The [Monday] Papers
"After pulling strings to get his daughter into Walter Payton College Prep, Bruce Rauner, a Republican candidate for governor, became one of the elite Chicago public high school's biggest benefactors," the Sun-Times reports.
"The Rauner Family Foundation gave $250,000 to the Payton Prep Initiative for Education on Dec. 14, 2009 - about a year and a half after Rauner called then-Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan to overturn his daughter's rejection for admission, records examined by the Chicago Sun-Times reveal."
A minimum-wage worker would have to log 30,303 hours to earn that much.
"Rauner's gift was the largest the not-for-profit foundation had received up to that point. It amounts to nearly 30 percent of all the money the group has gotten during its first five years, according to records the Rauner and Payton charities have filed with the state."
I'm betting his daughter didn't even have to show up to graduate with honors after that bequest.
"Rauner, a venture capitalist, called Chicago school officials in early 2008. Within days, his daughter was admitted to Payton for the 2008-09 academic year by the school's principal, according to a source familiar with the matter."
Specifically, Rauner called Arne Duncan, who is now the U.S. Secretary of Education.
"According to multiple sources at Chicago Public Schools, Mr. Rauner in 2008 picked up the phone and called Mr. Duncan on behalf of his daughter, who was trying to get into Payton," Greg Hinz reported for Crain's last April.
There only was one problem, the sources say: Her test scores, academic record and other factors weren't good enough to get her into Payton.
That, more than his minimum-wage flipperoo, should disqualify Rauner from ever holding public office.
"A spokesman for Mr. Duncan says he 'doesn't recall' any such conversation," Hinz reported.
Right. That time Bruce Rauner - who has donated megabucks to Democrats as well as Republicans - called to clout his kid into Payton? Slips my mind.
"The Rauner campaign wraps itself in family and tries to blow the whole thing off. It says in a statement:
"While the Rauners expected to be attacked throughout this process, they are not going to allow their children to be used as a political football and will protect their children's privacy - in fact, their children's pictures aren't even on the website. They won't be bullied or intimidated by the insiders' scare tactics. The kids are off limits on this issue and in the future."
Fine. We won't ask the daughter to comment. But you, Bruce, get no such leeway.
Back to the Sun-Times:
"The gubernatorial hopeful has said little about his daughter's admission to Payton, dismissing it as 'stuff that doesn't matter.'"
If it doesn't matter, what's the harm in answering questions about it?
"On Saturday, Rauner's aides declined to elaborate on specific questions about his daughter's admission to Payton. Two weeks ago, Rauner's campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf said Rauner's daughter 'was admitted off the principal's list, the same way many students have been admitted.'"
Yes, the students of other clouty insiders whom Rauner is pretending to run against.
Case - and campaign - closed.
"We do have a concern about CPS data as evidenced by the cases we had this year," said Jim Sullivan, who's been the district's inspector general for nearly 11 years. "The system has incentivized how performance is evaluated based on data, and much of that data is created and can be manipulated at the school level."
There's an old business bromide that says "what gets managed gets measured, and what gets measured gets managed." In Chicago, what gets managed gets measured, so what gets measured gets manipulated.
"Sullivan's latest annual report, issued earlier this month, revealed that a high school principal and her programmer created 'ghost students' to pad enrollment so the school would be eligible for an assistant principal and additional non-teaching staff."
Maybe those ghost students went to ghost schools.
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Posted on January 13, 2014
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