Chicago Teachers Read In Front Of Rauner, Who Labelled Them 'Illiterate'

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jul 22, 2016 6:55PM

Gov. Bruce Rauner took the podium at a news conference Friday morning to sign legislation that pertains, in part, to teacher training—on the very same morning that the Tribune released emails from 2011 in which the governor called half of Chicago Public School teachers "virtually illiterate." The stage was set for fireworks, and members of the Chicago Teachers Union did not disappoint, offering up a Third Eye Blind-worthy troll performance by reportedly interrupting Rauner, then holding up books during the presser.

Photos taken before Rauner spoke also showed teachers getting in subtle digs, as 100 percent of pictured teachers showed off their honest-to-God literacy.

Rauner, whose charter-school advocacy was on full display in the emails, apologized in person for the remarks on Friday.

Rauner’s spokesperson, Lance Trover, released a statement of apology on Thursday, which read in part:

“Significant change can be frustratingly slow; this is especially true in public education. Many of us, at one time or another, have sent hastily crafted emails containing inaccurate or intemperate statements. This particular email was sent out of frustration at the pace of change in our public school system. The governor regrets writing it and apologizes to CPS educators for making an unfair, untrue comment.”

Things were strained between Rauner and local educators even prior to the email revelation. On Thursday, Rauner signed legislation to support state funding for early childhood education. He was joined at an appearance by his wife, Diana Rauner, who runs the early-ed organization The Ounce of Prevention Fund—one of many non-profits that sued the state for payment amid the long budget impasse. Rauner offered vague talking-point answers when asked by reporters if the stalemate had caused irreparable harm to social services.

Oh, and that press conference on Friday? It took place at the "architecturally significant" Thompson Center, which Rauner has advocated to be sold at public auction. Congratulations on the elusive shit-where-you-eat hat trick, Governor.