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HomeIllinois NewsIllinois Policy Institute takes down "racist" cartoon

Illinois Policy Institute takes down “racist” cartoon




CHICAGO – Since several staff members have moved in to run Governor Rauner's office, Illinois Policy Institute has been heavily criticized by Chicago media and Springfield insiders as an extremist group that pushes radical right ideas like balanced budgets, lower taxes, smaller government and education choice. 

But Wednesday's cartoon depicting a rich guy with TIF dollars bulging out of one pocket rejecting an African-American boy asking for help to fund his Chicago school has pushed the envelope just too far.

During the Illinois House session Wednesday, the cartoon was condemned as "racist." Together with the Chicago media, demands were made that the cartoon be taken down

Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman took down the cartoon, saying it was a "distraction" from the real issue – the inequity of school funding for Illinois' children. He issued the following statement: 

The Illinois Policy Institute recently published a cartoon to address the sad reality that TIF districts rob Illinois children – including children of color – of the funds necessary for their education. The price our children pay for this misgovernance is steep.

Some lawmakers are denouncing our cartoon. We respect these lawmakers, both as representatives of their constituencies and as bearers of their own experiences and perceptions, and we acknowledge their critique.

But our cartoon told the truth: TIFs take away money from all students, and disproportionately harm students of color. We stand by that fact. And we have long fought to help all students get access to better educational opportunities. TIF prevents that.

We have taken down the cartoon, not because we think it is racist, but because it is a distraction from another truth – the failure of political leaders to address the root cause of our struggling education system. We stand ready to work with all elected officials and advocates who would like to see TIF money properly refocused on students across the state.

Finally, what we find sad, and frankly offensive, is that in a world where so much real, harmful racism exists, political leaders are using the false charge of racism in an attempt to smear policy opponents and distract the people of Illinois from politicians’ failures.

“This is a distraction from the most important task at hand in the Statehouse: Ensuring equitable education funding for all Illinois students.”

The cartoon: 




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  1. Everything is racist to Chicago. Lets look at the ethnic breakdown of CPS:
    Student Racial Makeup
    African American: 37.7%
    Asian: 3.9%
    Asian/Pacific Islander (retired): 0.00%
    Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.2%
    Hispanic: 46.5%
    Multi-Racial: 1.1%
    Native American/Alaskan: 0.2%
    White: 9.9%
    Not Available: 0.5%
    Nearly 38% of CPS students are Black, so just how is this cartoon racist? And how do I know the kid in the cartoon isn’t hispanic? Is truth racist?

  2. LOL… I don’t know what to make of your rant. But this cartoon is NOT racist. Do you think it would still be racism if the kid depicted was Asian or can only Black & Hispanics be victims of racism.
    Student Enrollment
    Preschool: 20,673
    Kindergarten: 26,093
    Elementary (1-8): 225,530
    Secondary (9-12): 109,053
    Additional student information
    Economically Disadvantaged Students: 80.22%
    English Language Learners (ELL): 17.17%
    Students with IEPs: 13.66%

  3. I think your facile understanding of the issue cauuses you to think racism.
    CPS’ problems began in 1995 when politicians started treating the pension system as a slush fund, draining billions of dollars from teachers’ retirements for political benefit.
    CPS officials – with the consent of the General Assembly – enacted a 10-year “pension holiday” that diverted more than $1.5 billion in taxpayer dollars away from pensions and toward school operations, most notably to salaries.
    In 1999, the system was fully funded. But by 2006, those skipped pension contributions coupled with a weak stock market created a $3.1 billion shortfall.
    Even though the pension holiday added billions of dollars of debt to the pension fund, CPS resorted to the same pension-holiday scheme again in 2010, diverting yet another $1.3 billion from teacher pensions over a three-year period.
    The results of that mismanagement were catastrophic: By 2013, the teacher-pension shortfall had jumped to $9.6 billion, and the fund had just half the money needed to pay out future teacher pension benefits.
    It’s odd that the Chicago Teachers Union, or CTU, did not squash the pension holidays to protect its members’ retirement security. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that the money diverted from pensions allowed CTU members to receive consistent pay increases averaging 4.2 percent per year from 1998 to 2012.
    Those raises, which outpaced inflation, contributed to Chicago teachers becoming the highest-paid educators among the nation’s 10 largest school districts.On top of their very generous pensions
    Not only did those higher salaries drive up costs for CPS, they also widened the pension shortfall.
    . Illinois senators gifted Chicago a suite of special benefits in their override of the governor’s SB 1 changes, including:
    • An annual $200 million “block grant” exclusively for CPS, which was carved outyears ago.
    • Special treatment of CPS in the new funding formula that no other district receives. This special treatment is tied to the district’s legacy pension debt.
    • Special subsidies for districts in property tax-capped jurisdictions and economic development zones that have disproportionately benefited CPS for years.
    So, please explain why the cartoon is racist and remeber TIF dollars are for public & private use.

  4. And we downstaters KNOW who is discriminated against and who the racists are! We don’t ignore the facts, like when Quinn got his 67% tax increase, those dollars were suppose to go to pay down the state’s bills they were behind on and to the $130 billion pension debt. But Quinn sent large chunk of it to Chicago… like I said, those of us outside of Cook county knows all about being discriminated against and have our pockets picked by the organized crime called the democrat controlled state legislature.
    I repeat, the cartoon is NOT racist.