An Open Letter to Governor Rauner

Governor Rauner,

Yesterday, you made this comment about the one- day strike organized by the Chicago Teacher Union that shut down many Chicago Public Schools and displaced nearly 400,000 students for the day:

“It’s shameful that Chicago’s children are the victims in this raw display of political power. Walking out on kids in the classroom, leaving parents in the lurch and thumbing their nose at taxpayers — it’s the height of arrogance from those we’ve entrusted with our children’s futures…” -Rauner, 2016

I really want to point that you have just said exactly what the city and state have been saying about you.You were elected at the end of 2014 and we trusted you to get the state in shape, yet you are failing us.

For over 8 months, Illinois has been facing a budget crisis, and as a result, Illinois’s social service programs and schools have been greatly affected. You even stopped funding the MAP program that gives out grants to low- income college students.

I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but by not passing a budget, you are playing politics with student education and people’s lives.

That is why people are fighting and protesting. They are fighting because of the lack of funding for public schools in Chicago and universities all over the state.

Chicago State University, along with other universities, are facing possible shut downs. Students are thinking about transferring to schools that lack appropriate resources, or worse, are thinking about dropping out of college entirely.

A student who is unable to continue college, may now have to get a job that pays lower than a living wage, hindering any means of returning to school and leaving them without a college degree. If economic growth is so important to you, then how is this person supposed to appropriately contribute to society when they can barely making a living?

What I am getting at, Governor Rauner, is that you have a position of privilege and power and yet are misusing it. You are standing against unions and standing against MAP funding. You are marginalizing people and making them powerless as you shape Illinois, not to the needs of the people who reside in it, but rather your own.

The year before your election, news outlets reported you owning nine “houses”. I point this out because you have the luxury of living the way you do, yet so many others are struggling to get by.

Referring back to your comment about children being the victims, I agree they are. However, not passing a state budget is making things worse for them. In an article published March of 2015, found that one in four children who reside in the Sangamon County live in poverty. 

Another article, featuring yourself, stated:

“What we’re focused on is the current situation and the future,” [Rauner] added. “Change is difficult. Change causes pain. We believe very strongly that we’re going to go through some short-term pain for some very long-term gain.”-Rauner, 2015

I agree there must be change occurring. But I also do not think that change has to be this painful and this desperate. If we are analyzing the current situation, you should realize that you are not helping to solve it, rather, you are making matters worse for the present and for the future. Parents, teachers, students, and staff are holding such protests to catch your attention. We cannot reform our systems without your help. We are asking you to come and see the problems that people are facing on a daily basis; to understand why we are protesting.

 

Sincerely,

one student of thousand others being affected by your actions,

Bianca I. Mena

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