EDGEWATER — Politicians took issue with Gov. Bruce Bruce Rauner's comparison of Chicago Public Schools to "crumbling prisons" while speaking at a State of Edgewater meeting Tuesday.
"The schools in our areas are really the envy of not only Chicago Public Schools, but a lot of the state of Illinois," state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) said, referring to remarks made by Rauner (and also Mayor Rahm Emanuel) earlier this week. "To hear them referred to yesterday by our governor as just 'prisons,' denigrating the work of the families and teachers and community who spent so long investing in our schools is just wrong, and again another example of the kind of negativity and bomb-throwing that we really need to avoid."
Ald. Harry Osterman said he would be extending an invitation for Rauner to visit schools in Edgewater.
"I'm going to be political with the governor, I'm going to invite the governor to come visit the schools in my community," Osterman said. "I've seen the progress that they have made, I've seen families stay in the community because of the success of our schools."
Recently the Chicago Teachers Union slammed both Rauner and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool for failing to find solutions to fund the city's schools.
Claypool said without a budget, Chicago schools are unlikely to open in the fall.
"Sadly, when it gets to be involved with the governor's office, we find that progress gets rolled back again," Harris said. "In a meeting [Monday] we talked about a stop-gap budget to get us through the summer.
"But again, the governor's vote came back with the same stuff: We won't agree to funding human services, we don't want to support increased funding for Chicago Public Schools, we want to drive funding to other areas, we want to cut higher education, we want to eliminate MAP grants for college students."
Senn High School Principal Mary Beck brought a group of students to the political breakfast, pictured here with Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) (l.), Rep. Greg Harris in the back right, and Karen Dreyfuss, 48th Ward education liaison. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Looking For Solutions
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who attended Rogers Elementary School as a girl before graduating from Sullivan High School, said her granddaughter attended Lake View High School.
"All our children need, and all our educators need, is some investment in the good work that we know that they can do," Schakowsky said. "This is real personal to me, and we need to solve this problem."
Harris and Osterman both hammered the importance of both Chicago and the state finding "new revenue" to bring in in order to start paying the bills.
"Helping [neighborhood schools] helps us all," he said.
State Rep. Greg Harris spoke about the importance of finding new funding at both the state and city level to make up for a $9 billion state deficit affecting Chicago Public Schools. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Harris said in order for funding to be equal, schools and districts with the most financial need should get the most money.
One way to do that was through a state sales tax on services, and not just barbers, he said, but "where the big money is," like financial institutions.
Similarly, a progressive income tax on those "who are the most fortunate" would bring in more money for the state, and schools, "as we try to get through the mess that we find ourselves in financially as a state," Harris said.
On the Far North Side, where diverse communities like Rogers Park, Egdewater and West Ridge have many neighborhood schools, learning and enrichment goes far beyond basic school subjects, Schakowsky said.
"At our schools here in Edgewater, we're really teaching kids a lot more than just the math and science and literature books, we're teaching them how to work, and play and get along with people that come from all corners of the world," Schakowsky said.
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