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Rauner Called CPS Teachers 'Virtually Illiterate' In 2011 Email

By Mae Rice in News on Jul 22, 2016 3:12PM

Photo credit: John Gress/Getty Images

Gov. Bruce Rauner wrote in a 2011 email that half of Chicago Public School teachers are "virtually illiterate" and that half of CPS principals are "managerially incompetent." The email, which he wrote before he was governor, was part of an educational reform discussion with a variety of government officials and philanthropic billionaires, including Illinois' richest man, Ken Griffin.

The email was part of a batch of emails released on Thursday by City Hall, in a response to a court order obtained by the Tribune.

"Teacher evaluation is critically important, but in a massive bureaucracy with a hostile union, where 50% of principals are managerially incompetent and half of teachers are virtually illiterate, a complex multi-dimensional evaluation system with huge subjectivity in it will be attacked, manipulated and marginalized - the status quo will prevail," Rauner wrote in the email, sent in December of 2011.

A Rauner spokesperson issued an apology later Thursday for this particular email, which said, in part: "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."

Funnily enough, back in February Rauner told NPR that "nothing good" comes from using email, and that he much prefers phone conversations. Maybe he sensed this coming.

Read the Tribune's full story on Rauner's newly-released emails here.