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Chicago Teachers Union president raises eyebrows with claims about conservatives

Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates told a radio station host that conservatives do not want Black children to be able to read.

Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Stacy Davis Gates told a news radio host that conservatives do not want Black children to read, adding that it is “part of the oath they take to be right wing.”

In an interview published on WBBM News radio’s site on Sunday, the station’s political editor, Craig Dellimore, spoke with Davis Gates on “At Issue,” about the union’s contract demands.

Some of the demands included social justice issues.


During the interview, Dellimore asked Davis Gates about the teacher union contract proposals that drew criticism from conservatives for being “too big,” and raising concerns that too many elements are not directly concerned with education.

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“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, 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.”

The teachers’ union is in the process of negotiating a new teacher’s contract with the public school system, which calls for an extra $50 billion in funding. The massive increase is being proposed to cover wage hikes as well as other demands. For instance, the money would be used to provide fully paid abortions for its members, new migrant services and facilities and a host of LGBTQ-related requirements and training in schools.

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Last year, the total base tax receipts for the state of Illinois was $50.7 billion.

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The incredible demands are being made despite its members delivering underwhelming results for its students. Only 21% of the city’s eighth graders are proficient readers, according to the Nation’s Report Card, which provides national results about students’ performance.

Terry Schilling, the president of the American Principles Project and a conservative school choice and education advocate, told Fox News Digital that if conservatives did not want minority kids to know how to read, they would not protest.

“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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Schilling is a father of seven who lives in Fairfax, Virginia. During the pandemic, he pulled all of his kids out of public schools because he felt the academics were terrible.

He explained that he got to see firsthand what his kids were learning and found out that only about 36% of the students in Fairfax County Public Schools could read at grade level.

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So, when you look at one of the wealthiest and best-funded schools in the country and find out less than half the kids could read at grade level, “it was a no-brainer,” he said.

David Gates touted having her children in public schools in 2022. She said it helps to “legitimize” her position within the union and that she could not advocate on behalf of public schools if that were not the case, according to NBC Chicago.

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However, in 2023, Davis Gates placed her teenage son in a private Catholic high school in the city.

“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.”

He continued by saying the leadership of the district is important, and who the leader is trickles down to everyone below.

“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.”

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Davis Gates did not respond to requests from Fox News Digital seeking clarification or a statement on her comments to the radio host.

Schilling pointed to various other reasons the district is failing.

The Illinois Report Card recently released a report showing Chicago Public Schools spent $29,000 per student, and the teachers in the district are among the highest paid in big cities.

But despite high pay, the report showed that 43% of the district’s teachers are chronically absent each school year.

“That means they miss more than 10 days of school a year, and the reason that’s important… is the Illinois State School Board says that teacher absences are critical, and they greatly devastate student outcomes,” Schilling said. “They have almost half of your teachers as chronically absent? That’s a recipe for failure. What are they doing to crack down on that?”

Davis Gates’ comments about conservatives are not too far off from what other teachers’ union leaders say, though Schilling said they are more direct than what his organization is familiar with.

“They all think that we’re the enemy, and they refuse to acknowledge their own failures,” he said. “But the problem is that it’s not, you know, a bunch of Republicans in these schools that are failing to teach these kids. It’s not the right-wingers who are getting these lavish salaries, and, you know, getting that $29,000 per kid. This is bad. They have to own it.”

Fox News Digital’s Michael Dorgan contributed to this report.

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