Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn selected Paul Vallas to be his running mate in 2014 and serve as lieutenant governor.
Vallas is a controversial figure, stemming from his days as CEO of the Chicago school system and extending forward to his current gig as school superintendent in Bridgeport, Connecticut. But it is difficult to see how much damage he can do to the state’s education establishment as lieutenant governor. If he’s able to do anything destructive, wouldn’t it be the governor’s fault?
Anyway, the choice has already led to flying fur across Illinois. “Vallas ushered in an era of massive expansion of standardized testing; the privatization of public schools through outsourcing and charter school expansion; and the devastating policy of school turnarounds, which resulted in the firing of scores of black and veteran teachers,” said Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis.
Salon went a step further, running a click-bait story with the headline, “Michelle Rhee’s new spawn: Dem governor taps top charter-lover for ticket,” and included a photo of Rhee above the story – a story that never mentioned Rhee once.
Chicago magazine was the only media outlet to ask the key question: “Why Do We Even Have a Lieutenant Governor?”
Perhaps overreaction is in the air blowing in from Lake Michigan. Today’s Chicago Tribune has a column by Dennis Byrne calling for an end to “most or all standardized testing.” Byrne’s arguments include references to Common Core (an effort to “out those who fail to conform”), Ebonics, No Child Left Behind, “goofy pedagogy,” eliminating the U.S. Department of Education, and eugenics.