Last week, President of the Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) Stacy Davis Gates confirmed that she is sending her son to private school, making her organization’s demonization of education freedom hypocritical and unfair to families desperate to escape the city’s failing government-run schools. 

Davis Gates’ eldest child attends a private Catholic school on the South Side of Chicago, online news site SubX.News, which is run by a former CTU employee who’s spoken out against the union, uncovered. 

Explaining her justification to WBEZ last week, the union leader cited a lack of academic opportunity in her neighborhood’s government-run schools, a fair concern that would likely resonate with many Chicago parents and students. 

“It was a very difficult decision for us because there is not a lot to offer Black youth who are entering high school,” Davis Gates told the outlet. “In many of our schools on the South Side and the West Side, the course offerings are very marginal and limited. Then the other thing, and it was a very strong priority, was his ability to participate in co-curricular and extracurricular activities, which quite frankly, don’t exist in many of the schools, high schools in particular.”

But Davis Gates only wants these privileges offered to her own children. She and the CTU have championed the city’s government-run school system and strongly opposed charter schools and an Illinois private school scholarship program that enables students to seek alternatives to government-run schools. 

In an interview with Southside Weekly in August, she conflated school-choice with fascism. When asked whether she had concerns about such initiatives, Davis Gates replied: “Yes, we are concerned about the encroachment of fascists in Chicago.”

“We are concerned about the marginalization of public education through the eyes of those who’ve never intended for Black people to be educated,” she added. “So we’re going to fight tooth and nail to make sure that type of fascism and racism does not exist on our Board of Education.”

As academic proficiency levels in major subjects remain underwater in Chicago and across the country, Davis Gates’ and the CTU’s position is becoming increasingly unpopular. Even a CNN host on Tuesday night grilled Davis Gates for sending her child to private school while refusing to support programs that would allow other children to do so. Anchor Abby Phillip noted that the situation was especially scandalous because the leader just last year declared that she couldn’t “advocate” on behalf of public education without it “taking root” in her own household. In 2018, Davis Gates also called private schools supported by taxpayer funds “segregation academies,” Philip said referencing an old tweet. 

“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 might want the same choice that you were able to afford to give to your child?” Phillip asked. Davis Gates doubled down again, adding that other families in her predominantly black community send their kids to schools out of their home zip code for better educational prospects too. 

“Do you regret your rhetoric here?” Phillip asked Tuesday, sparking a tense exchange. 

Irked by the question, Davis Gates replied, “Do I regret rhetoric? What I’ve said are facts. Again, I’m a history teacher.”