The response to Governor Rauner’s “CPS schools are crumbling prisons” remark has been fierce.
The #NotAPrison hashtag has been ubiquitous.
I have to admit that as a retired teacher, parent of CPS students (now grown and gone to be teachers) and a teacher union guy the response surprised me a bit.
After all, I have a long list of criticisms of CPS administration and governance that stretch back decades. And the words “schools as prisons” may even have entered my vocabulary once or twice.
And I’m not alone, even among many who hash tagged #NotAPrison.
The reaction to the Governor’s description of CPS schools as crumbling prisons came as a result of the political sophistication of Chicago teachers and parents who were well aware of what the Governor was up to.
The political subtext was an attack on public schools – and not just any public schools. Public schools where Black and Brown parents send their children.
They are willing to send their children to crumbling prisons, was what the Governor was saying.
Following his crumbling prisons remark the Governor went on a downstate speaking tour, the centerpiece of which was his opposition to additional dollars for Chicago public schools.
Calling equitable education funding a Chicago bailout, the racial implications echoed the head of his Republican Party, Donald Trump.
In swing downstate legislative districts, “Chicago” is nothing more than racial code.
What next? A call for a wall around Chicago?