding. Vallas, therefore, brings nice political counter-punches to the ticket, and clearly these reasons are the basis for the choice; furthermore, have you seen Rauner’s running mate’s videos? If you really think that is going to be more valuable than a popular (even if 12 years reduced, as some here erroneously believe), fiscally wise, politically savvy, and issue-articulate, Paul Vallas, then I am going to have question your analysis and ask for more than a one line opinion.

  16. - Mighty M. Mouse - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:52 pm:

    ===I would think Quinn hopes Vallas will bring votes from the areas where Vallas did well when he ran for governor in his primary against Blagojevich.===

    ===That would be the city===

    I was thinking more of the suburban areas which in recent years have become pivotal battlegrounds and where Vallas ran pretty strongly 12 years ago.

  17. - ... - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 1:07 pm:

    Mighty, I agree with that, too. Just one example that comes to mind is the 19th Senate district. There, you have plenty potential for huge pick ups in Democratic, Independent, and perhaps even some moderate to liberal Republican votes. Not to mention the fact that there are many recent city transplants in that area, and other suburban areas, such as the southwest suburban precincts (as yet another example).

  18. - the Patriot - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    You have to look at the Lt. Gov analysis much like needing an NFL QB. Everyone wants Brady and Manning, but they aren’t available. Generally people who have a shot to get elected on their own are already in a campaign, so you drop to the second or third tier and have 3 schools of thought.

    1. wait till next year. We don’t like the options so we will throw away the season. Not an option in politics.

    2. Need-where are you weak, and how do you improve on your weaknesses. Vallas fills a lot of fiscal and electoral weaknesses for Quinn.

    3. Upgrade-Simeon vs. Vallas, really, the Browns would have dumped Simon.

  19. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 2:02 pm:

    ==Any inclination toward a Quinn impeachment is eliminated by Madigan knowing he ends up with a guy whose career he tried to end.==

    ==But if he wins, Quinn could resign before the end of his term==

    Dude, take your tinfoil hat off.

  20. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 2:12 pm:

    Patriot, that’s some wild and whacky stuff.

    Lot of material to choose from, but I think my favorite part of the conspiracy is Quinn getting re-elected, then resigning to “stick it to Madigan and the unions.”

    I would say you can’t make that stuff up, but you did, and apparently think it’s reasonable. Trippy.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* So long, Kurt!
* Will "right to work" pop up again?
* A little bit of what's at stake this week
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* Time heals most wounds
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* Yesterday's blog posts

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