A labor union leader questions Gov. Bruce Rauner’s advocacy for “local control” in encouraging him to change the state’s charter school commission.
Illinois Federation of Teachers president Dan Montgomery says he’s not calling for charter schools to be abolished in Illinois, but instead wants them to return to their original purpose: to serve as “innovation labs” to test out new ideas for traditional public schools, not take their place.
That mission may prove difficult under Rauner, a well-known advocate of charter schools, but Montgomery says one change to the Illinois State Charter School Commission would fit within Rauner’s views.
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The commission is able to overrule local school boards’ rejection of charter applications, which Montgomery thinks goes against Rauner’s calls for voters to have more say in how their local government operates.
“I’m not quite sure why the governor, who wants local control of everything, including collective bargaining and every other issue, doesn’t like local control from school boards on this issue,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery cited an April 2015 decision by the commission to allow a charter school to open in Waukegan, despite the district rejecting its application.
Criticisms of Rauner were sprinkled throughout Montgomery’s speech to the City Club of Chicago Tuesday. He at one point said Rauner “wants us gone,” referring to labor unions.
When asked by a member of the audience if Montgomery had interest in running against Rauner in 2018, he laughed and said no.