Monday, March 6, 2017

Gov takes a "Chance" on schools talks

The weekend has passed, and I'm still trying to figure out what the point was in having the governor talk with Chance the Rapper, about public education.
CHANCE: Advising Rauner on schools?

It's nice, I suppose, that the Chicago native whose birth certificate reads Chancellor Bennett is concerned about the fact that the ongoing stalemate in Springfield that is keeping a state government budget from being approved is spilling over into the fate of the Chicago Public Schools.

IT'S ACTUALLY GOING to take out public education across the state. Schools officials all over Illinois are bad-mouthing state officials, Gov. Bruce Rauner in particular, for the delays that are occurring in terms of school districts getting those state aid payments that many rely upon to provide the bulk of their operating budgets for the academic year.

But the Chicago schools have some financial problems to address, and any delays are going to whack their economic status particularly badly.

The rap star from the South Side was supposed to meet last week Wednesday with the governor to talk about the Chicago school predicament, but the governor cancelled out because of the heavy storms Tuesday night that killed a couple of people and caused some significant damage in parts of central Illinois.

It makes sense that Rauner wanted to pay attention to that situation. So the fact that the two waited a couple of days until Friday doesn't really make much of a difference.

BECAUSE I DON'T think anything of more significance would have been said if they had met as scheduled. As things went, the meeting at the Thompson Center in Chicago lasted barely a half hour before the two came out and expressed some platitudes. Or, as Chance said it, the two did manage to exchange phone numbers.

Which may make the musician believe that the governor will call him to seek advice on any budgetary negotiations that take place in coming weeks and months.

Seriously, I'd expect the management of the Chicago White Sox to be more likely to seek out the opinion of Chance on any player personnel moves they might try to make this season. The musician did, after all, try to work for the White Sox to help try to bolster the ball club's image within the African-American portion of Sout' Side Chicago. He is the guy who came up with the alternate-design White Sox caps meant to appeal to some fans.

Although I wouldn't think Chance would know anything more about finding a quality pitcher than he would the solution to financing the public schools.
RAUNER: Pretending to listen?

IT MAY BE a nice thought that Chance, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, said "take our kids off the table." As in put the approval of state funding for public education ahead of any politically-partisan desires the governor may feel.

Of course, Rauner has been ignoring other people who have said he ought to put aside partisan politics for the good of the state. Did anyone really think that a 23-year-old with no real experience in education or public policy would be capable of swaying the governor?

Now I don't want to sound like I'm badmouthing Chance or calling his intelligence or sincerity on this issue into question. Maybe he really does care about public education. Although not any more than I do, and I certainly wouldn't be the kind of person who would get onto the governor's schedule to tell him to his face he's making a mess of things.

But to me, the only point of Rauner having this meeting was to have a cheap stunt to make it appear that he was doing something significant, without actually doing anything of relevance.

IT WOULD HAVE been as legitimate a "news" event if Rauner had met with one of the people who work the cash register at the Sbarro's pizza franchise in the basement of the Thompson Center to ask her what she thinks about public education. If anything, her opinion might actually be more legitimate.

The view of a "real life" person who has to work for a living. There are times I think we'd all be better off if we paid more attention to such people!

As for why the event got so much news media attention, I have to shamefully admit that it got covered so big because it's a simple angle that can easily be interpreted in the typical 30- to 45-second dispatch of a news broadcast report. Real stories can get too complex and get dismissed by certain people as "boring!"

Unfortunately, "boring" too often is evidence of significant action taking place -- meaning that if any significant action had occurred Friday, no one would have bothered paying much attention.


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