Chance the Rapper Talks Education with Illinois Gov

It’s not every day that a rapper makes an appointment with a state governor to discuss education. But that’s exactly what’s happening.


‘More than Just a Rapper’


Chance the Rapper, who won three Grammys, among them best rap album for Coloring Book at the 59th Grammy Awards on Feb. 12, is the son of Ken Williams-Bennett, deputy chief of staff to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Williams-Bennett once worked for Sen. Barack Obama, so Chance may have more of a sense of government workings than you might think. Essence magazine calls him “more than just a rapper.”

Essence also reports that Chance has conferred with President Barack Obama over his My Brother’s Keeper initiative. Clearly, the rapper is interested in civic affairs and in issues that affect the black community.

Marilyn Rhames, an educator and blogger who is a Surge Institute Fellow and founder of Teachers Who Pray, has written a lot about the tenuous funding of Chicago Public Schools, its segregation, and dysfunction.

CPS’s entrenched problems aren’t going away easily, but Chance seized the opportunity to meet with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner after Rauner tweeted congrats to Chance in acknowledgment of his spectacular Grammy wins, The Washington Post has reported.


Chicago Public Schools


Chance’s quick thinking may be one of the best things to happen to CPS in a long time. According to the Chicago Reader, the schools are in dire shape: CPS may lop off 20 days from the school calendar, including 13 instructional days, in part because Rauner vetoed a $215 million appropriation earmarked for CPS.

I wonder if the governor will regret ever tweeting congratulations to Chance. CPS has sued Rauner and the Illinois Board of Education, alleging that state officials treat CPS students “who are predominantly African American and Hispanic, as second-class children, relegated to the back of the State’s education funding school bus,” The Washington Post reports.

Chance has tweeted that he will speak with the governor specifically about CPS funding. It should be an interesting meeting. I wonder if he’ll write a rap about it.