Quinn: Rauner has 'no credibility on education, period'
Former Gov. Pat Quinn Thursday used the dismantling of a need-based grant program for low-income college students as evidence that his successor, Gov. Bruce Rauner, lacks "credibility" on education issues.
"Anybody who's trying to wreck the MAP (Monetary Assistance Program) doesn't have any credibility on education, period, to me," Quinn said.
The Chicago Democrat appeared at an Elk Grove Village VFW Post to back the primary campaign of state Sen. Mike Noland for Congress. Noland, an Elgin Democrat, is making a bid for the 8th District seat against Hoffman Estates businessman Raja Krishnamoorthi and Villa Park Mayor Deb Bullwinkel in the March 15 primary.
Quinn likened the state under Republican Rauner to a car "on four flat tires."
Quinn, who taught in the 1980s at Triton College in River Grove, called MAP "really vital." The program provided $373 million to schools across the state last school year but nothing since summer because of the ongoing stalemate over a state budget. Many suburban community colleges are floating students the money, and altering their budget planning to do so.
"I think we should double that program in Illinois and propose that," Quinn said. "To see it being eviscerated in this one year, it's heartbreaking."
Quinn's comments come on the heels of an announcement earlier this week from Republican leaders Christine Radogno of Lemont and Jim Durkin of Western Springs, who said they will file Rauner-backed legislation to allow the state takeover of Chicago Public Schools.
The proposal calls for the state schools superintendent, who is chosen by a governor-appointed board, to name up to seven members of an independent authority that would essentially replace Chicago's school board, which is chosen by the mayor. They would also negotiate teacher contracts, though Republicans said they wouldn't be able to "unilaterally cancel or modify" existing agreements.
Rauner says a new board and superintendent would "stand up for children and stand up for taxpayers." He said that would include standing firm in negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union on a new contract rather than using state money to help CPS, as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has requested.
Democrats, who control the legislature with veto-proof supermajorities in each chamber, have indicated that the plan has virtually no chance of passage.
Quinn, who supports an elected school board for CPS, said the state should focus on investing more in education "in every district in Illinois."
When asked if he would run again for governor, Quinn, who has also held elected office as lieutenant governor and state treasurer, said it's "too early" to think about making another bid for office.
These days, he said, he's focused on helping candidates, including Noland, and has plans to organize grass-roots efforts, petition drives and referendums.