CTU President issues statement challenging Vallas pick for lieutenant governor

Within hours after the announcement that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn had selected Paul Vallas to be his running mate in the upcoming gubernatorial election, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis issued the following statement of concern about the appointment:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Michael Harrington. November 8, 2013 (312) 329-6216

Statement by Chicago Teachers Union President Karen GJ Lewis, NBCT on the selection of Paul Vallas as Governor Quinns running mate

The Chicago Teachers Union has supported Governor Quinn in the past because of his commitment to grassroots organizing, publicly funded public education, and collective bargaining. For these reasons we are concerned about his choice of Paul Vallas as a running mate. His choice takes us in the wrong direction for public education in Chicago and Illinois.

While he was CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, Vallas pioneered the corporate driven education model in our city. His policies continue to devastate our schools system, which recently suffered 50 school closures, deep and painful school budget cuts, and the loss of thousands of experienced school staff are key tenets of the Vallas model.

Vallas ushered in an era of massive expansion of standardized testing; the privatization of public schools through outsourcing and charter school expansion; and the devastating policy of school turnarounds, which resulted in the firing of scores of black and veteran teachers.

In a 2010 interview with John Merrow on PBS, Paul Vallas appallingly stated that he did not see any downside to charter school proliferation, believed that there was not enough faculty turnover in education, and did not see a need for collective bargaining.

Just this week in Bridgeport, CT, the school board election results were viewed as a referendum on Vallas tenure as an unaccredited district administrator. In consideration of this list of concerns, we hope that Vallas will move to support proposals for an elected representative school board in Chicago, and also denounce privatization schemes that have done nothing to increase academic achievement or address the needs of students who need the most in Chicago, Philadelphia, and New Orleans.


November 9, 2013 at 10:32 AM

By: Bob Busch

Chainsaw Paul

I am looking at this as an outside observer:

Paul Vallas reminds me of the Mad Hatter, who said Im late Im late for a very important date,no time to say hello good bye Im late Im late Im late. I met him several times when he was Chicagos CEO, and know his father in law who is a great guy.

Personally I think this was a brilliant selection on the surface, but might turn out to be a disaster for Mr. Quinn. Vallas brings his reputation as an educational hatchet man and union buster to the ticket.

That will sit well with republicans and conservative Democrats. But to machine Democrats .who banished Him from Illinois, unions, and liberal democrats he is poison.

Nobody as controversial as Mr. Vallas comes to a ticket without baggage his educational reform moves in Chicago, Philadelphia, New Orleans ,and Haiti will be political fodder for the opposition while

his impending ouster from Bridgeport , for being unqualified ,cannot help his cause.

To sum up my feelings He might help the ticket by expanding the voter base downstate

and with republicans. If his presence on the ticket alienates unions to the point they stay home,or even form a third party his role will be disastrous.

November 9, 2013 at 2:58 PM

By: Edward Hershey


Quinn has shown which side he's on -- and it ain't ours. I will eat my hat before giving more PAC money to enemies like Quinn.

Quinn was at LEAD and Take Back Chicago?

What does that say?

November 9, 2013 at 10:33 PM

By: Jay Rehak

No Self Respecting Teacher Can Support Quinn-Vallas

What Paul Vallas knows about real public education might fill half a dozen thimbles, but that doesn't make him qualified to be Lieutenant Governor. No self-respecting teacher can vote for Quinn-Vallas. We need to urge the Governor to find a better candidate or he faces the loss of tens of thousands of teachers as voters and foot soldiers in the next Governor's race.

November 10, 2013 at 12:49 AM

By: George Andrew Riley

Karen Lewis

Chicago better start banging pots and pans for Karen Lewis to run for mayor, like we did for Harold Washington. Quinn's betrayal should be a lesson to any reasonable mind. You don't have any true political allies except for Karen. Rahm is a tsunami waiting for Chicago liberals to continue twiddling their thumbs, instead of following this out to the next logical conclusion, building an infrastructure that proves to Karen that she could win. And yes she could win and if it wasn't for her we would be in the same dismal moribund shape as we have been for the last twenty four years.

December 27, 2013 at 8:05 PM

By: Danny van Over

DFER Illinois

You know how it is when you're surfing the Web: you click on one hyperlink which leads to another, then to another, and before you know it, you're either staring at cleavage or the logo of the Democrats for Education Reform web page. In my case, sadly, it was the latter.

Rare are my visits to the DFER site, whose very first plank under "What We Stand For" is "closing failing schools." When making lists, people often put what they believe is the most important item at the front. Did I mention that DFER puts "closing failing schools" first among statements of their beliefs? That's pretty much all I need to know about them, and yet, I plod forward.

Anyhow, since I'm already there, I decide to look around. Knowing that DFER has an Illinois chapter, I follow yet another hyperlink. And there I find myself on a page where Rebecca Nieves Huffman, DFER Illinois state director, shares salacious stories to let the rest of the country know what is going on in Illinois.

So I read the first story "Pension Deal: A First Step Toward Full Education Funding," a paean to the courage of Democratic legislators for passing such an important law. Mind you, Rebecca and I--well, we don't quite see things eye-to-eye. My thinking is that full education funding should include provision for paying teacher pensions. But I digress...

The next item really caught my eye: "DFER-IL Statement on CTPF Chair Jay Rehak's Attack on Paul Vallas." The title makes it clear that RNH is speaking for DFER-IL. She faithfully reproduces Jay's comment above and provides a hyperlink to this page (which is how I ended up here). Basically, Rebecca says that Jay's political bias should cause teachers concern that their pensions are in good hands. Oh, the irony!

The next item on the page is titled "Student Growth Tied to Teacher Evaluations in Chicago." It's Rebecca's hope that tenured teachers rated in the highest performance category will see a sharp decline. Sigh. Again, although I don't support Becky's take on this, it is still a substantive issue upon which reasonable people may disagree.

Let me recap: The point of the page is to share with DFER enthusiasts across the country the progress that the organization is making here in Illinois. The last three items are pension reform (December), Jay Rehak attacks Quinn-Vallas (November), and student progress linked to teacher evaluations (September). Which of these things doesn't belong?

Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

3 + 5 =