Stacy Davis Gates, the President of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), is facing backlash after it came to light that she enrolled her eldest child in a private school.
This revelation has triggered a massive wave of criticism, given Davis Gates’ prominent role in advocating for public education, and even going so far as to call school choice “racist.”
According to reports by NBC Chicago, Davis Gates placed her teenage son in a Catholic high school on Chicago’s South Side. Although the specific school’s name remains undisclosed, multiple sources and Davis Gates’ social media posts have verified the enrollment.
Chicago Teachers Union president Stacy Davis Gates (2022): "I'm also a mother. My children go to Chicago Public Schools. These are the things that legitimize my space within the coalition."
She now sends her son to a private school. pic.twitter.com/kEHeR70Ajv
— Corey A. DeAngelis, school choice evangelist (@DeAngelisCorey) September 8, 2023
Davis Gates has been a vocal advocate for public schools and an opponent of private education and school choice. She has actively opposed programs like the Illinois Invest in Kids program, which provides income tax credits to individuals and businesses supporting scholarships for students to attend qualified non-public schools.
*School choice* was actually the choice of racists. It was created to avoid integrating schools with Black children. Now it’s the civil rights struggle of our generation? #BoyBye https://t.co/jYbiKV48aJ
— Stacy —We Deserve OUR Humanity—#BLM (@stacydavisgates) August 27, 2022
Despite her strong stance against private education, which she said was the choice “of racists,” Davis Gates opted for a private school for her eldest child. In the past, she justified her advocacy for public education by explaining that her own children attended public schools, suggesting that it legitimized her position within the CTU.
Critics argue that Davis Gates’ enrollment of her son in a private school while advocating against private education and school choice exemplifies hypocrisy. Corey DeAngelis, a school choice advocate and senior fellow at the American Federation for Children, labeled her a “school choice hypocrite.”
BREAKING: An admin of a Chicago Teachers Union private Facebook group posted about their president, Stacy Davis Gates, reportedly sending her son to a private school.
"We do dislike the hypocrisy of CTU when they have gone after people who made the same choice" pic.twitter.com/Yl2DCSDGsU
— Corey A. DeAngelis, school choice evangelist (@DeAngelisCorey) September 4, 2023
DeAngelis highlighted the stark contrast between the significant per-student spending in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) — over $27,000 per year — and the comparatively modest tuition fees at her son’s private school, which amount to less than $15,000 per year. He emphasized that money is not the issue but rather the absence of accountability in CPS.
Davis Gates attempted to defend her decision by citing disinvestment in public schools and the lack of quality options in marginalized communities. She asserted that her family felt compelled to send her son to a private high school to fulfill his dreams of playing soccer and receiving a curriculum that caters to his social and emotional needs.
While Davis Gates argues that her family’s circumstances necessitated this choice, critics have slammed her, saying that less privileged families should have the same opportunity to escape underperforming public schools.
The controversy surrounding her enrollment decision raises questions about the consistency of her advocacy and its implications for education policy in Chicago.