“We want (teachers) to work and make money that puts them above the poverty line,” Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Stacy Davis Gates declared this week. The average Chicago Public Schools teacher makes $87,763, well above the poverty line of $31,200 for a family of four. Davis Gates is pretending that upcoming contract negotiations are designed to rescue the city’s 22,000 public school teachers from poverty rather than advance an extreme agenda.

A leaked copy of the CTU’s contract demands of Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, a former CTU lobbyist, revealed the union’s priorities. According to the Illinois Policy Institute, the union’s contract expectations include “base raises and experience compensation each year, housing help, climate justice, more compensation added to pension calculations and a pool of health care funds targeted to racial disparities.” The union also expects a ban on allowing teacher performance to impact layoffs decisions, charter school enrollment cuts, expanded benefits for “birthing and non-birthing parents,” more “queer competent trained service providers,” and “[i]ncreased certified personnel to address increased levels of violence and trauma!” Under the leadership of the union-controlled mayor, Chicago recently barred on-site police officers from schools; hence, the violence and trauma.

What’s missing? Investments in improving academic outcomes for the 82% of Chicago students who aren’t meeting math standards and 75% of students who can’t read at grade level. Also missing is a commitment to address Chicago’s chronic absenteeism crisis among teachers and students. In 2023, 43% of teachers and 40% of students missed more than 10% of school days.

To learn more about how the Chicago Teachers Union prioritizes a political agenda over students, read “Educational Equality? Not In Chicago,” “Chicago Teachers Union Leader Makes $289,000,” and “Chicago Teachers’ Union Head: Education Freedom For Me But Not For Thee.”

For more information about teachers unions, check out the IWF Education Freedom Center