* 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 [http://huff.to/1il8Zba] 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 [ http://bit.ly/1njKDMF].
- 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 [http://bit.ly/1iezoHU]: “More control for parents, not union bosses.” There’s also this: Rauner has taken to calling the sitting governor “Quinnochio,” as in liar [http://cbsloc.al/1nPujVJ].
- 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.