MOLINE — Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner wants to shake up the state's education system by introducing more charter schools and taking on teachers unions.
Mr. Rauner, who has degrees from Harvard and Dartmouth College, is the former chairman of GTCR, a major Chicago-based private equity firm. The first-time political candidate campaigned in the Quad-Cities on Thursday and met with reporters at St. Giuseppe's Heavenly Pizza in Moline.
St. Giuseppe's is owned by former GOP Congressman Bobby Schilling, who spoke favorably of Mr. Rauner but fell short of endorsing his candidacy for governor.
Mr. Rauner has long been involved with the charter school movement in Chicago. If elected to the governor's office, he said he would push for more competition among schools across Illinois.
"I think we've got to create competition and choice to the broken monopoly that's our system," he said. "We need charter schools, we need vouchers."
Charter schools are publicly funded but privately run and usually have more freedom in choosing a curriculum than public schools. They also often hire non-union teachers.
Illinois has a cap of 120 charter schools, with a maximum of 75 allowed in Chicago and 45 for the rest of the state. That cap, Mr. Rauner said, is supported by teachers' unions and should be lifted.
"The reality is our school districts are controlled by the teacher's unions and their allies," he said. "The schools in Illinois are run for the benefit of the adults in the building rather than for the benefit of the schoolchildren and their parents."
Mr. Rauner said parents should be allowed to choose which public school their children attend.
"We should have vouchers, so that when a school is failing parents can afford to take their child to whatever schools work for them," he said.
Mr. Rauner also said teachers should not be forced to join a union if they don't want to. In Illinois, teachers can be required to pay a fee to a union as a condition of continued employment.
He also said he would work to end the tenure system for teachers, which critics say makes it harder to fire teachers.
"I don't believe there should be tenure for teachers," Mr. Rauner said. "Nobody should have a job for life guaranteed."
Mr. Rauner is running against state senators Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard and state treasurer Dan Rutherford for the 2014 Republican nomination for governor. On the Democratic side, Gov. Pat Quinn is being challenged in the primary election by Bill Daley, the former White House Chief of Staff.
Today is Monday, Oct. 20, the 293rd day of 2014. There are 72 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The store of Devoe and Crampton was entered and robbed of about $500 worth of gold pens and pocket cutlery last night. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Michael Malloy was named president of the Tri-City Stone Cutters Union. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Dewitte C. Poole, former Moline newspaperman serving as vice consul general for the United States government in Paris, declared in a letter to friends that the once gay Paris is a city of sadness and desolation. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans for the construction of an $80,000 wholesale bakery at 2011 4th Ave. were announced by Harry and Nick Coin, of Rock Island. It is to be known as the Banquet Bakery. 1964 -- 50 years ago: An application has been filed for a state permit to organize a savings and loan association in Moline, it was announced. The applicants are Ben Butterworth, A.B. Lundahl, C. Richard Evans, John Harris, George Crampton and William Getz, all of Moline, Charles Roberts, Rock Island, and Charles Johnson, of Hampton. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Indian summer is quickly disappearing as temperatures slide into the 40s and 50s this week. Last week, highs were in the 80s.