Teachers union boss: Conservatives don’t want black kids learning to read

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Stacy Davis Gates of the Chicago Teachers Union (Video screenshot)
Stacy Davis Gates of the Chicago Teachers Union

By Harold Hutchison
Daily Caller News Foundation

The president of the Chicago Teachers Union claimed during a radio interview that aired Sunday that conservatives don’t want black children to learn how to read.

Stacy Davis Gates made an appearance on WBBM 780 AM to defend the union’s contract demands. Gates claimed that conservatives who expressed criticism of the demands “don’t even want black children to be able to read.”

“Remember, these same conservatives are the conservatives who probably would have been championing black codes, you know, during reconstruction or thereafter,” she said. “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.”

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The union’s demands include a number of climate-related provisions including electric school buses, expanded use of heat pumps and solar panels and the creation of “climate champion” positions to organize relevant initiatives and activities. The list could cost upward of $13.9 billion, according to an estimate by the Illinois Policy Institute.

The union also called for the city’s board of education to work with the city to provide more affordable housing units, with priority being given to Chicago Public School families, according to IPI.

“It does mean something when there are 20,000 classified unhoused young people in this city, because it means a lack of stability for our city,” Gates said. “That’s why we are going to put forward proposals that will compel the [Chicago Housing Authority] to move those families to the top of the list and have a timeline to put them in homes.”

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Testing results for 2023 showed that about 83% of CPS students were not proficient in math, while nearly 75% could not read at grade level, according to IPI.

“If anyone knows about students not being to be able to read, it’s the Chicago Teachers Union. Federal statistics reveal that 85 percent of Black and 78 percent of Hispanic 4th graders in CPS are not proficient in reading, even though the district has spent nearly $30K per child this year,” Nicki Neily, president and founder of Parents Defending Education, said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Ms. Gates heads the union that said in 2020 ‘the push to reopen schools is rooted in racism, sexism, and misogyny’ – despite the fact that school closures disproportionately hurt the low-income students she claims to care about. Ms. Gates should spend less time stoking division among residents and more time getting her members to actually teach children.”

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