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IFT response to Governor Rauner’s State of the State address

Following Governor Bruce Rauner’s “State of the State” address today, IFT President Dan Montgomery released the following statement:
"Try as he might to distract from it today, Governor Rauner can’t escape his failure to fulfill his primary responsibility — to negotiate and enact a state budget.

His calls for bipartisanship are difficult to take seriously, especially given his identical words last year and his unwillingness or inability to lead since. Colleges and social services are making drastic cuts and average citizens are suffering while the Governor refuses to negotiate or ask the wealthiest to pay a dime more, despite a majority of Illinois voters who support exactly that.

We also heard another list of so-called education reforms today, the vast majority of which do nothing to improve teaching, learning, or student success. We agree that we need to better fund our schools, but we reject the Governor's demand that change must be contingent on his political agenda to weaken the rights and voices of working people, whom he’s been attacking relentlessly.

What we didn’t hear today was a real plan to address revenue for public schools and services, or even a single mention of the funding crisis in higher education, despite the fact that colleges like Chicago State University are facing closure.

Our teachers, faculty, and staff go to work each day trying to help others, trying to educate our children, trying to resolve – not create – conflict. If he truly wants to work together and address our state’s problems, Governor Rauner could learn a thing or two from them."
The Governor also discussed the need for “school choice” in his speech. For additional information on this myth, see President Montgomery's recent speech to the City Club of Chicago, where he pointed out that charters do no better than traditional public schools, and many do worse. In addition, a recent poll of Illinois voters found that school choice ranks dead last in their concerns about education. Instead, parents want healthy, well-resourced neighborhood schools that provide high-quality programs and have no trouble attracting and retaining great teachers.

Illinois Working Together (IWT), a coalition that includes the IFT, issued this statement after the Governor's remarks:
“Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration has been an unmitigated disaster for the working people and most vulnerable citizens of Illinois. He has repeatedly shown an inability or unwillingness to work together, instead forcing conflict and demanding divisive policies that benefit the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us. He said nothing today to change that.”




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