Saturday, July 23, 2016

“Incompetent” and “Illiterate?” Could we say governor is “Clueless?”

I feel a little cheap referring to a five-year-old e-mail written back before anybody in public life cared one bit who Bruce Rauner was.
RAUNER: Revising his words
But the man who is now governor is going to have to take some political abuse from people on account of an e-mail message he sent back in 2011 where he was critical of the Chicago Public Schools.

SPECIFICALLY, RAUNER SAID management of the public schools was “incompetent” while the quality of teachers was also lacking, since they were – he felt – “illiterate.”

I’m not about to come to Rauner’s defense. I have aunts, uncles and cousins who either have worked for, or are currently employed by, the Chicago Public Schools in one capacity or another.

So yes, a part of me writes this commentary with a sentiment similar to that expressed in the film “The Godfather” when Al Pacino’s “Michael” warned brother “Fredo” (actor John Cazale) to “Don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family again.”

I’m aware that there are people who made a conscious choice to devote a portion of their lives to a cause they feel is noble, even though there likely are other things they could do in life that would provide them with much better financial compensation.

BUT LET’S ALSO be honest and admit that bad-mouthing the quality of the Chicago Public Schools is something that many of us do all too freely. I know in my case, my parents timed a suburban move to just weeks before I was old enough to begin school and I didn’t return to live in Chicago proper until I was of college-age.

So perhaps I’m not the prime person to try to defend the honor of the Chicago Public Schools.

But reading cheap wisecracks such as those written by Rauner all those years ago just comes across as something we shouldn’t take the least bit seriously. It’s just the same old rant being spewed yet again.

It’s not terribly original. It does nothing to enhance the quality of the schools or persuade people to want to work better at their jobs.

IF ANYTHING, IT encourages the alleged incompetents whom some want to believe only keep their jobs through the power of organized labor to dig in their heels all the harder to remain in place.

Keeping their jobs out of spite, it would seem!

Besides, I know there also are people who would say that government employees aren’t exactly the most motivated – counting purely on partisan politics and the ability of their “sponsors” to keep winning elections to ensure they keep their jobs.

Which is why Rauner seemed eager Thursday night to promptly issue an apology when the old e-mails became publicly known. His trash talk of old had the ability to create problems for him, and he’d better be quick to apologize.

OR ELSE THE people who are critical of Rauner’s performance as governor during the past two years would be quick to come up with their own labels for his administration; and they’d probably come up with tags that would stick far longer than the ones he tried to put on Chicago Public School officials.

Besides, there isn’t much for Rauner to gain by wanting to step up his hostility toward the Chicago Teachers Union – which already regards Mayor Rahm Emanuel as a sworn enemy. Does the governor really want to compete with Hizzoner for the title of “Most Despised” government official?

Besides, I already can envision the “prize” one would receive for that title – my late aunt Charlene (who worked at Chicago Vocational School for many years) would come back from the great beyond to haunt them.

Rauner a new Chicago Public Schools 'enemy?'
It would not be a pleasant experience. While my Tia Charlene was a loving woman, she was not someone you’d want to be on her bad side.

HER PERSISTENCE IN pursuing a cause (at her life’s end, she was one of the activist-types fighting against the presence of pet coke in her South Deering neighborhood) meant she’d keep on your case eternally.

Which may be the fate that Rauner will now suffer at the hands of Chicago schoolteachers everywhere!


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