Back in 2006 as I followed the race for Governor, State Sen. James Meeks was talking about circulating petitions to start his campaign for governor. Then later on he talked to the governor about Meeks' pet issue, public education and Meeks' effectively got out of the race. What a difference two years can make.
He was on a local program, FOX Chicago Sunday, talking about among other things, whether or not he might run against the governor in 2010. He said it right there mentioning that he almost ran against the governor on this issue. The Capitol Fax blogs about the story this morning...
The only “base” the governor has left is the African-American community (and that’s not solid any longer), and particularly African-American ministers. If he has any hopes at all of winning a multi-candidate primary in 2010, he has to make sure that no viable black candidate runs, particularly a black minister.Hmmm, this got me thinking just now. Sometimes you don't get into a race to win it, you get into a race just to ruin another man's chances. Better yet, you can be the candidate for those who are concerned about schools or you can be the black candidate or the family values candidate. Seems almost Machiavellian doesn't it?
I've written about the governor a lot since he got re-elected. There were stories about him about his work habits or his general psychology. It was easy for me to blast into him or it was more difficult for my to sympathize. That doesn't take away from the fact that for many people in Illinois he hasn't done the job the people had expected him to do.
In any case Meeks has been making the news in recent weeks. He had a rally in the loop yesterday which had about 2,500. Before this rally he's been planning a first day boycott where we wants to attempt to enroll Chicago Public School students at this suburban high school New Trier.
To be sure the children in the poorest neighborhoods in the city deserve better as far as education options. I'm still lukewarm to the idea that you can just throw money at the problem. Meeks might be correct in attempting to shake-up the funding formula but since schools have what they have as far as finances what about shaking up the quality of the schools.
What about hiring and retaining better teachers who can do more with less? How about making schools compete? That is the best schools should be rewarded and the ones that aren't doing well shouldn't.
How about removing metal detectors from our schools? Oh and I should add, at Jones College Prep located near the Loop on State and Harrison they have metal detectors. I saw them in the window when I walked by one afternoon. That's a travesty and a waste especially if this is the school where the students are expected to go to college. If Jones is a good school one of the best in the city, shouldn't we trust them to not bring any weapons to school?
There are a lot of problems with city schools and it requires more than money. All it takes is someone willing to roll up their sleeves to make the necessary changes. At the very least someone willing to take the risk and speak up on unpopular issues. Meeks is there already, but I think willing people need more to be moved to action.
Oh and I most certainly hope the governor doesn't even think he can run again in 2010. He should know that he has a serious target on his back. No amount of fundraising nor negative ad could help him this time around. Especially if the people are already tired of him and it seems like they might be.