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Elected Chicago school board way overdue

Why shouldn’t Chicagoans have a direct say in who serves on the board that sets the policies that directly impact their children? 

Preschool children eat lunch at Dawes Elementary School on Monday, the first day of optional in-person learning at CPS.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

I must take exception to your Monday editorial of Jan. 11 (Middle of a pandemic is no time for Legislature to vote on an elected school board”).

The editorial references House Bill 2267, which would establish a representative elected school board in Chicago, and HB 2275 — passed on Monday afternoon — which would restore full bargaining rights to the Chicago Teachers Union.

In the editorial, you ask, “What exactly is the rush?” My question is, why has it taken so long? Chicago has never had an elected school board. It has always been under the direct or indirect control of the mayor. Supposedly, this was to prevent the board from being “political,” yet how is it that an elected mayor — by the very nature of that office — not being “political” when appointing board members? Also, why are the more than 800 elected school boards in Illinois not considered political? Are Downstaters somehow more pure than those of us in Chicago when it comes to educational issues?

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be 350 words or less.

Why shouldn’t we, the citizens of Chicago, have a direct say in who serves on the board that determines the policies that directly impact our children? For the record, both of my kids attended CPS schools, and one is now a CPS teacher and the other a veterinarian. My eldest grandchild is expected to be entering a CPS school in September.

I am also dismayed that the Sun-Times felt it was a good idea to have limits on one particular union and not other similar ones. The limits on Chicago Teachers Union bargaining have been around for about 25 years — and could be used as a precedent to limit the bargaining power of other unions. Such proposals were floated when Bruce Rauner was governor and could come up again.

Isn’t it better to expand the power of the working man than to limit it? I hope the Sun-Times reconsiders its positions on both of these proposed laws.

George Milkowski, West Ridge

Confessions of the sheeples

As your Jan. 7 editorial notes, Trump defenders already are trying to blame “infiltrators” for what their supporters did last Wednesday at the Capitol. They provide no actual evidence of this, but even if it were true it reflects poorly on them.

What they’re saying is that the “real” pro-Trumpers were easily fooled by a bunch of snowflakes dressed as he-men who easily mimic their slogans to fit in seamlessly. Then these supposedly peaceful and patriotic soldiers in Trump’s well-regulated militia were effortlessly diverted from their mission by all-knowing shapeshifters who instantly brainwashed them into going all thug. Which, they say, was initially the furthest thing from their minds.

The word for this is “sheeple.” Are they sure this is where they want to hang their hat?

Steve Cohen, Evanston

Unfair to boycott

What has this country turned into? Now people are childishly threatening to boycott the businesses of people who attended the Trump rally — even if those people were not among the violent protesters.

If people were at the rally but took no part in the siege of the Capitol, why should they or their businesses be punished or boycotted? They had a right to attend the Trump rally, just as much as if it were a Joe Biden rally or any other protest. It’s called freedom of speech.

Grow up already.

John Moravecek, Naperville

“We were just kidding”

This morning, I read the sad tale of the insurrectionist Brad Rukstales, a local CEO. The board of his suburban Chicago company, Cogensia, placed him on leave after he was arrested for his part in the raid on the Capitol. If you happen to read Rukstales’ Twitter statement, he now says he is “sorry” for his “indiscretion.”

I am sure that all the insurrectionists eventually arrested will use some variant of white privilege. Can you hear it?

“We were just kidding.”

“I didn’t know this would happen.”

“That podium belongs to the people, I was making sure they got it.”

“I didn’t realize the Confederate flag is a symbol of hate.”

“I always dress up as a shaman.”

Law enforcement must track them all down, arrest them, and try them in court. Otherwise, as Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, said of Donald Trump, they will try again.

George Tafelski, West Elsdon