Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois surprised many people by choosing Paul Vallas as his running mate for re-election.

Vallas once headed the Chicago schools. He headed the Philadelphia schools, where he launched a major experiment in privatization, which was widely judged a failure. He left Philadelphia with a large deficit. He then was selected to take over the New Orleans district after Hurricane Katrina. Public education was almost wiped out, along with the teachers’ union. Vallas took credit for installing the largest privately managed charter system in the nation. After a brief stint in Haiti, Vallas landed in Bridgeport, where he had a rocky relationship with the local community. He left before getting a judgement on whether he held the proper qualifications to be superintendent of the Bridgeport schools, since he lacked Connecticut-required credentials.

Given this background, read what Governor Quinn said in an interview:

“Q: Paul Vallas supports charter schools. Since you picked him as a lieutenant governor, does that mean you’re open to charter expansion?

“A: No, Paul Vallas believes in public education. So do I. We believe in funding public education. A very, very important issue this year, we’ll be talking about that soon. … He’s committed to a fair, open budget to properly fund education.”

One way to read this brief exchange is that Governor Quinn knows that the wind is blowing towards supporting public schools, not charter schools. It will be interesting to see what Vallas says.