Rahm DeVos? Betsy Emanuel? CTU opposing what it claims are Chicago mayor's plans for school vouchers...

Since he was first elected vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union in 2010, Jesse Sharkey has regularly bettered Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (above right) in TV discussions like the above one on Chicago Tonight.On August 22, 2017, the Chicago Teachers Union issued the following press release. The union expressed its shock that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is considering joining the Trump administration's education policies by supporting a form of school vouchers for Chicago. The voucher plan is endorsed by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and is the centerpiece of the education policies of the Trump administration under U.S. Secretary of Education, Michigan billionaire Betsey DeVos.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has long been part of the corporate "school reform" attack on public education, first as an aide to then Mayor Richard M. Daley (who routinely underfunded the city's real public schools while expanding charter schools via a plan called "Renaissance 2010") and then as Chief of Staff during the union busting attacks on public education by the Obama administration, whose "Race to the Top" corporate school reform programs expanded the "Chicago plan" of school closings, test-based attacks on public school teachers, and charter expansions across the USA.

In its August 22 statement (below) the CTU is accusing Emanuel of taking the next step and supporting an Illinois voucher plan being pushed by Governor Bruce Rauner.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s school voucher plan

CTU statement regarding reports that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is considering a voucher program to close the budget gap for Chicago Public Schools.

CHICAGO—Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Bruce Rauner are knowingly sabotaging Chicago’s public schools—the mayor by putting phantom money in school budgets, and the governor by vetoing legislation that would equitably fund schools not only in Chicago, but across the state. The voucher program the governor has long touted and the mayor is now considering will do nothing for the long-term sustainability of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) budgets, and will instead drain resources from schools and further push students out of the district.

It is clear from today’s reports that the mayor is not trying to save CPS. Not only has he refused to work at the state level for revenue, he has also refused to provide any details on using available city resources—tax increment financing, corporate head tax or commercial lease tax—to close the CPS budget gap. Our schools need $2,700 more per student, yet the mayor instead chooses to pay $70,000 a day in loan shark interest rates to big banks.

Vouchers are a reverse Robin Hood scheme that siphons money from poor school districts and lets the wealthy avoid paying their fair share in taxes. A total of $100 million in school vouchers is the equivalent of adding 1,000 teachers, paraprofessionals and clinician for kindergarten through fifth grade classes and programs, which would lower class sizes across the city and provide support for the trauma and violence so many of our students face.

The Chicago Teachers Union calls for an immediate end to mayoral control of our schools.

“Rahm has failed to secure revenue at both the city and state levels, and is now supporting a plan that will give money to private schools that could be directed to our public school classrooms,” CTU President Karen Lewis said. “Vouchers are a double whammy aimed at the heart of public education, and to be frank, amount to stealing from the same Black and Brown children to whom he claims to be providing sanctuary and equity.”


The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at


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