Chicago Public Schools Send Students Home With Politically Biased Letter

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner / AP
February 8, 2017

The chief executive of Chicago Public Schools wrote a letter Monday that school officials sent home with every student in the system attacking Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and President Donald Trump.

All 381,000 students were sent home with the letter, which blamed Rauner for the school system's financial problems while not mentioning any role the Democrats played in the state's budget problems, Chicago's WGN TV reported Tuesday.

The letter, penned by Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool, accused Rauner and his political allies of "cheating students" out of funding. A concerned parent provided WGN with images of the letter.

"Governor Bruce Rauner, just like President Trump, has decided to attack those who need the most help," said the letter, which began with the line "Dear Families."

Claypool castigated Rauner for blocking the city from receiving $215 million for its schools.

"Governor Rauner broke his word by blocking Chicago from receiving $215 million for our schools," he wrote. "That $215 million was supposed to be a first step–just a first step–toward treating your children fairly ... But Governor Rauner broke his word."

"We need not just the $215 million first step that the governor has stolen from your children," the letter said.

Claypool went on to say that Rauner and his allies "cheat your children of their fair share [so] they can score political points with their own supporters. Just like President Trump."

"Please join with us in demanding that the governor and his friends stop acting like President Trump," the letter concluded in a call to action to parents.

Claypool did not mention that Chicago has been run by Democrats for decades and that the Illinois state legislature is also controlled by the Democratic Party. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is a Democrat, and only one aldermen on the Chicago City Council is a Republican. At the state legislature, both the House and Senate are controlled overwhelmingly by Democrats.

Rauner's office released a letter on Tuesday to respond to Claypool's note.

"Rather than cutting services and creating a crisis to help justify a campaign to raise taxes in Springfield, it would be helpful to everyone if [Chicago Public Schools] would work with all parties to enact a balanced budget package that includes comprehensive pension reform and a new and equitable school funding formula," Illinois Secretary of Education Beth Purvis wrote.