Charter ally pours big bucks into Mendoza campaign for support of charter industry, as candidate continues to oppose elected school board.
CHICAGO, January 28, 2019—Susana Mendoza has pushed school vouchers that rob public school districts of funds, promoted charter schools over public schools, and touted the ‘choice’ model favored by the current mayor that is increasingly viewed as a failure by public education advocates.
But she’s ducked her hostility to public schools during her mayoral campaign—a dodge the CTU is taking direct aim at in two new digital ads that start running today.
The first ad, #FactCheck: Susana Mendoza on charter schools, features Mendoza talking about the great job charter operator UNO was doing for public students. UNO subsequently became embroiled in a scandal involving insider dealing of million in public funds that ultimately cost top UNO executives—including Rahm Emanuel ally Juan Rangel—their jobs. Rangel was also charged with securities fraud and barred from participating in any future municipal bond offerings. Union educators struck the rebranded UNO charter operator in December—the first strike against a charter operator in U.S. history—for continuing to shortchange students and lowball pay for educators.
The second ad, #FactCheck: Susana Mendoza on vouchers and school “choice”, features Mendoza touting vouchers as a way to allow parents to avoid public schools. Rauner’s voucher scheme drew fierce opposition from public education advocates, who pointed to its roots in racist segregation policies.
According to a recent poll by the state’s largest charter lobby, INCS, Mendoza is running second behind Toni Preckwinkle in the mayor’s race. Mendoza is certainly the kind of candidate INCS would get behind. Besides her strong support for charters, she was largely silent when her political ally Emanuel pushed through the mass closings of 50 schools in 2013. And in 2001, she joined then CPS CEO Paul Vallas in deriding parents’ 19 day hunger strike to demand a new high school for the overwhelmingly Mexican Little Village community—at the same time that she was boosting UNO expansion in the area. She opposes a fully elected school board for Chicago—the only school district in the state that does not elect its school board.
Mendoza has tapped Emanuel ally Becky Carroll, who served as his mouthpiece at CPS and ran one of his PACs—and who famously said that 40 kids in a classroom is no big deal—as a political strategist. Mendoza has also received $50,000 for her mayoral run from Jim Frank, an Emanuel and Rauner supporter who is a primary funder of INCS’ PAC, forking over $450,000 to INCS’ PACs in December 2018 alone.
“The last thing this city and our students need is Rahm 3.0—and that is exactly what Susana Mendoza represents,” said CTU President Jesse Sharkey. “She loves privatization, she has contempt for democracy for our school district, she did virtually nothing as state representative to leverage the funding that public schools desperately need—though she was happy to cosign the giveaway of hundreds millions of dollars for charters like UNO—and she would continue the politics of austerity and privatization that have plagued the regimes of the current mayor and his predecessor. People deserve to know what her agenda is—and we aim to help voters find out about her track record.”