Chicago teachers union president: Governor Rauner an 'ISIS recruit'

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis is terribly upset that Illinois governor Bruce Rauner refuses to give the city's public schools a $1.1-billion bailout.  The state is in the midst of its worst fiscal crisis in history, as the government has been operating without a budget since July 1, 2015.  The impasse is the result of Rauner's plan to cut the budget in order to balance it and the Democratic leadership saying they want higher taxes and more spending.

In truth, Illinois House speaker Michael Madigan can't even get his majority to back his tax plan.  But he's blaming Rauner anyway, which is a popular pastime for all Democrats in the state these days.

Lewis ratcheted up the insane rhetoric by calling the governor an "ISIS recruit" who is committing acts of terror against the poor.

Chicago Tribune:

"Yes, I said it, and I'll say it again," Lewis continued. "Bruce Rauner is a liar. And, you know, I've been reading in the news lately all about these ISIS recruits popping up all over the place — has Homeland Security checked this man out yet? Because the things he's doing look like acts of terror on poor and working-class people."

Rauner's office quickly denounced Lewis' comments.

"This kind of rhetoric has no place in American public discourse and sets a terrible example for our kids," Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said in a statement.

Lewis' remarks highlighted a day of political showmanship over the troubled state of Chicago's schools.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool made a bid for moving contract talks with the CTU to binding arbitration. House Speaker Michael Madigan called for higher taxes on wealthy residents to prop up education funding. And busloads of CTU members, joined by allied labor unions and supporters, descended on Springfield for a march on the Capitol and the Executive Mansion to call for more education funding.

Lewis' City Club speech came four days after the union rejected contract recommendations of an independent arbitrator, opening the door to a strike as soon as next month. Lewis said the city is heading toward another teachers strike, but that no decision has been made on when a walkout might take place. The union has been in negotiations with the school board for well over a year to replace a contract that expired June 30.

Lewis continued her attack, comparing Rauner to a hostage-taker:

"I think he's holding people hostage," Lewis said of Rauner. "Who does that? You hold people hostage. You hold defenseless children, babies, infants, you hold defenseless mothers who are brand-new, you hold people who are disabled hostage. Because you can't get something else you want to have, that has nothing to do with a budget? You know, I mean, it's ideological. That's terrorism, that is pure ... terrorism."

She wants a new "funding mechanism" for the schools, replacing the use of property taxes for that purpose.  And the reason is simple: having Springfield directly fund schools out of the general budget would allow her and her union thugs to get as much taxpayer cash as possible. 

One teacher summed up the position of the union:

"We're broke because they're allowing us to be broke," Osgood said. "And they want us to be broke, so they can do these things to our system and claim they have no other choice."

The teachers' last contract gave them a huge raise at a time when the city was struggling with its own massive deficit.  With no accountability for student outcomes, Chicago teachers can and will hold up the state for more pay increases while they continue to lie about graduation rates – the worst of any big city in the country.

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