Mayoral candidate Susana Mendoza touts her ‘skin in the game’ when it comes to matters of public education due to her being a Chicago Public Schools parent, but a closer look at her record shows support for legislation that undermines the work of thousands of CPS educators and support staff.
CHICAGO, Jan. 23, 2018—The Chicago Teachers Union released the following statement today addressing mayoral candidate Susana Mendoza’s record on public education:
There are a number of candidates who could be considered Rahm clones in this race, but among those, Susana Mendoza comes the closest. From her embrace of UNO—a charter network mired in scandal after scandal—to support for both charter proliferation and public school vouchers, we have no reason to believe she would be any different from her predecessor, and could potentially be ten times worse for our students and school communities.
- Voted “yes” in 2009 as a state representative on Senate Bill (SB) 1221, which awarded a $98 million grant for school construction to the UNO network of charter schools and CEO Juan Rangel. At the time, this was the largest taxpayer subsidy to a single charter network in Illinois, with Mendoza praising the network for its work in her district. Rangel stepped down from UNO in 2013 after a series of scandals, and was later charged with civil securities fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Supported SB612, which raised the state cap on charter schools and increased the total number of permitted charter schools from 60 to 120 statewide, and from 30 to 70 in Chicago Public Schools.
- Voted in favor of SB2494, “Funding for School Vouchers,” which would have let students in Chicago’s lowest-performing schools use taxpayer-funded vouchers to attend private schools. The bill would have further endangered schools that needed resources the most and created the nation’s largest voucher program in CPS. The bill was defeated in the Illinois House.
- Was the original and only sponsor of an Illinois House resolution in 2011 which commended U.S. based Turkish political figure Fethullah Gulen for his “dedication to working towards world through education, service, tolerance and the free exchange of ideas.” Gulen and his supporters’ charter school organizations have been subject to increasing scrutiny nationwide over charter school real-estate deals and self-dealing with taxpayer funds. Mendoza’s support for Gulen came after she went on several trips to Turkey sponsored in part by Gulen and his organization, the Niagara Foundation, in 2008 and 2009.
“Rahm was a congressman and served as chief of staff to a U.S. president, and he proved on a regular basis that mayoral control of Chicago’s public schools a failure,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said. “We went through five CEOs on his watch—including one who resigned due to scandal and another serving time in federal prison—so do we really want to deal with more of the same from his mentor for the next four years? Because that’s what Susana Mendoza would be.”