Hughes calls for ouster of CTU President Karen Lewis
Chicago Teachers Union members need to turn long-time President Karen Lewis out of office, a radio show co-host said during a recent broadcast.
"Look, someone has to stop her," Illinois Opportunity Project co-founder Pat Hughes said during a recent edition of "Illinois Rising." "That's why I'm hoping that these people who are in her union over time, and others, will say 'We're going to be left holding the bag, your scam is up, let's go' and get her out of there, get somebody else in there."
Lewis, a CTU member since 1988, first became president of the union in 2010.
Hughes comments were sparked by the more recent developments in the feud between Lewis and Illinois' Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, which is playing itself out largely in the ongoing union movement in Noble Network of Charter Schools. Rauner has been a long-time supporter, financially and politically, of Noble Network of Charter Schools. The school network's Rauner College Prep is named for him.
Hughes, as well as co-hosting Illinois Rising with Illinois Opportunity Project co-founder Dan Proft, is a Hinsdale attorney and real estate developer and President of the Liberty Justice Center. Proft, Liberty Principles PAC chairperson and treasurer, is a senior fellow at the Chicago-based conservative think tank Illinois Policy Institute. Illinois Rising is a presentation of the Illinois Policy Institute. Proft is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
The most recent unpleasantness isn't the first time Lewis has taken aim at Rauner. In the fall of 2012, the same year as a Chicago Public Schools teachers strike, before Rauner's election to be Illinois' Republican governor in 2014, the teacher's union president wrote in a Chicago Tribune op-ed piece that Rauner "knows absolutely nothing about education." In the same piece, Lewis claimed Rauner was less concerned about the needs of education in Illinois than observant of how much political clout he could gain by advocating charter schools and increasing the number of teaching interns and standardize tests.
"The amount of anger and venom Rauner spits out at our hardworking CPS teachers is beyond reprehensible," Lewis said in the op-ed.
Rauner and Lewis' more recent rancor has extended to include the state's powerful House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Though some doubt whether the fight between the governor and mayor is real because they certainly were once friends, the bad blood between Rauner and Lewis is well-documented.
There's additional tension because of suggestions that the future of Chicago Public Schools elected school board may come down to who Rauner likes the least, the mayor or the union leader.
Beyond the feud, the left-wing politics perpetuated Lewis' has been very bad for Chicago teachers and the state as a whole, all in service of a powerful few, Hughes said.
"The people who Lewis and Emmanuel and Madigan serve is such a tiny percentage of the population," Hughes said. "If more people don't wake up at the ballot box and realize that they're getting screwed and they're voting over and over and over again for the same people, then they deserve the fate that they get. We need those folks who've been voting the wrong way to change that habit."
Voting the wrong way often has been the result of a common left-wing narrative in which words lose their real meaning and take on a more sinister definition, Hughes said.
"How the left turns standard phrases into pejoratives and how that becomes a thing," he said. "Think about 'dark money.' People give charitable money away or they give money to a cause and suddenly that becomes 'dark money.' "
"That's a pejorative," he said. "That's Karen Lewis trying to turn 'charter school' into a pejorative. The media helps her and the narrative helps her. And it's incredible how it's the same thing at the national level, at the state level, at the local level. This is how the left controls language. You can hear it in her clips."