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Rauner Apologizes For Email Insulting Teachers

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
Gov. Bruce Rauner addresses employees at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency in this file photo from June 2015.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is apologizing for saying half of Chicago public school teachers are “virtually illiterate.”

Rauner made the comments in an email five years ago, when he was still a private citizen interested in improving education.

He was discussing a teacher evaluation system, but worried it would be attacked in a city where "50% of principals are managerially incompetent and half of teachers are virtually illiterate.”

"I apologize for the statement that I made in that email in 2011," Rauner said Friday. "The remarks there were inaccurate and intemperate. And I apologize to the teachers and I regret those comments.”

Rauner says he was frustrated at the pace of change in Chicago, but he’s also been open about his contempt for teacher unions.

The emails were obtained by the Chicago Tribune, which only got them after suing the city of Chicago.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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