‘This Is A Scandal’: Chicago Teachers Union President Confronted On CNN Over Sending Son To Private School


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CNN’s Abby Phillip grilled Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates Tuesday night for sending her son to a private Catholic school while lobbying against school vouchers for needy families.

Phillip pointed out to the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) leader that she has compared private schools to the “segregation academies” of the civil rights-era south. She then asked Davis Gates why she would send her own son to a private school if she holds such a negative opinion of them.

“I didn’t speak out against private schools. I spoke out against school choice. School choice and private schools are two different entities,” Davis Gates said. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Chicago Public Schools Refuses To Release Records Detailing Gender And Sex Education Training )

Phillip responded by reading from Davis Gates’ old tweets, in which she called school choice, “the choice of racists.” She then asked the CTU president whether “the rhetoric matches your actions.”

Davis Gates responded by arguing that the “origin of school choice in America” was southern school districts helping white families flee integrated schools after Brown vs. Board of Education. “And I know that the right wing wants to obscure that in the same way they want to tell us that slavery was a job training program,” she added, alluding to a Florida curriculum which teaches students that slaves “developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

Phillip then read an excerpt from a letter Davis Gates wrote to her colleagues amid the public backlash her comments provoked. In it, Davis Gates wrote that school choice is an issue that has “nuance” and is not a “black-and-white issue.”

“The question I think your critics are asking is: why not afford that nuance to the families who might live in the south side of Chicago and in other major cities, and they want the same choice that you were able to afford to give to your child?” Phillip asked.

Davis Gates responded that 90 percent of the families in her neighborhood send their children to schools outside of the community, a reality necessitated by the purported underinvestment in public schools. Davis Gates also argued that black communities have been “defunded and destabilized” and that the CTU is fighting to change this.

“I totally understand the point you’re making. But I do wonder, do you regret your own rhetoric here?” Phillip asked, noting that many families in Chicago cannot afford to send their child to private school like Davis Gates can.

The CTU leader responded that in Chicago residents suffer from “an absence of resources” and dismissed school choice policy as, “anchored to a very racist and angry right wing.” She also claimed that she and her family have received emails from school choice proponents filled with “violence and racism.”

Reports published in early September revealed that the CTU president sends her son to the De La Salle Institute on Chicago’s south side. The CTU, which Davis Gates leads, harshly opposed reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that the push to reopen schools was rooted in “racism, sexism, and misogyny.” A February report revealed that not a single student was proficient in reading or math in 55 Chicago public schools.