Chicago Teachers Union President Claims Republicans Don't Want Black Children to Read

AP Photo/Ron Harris

Stacy Davis Gates, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, seems nice. She verified what a lot of teacher union critics say.

In a radio interview on Sunday, Gates told the host that conservatives don't want black children to learn to read because it is "part of the oath they take to be right wing."

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Well now. I must have missed that memo because I don't know anything about an oath. WTH? What oath did she take to be a progressive nut job? Two can play that game.

The interview was with  WBBM News radio and the station's political editor, Craig Dellimore, spoke with her on a segment for "At Issue" that delved into the union's contract demands. 

Some demands are social justice issues. Shocker, I know.

Dellimore asked Gates about union contract proposals that conservatives call too big. Concerns are raised because many elements in the contract are not directly concerned with education.

"Conservatives don’t even want Black children to be able to read," Davis Gates said. "Remember, these same conservatives are the conservatives who probably would have been championing Black codes, you know, during reconstruction or thereafter. So, forgive me again if conservatives pushing back on educating immigrant children, Black children, and children who live in poverty, doesn't make my anxiety go up. That's what they're supposed to say. That is literally a part of the oath that they take to be right wing."

What an appalling diatribe. 

It is as Republicans have claimed for many years - teacher unions are political activists not particularly focused on the needs of American school children. 

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The union contract being negotiated now with Chicago's public school system calls for an extra $50B in funding. That's right - with a 'b'. The giant hike would pay for wage hikes as well as other demands. For example, the demands include fully paid-for abortions for union members, new migrant services and facilities, and many LGBTQ-related requirements and training in schools. 

Why does the union think that Chicago, a hot mess of a city, has the money to pay out an extra $50B for their demands? The total base tax receipts last year was $50.7B. 

Who is Gates to talk about reading skills in the first place? Chicago public school students can't read. The results are underwhelming. Only 21% of Chicago's eighth graders are proficient readers. 

Why should teachers receive pay hikes and non-essential benefits when they are not doing their jobs? 

If Republicans didn't want minority children to learn how to read, they would not protest absurd contracts. That opinion is from Terry Schilling, the president of the American Principles Project and a conservative school choice and education advocate. 

"They would allow and support the teachers' union and give them everything they want, because right now in Chicago public schools, only 20% of minority students can read at grade level," he said. "Whatever the conservative goals are, I disagree with what she was saying. I want every kid to know how to read and write. I think that our country’s a lot better off when everyone’s literate, when everyone knows how to do math."

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The ignorance and racism coming from the union president is unacceptable. Her first concern should be the children, not what perks she can negotiate for teachers outside of the classroom.

Gates made a big deal about having her children in public schools in 2022. She claimed that it legitimized her position within the union. She said she couldn't advocate for public schools if that were not the case. 

Guess what happened. She put her teenage son in a private Catholic high school in 2023. Surprised? Of course not

"She is the poster child for what it means to be part of the teachers union," Schilling said. "They’re all hypocritical. The leaders of the teachers' unions, almost none of them, send their kids to public schools, and they know that these are failing public schools and putting their kids in these schools means that they won’t be that smart. They want the best for their kids, but not for our kids."

"If your leadership is corrupted at the top, then everything else is going to follow suit below," he said. "And that's what we're experiencing with Chicago public schools: it's rotten from the top down."

Gates wants Chicago children to be trapped in failing schools, but not her child. 

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Republicans are not her problem. Chicago spends over $29,000 per child in public schools. The problem is inadequate teachers and school leadership that just pushes children through the system without teaching them anything. It is right that Republicans speak out against spending money on non-classroom-related items. The union's priorities are all wrong. The children have to come first. Let the politicians deal with social justice issues. 

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David Strom 12:40 PM | July 24, 2024
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