Every once in a while, CNN finds an example of left-wing hypocrisy that even it can’t let slide. That happened on Tuesday evening when the head of the Chicago Teachers Union appeared and was asked about her hypocrisy regarding school choice.
For background, local journalists recently discovered that Stacey Davis Gates is sending her son to a private school after he was seen listed on a website that tracks high school sports. Gates has long been a fierce opponent of school choice and has described the ability for children to attend private schools as being “the choice of racists.”
It should go without saying, but Mrs. Gates is a fierce opponent of school choice, at least when it comes to other people’s children. Just last year, she posted that “school choice was actually the choice of racists” and that school choice has “racist origins.” Her union she represents has consistently taken a hardline stance against private school choice programs.
Most recently, Chicago Teachers Union opposed the state’s Invest in Kids Tax Credit Scholarship Program for low-income students, which Illinois Democrats killed this year. For the leader of the union to turn around and exercise the same choice her union and its representatives in the legislature just eliminated for poor families is a slap in the face to families who do not have the means Mrs. Gates does.
CNN’s Abby Phillip, to her credit, challenged Gates on the matter. With just a few simple questions, the union boss was left stammering, spouting allegations of racism while having no actual defense for her own decisions.
DEVASTATING takedown of Chicago Teachers Union boss by CNN host.— Corey A. DeAngelis, school choice evangelist (@DeAngelisCorey) September 13, 2023
CNN: Why not help poor families have the same choice you have?
Union boss: SCHOOL CHOICE IS RACIST! MEAN EMAILS! MY SON PLAYS SOCCER!
CNN: "What you just described for your son is choice." pic.twitter.com/cLpVBEdQ39
PHILLIP: Do you think that your rhetoric at some point went too far when you’re making a choice because perhaps, I assume you can afford to do that, that a lot of Chicago parents don’t because they can’t afford it, and proponents of school choice say the state should have a role in helping those families who can’t afford it make the same choice that you did for your family?
GATES: So a couple of things, Abby. It is nuanced in Chicago. Like I’ve said, we’ve been destabilized and defunded in our black communities. When people speak of choice, they are speaking of two different things that are of comparative nature. What we are faced with in Chicago is an absence of a choice, is an absence of resources, and furthermore, school choice in this country has been anchored to a very racist and angry right wing. I can show you a whole host of emails that have come to me and my family detailing that level of violence and racism.
This is what Democrats always do. When challenged at a core level about their beliefs and actions, they seek to play the victim. Has Gates received threatening emails? I have no idea. What I do know is that it’s completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand. Further, her declaration that Chicago lacks choice is counter to the very argument she’s making. There is no lack of resources given the city is spending more now on education than at any point in its history. What does that tell you? It tells you that Gates and her cohorts are really bad at their jobs.
Things didn’t get any better when the issue of her son attending a private school was addressed.
GATES: So if the choice movement does want to move away from their angry and violent rhetoric, I might add, then they would do themselves a favor and reject the rhetoric of the right that tells us that history is not important. I understand the impact of segregation in Chicago, the impact of destabilization in Chicago, and I face that along with over 90 percent of my neighbors in that the school that is supposed to be down the street for the cop that lives across the street from me or the retired teacher and her family that lives next door to me, that’s not afforded to us.
So when we talk about rhetoric, we also have to talk about the historical record, and the historical record is very clear. The school choice movement is very clear that the school choice movement was a cudgel for integration in this country. That is a fact. Number two, the destabilization of black spaces throughout this country has been reprehensible and is most acutely felt with families who want to send their children to public schools. As I’ve said before, my children do attend public schools. My son, he has the opportunity to play sports at a school, sports, by the way, that are not offered at our neighborhood school or any school close to our address. Again, students in Chicago, especially black students, on average travel almost two hours back and forth to school. So the real scandal Abby, is why in 2023, black families in Chicago and across this country have to deal with such severe inequities and such high stakes.
PHILLIP: I totally agree that that is a scandal, but I also think that what you just described for your son is choice, that you made for your family, and I think that’s what your critics are pointing out here.
Despite spewing every boring talking point in the book, Gates still managed to essentially endorse school choice in her rant. She notes that the sports her son wants to play aren’t offered at their local public school. She also notes that some students are forced to travel two hours a day between the public schools they attend. Those are problems that school choice can help fix. Instead, she’d rather trap students in a broken, ineffective public system that she just so happens to profit off of.
The rest of what she’s saying is just gobbledygook. What does the “destabilization of black spaces” even mean? And aren’t public schools supposed to be spaces for everyone? How can she cry one minute about segregation and then plug the idea that a lack of “black spaces” is a problem? It’s incoherent, which is on par for Democrats when it comes to their opposition to school choice.