The Chicago Journal

Chicago Teachers Union President’ Stacy Davis Gates’ School Choice Decision Sparks Controversy

Davis Gates
Building on a college campus in Indiana

In a surprising turn of events, Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates, renowned for her vocal opposition to private schools, has enrolled her teenager in a Catholic high school. This decision has not only raised eyebrows but has ignited a whirlwind of controversy within educational and political circles. Despite her prior outspoken stance against private education, the news has been confirmed through her own social media posts and multiple sources, as initially reported by NBC Chicago. This unexpected move has prompted a broader discussion about the intricacies of personal choices versus public positions in the realm of education.

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Stacy Davis Gates’ Change of Heart:

Stacy Davis Gates has long been a prominent advocate for public education. She has vehemently voiced her opposition to private schools, School Choice, and the Illinois Invest in Kids program, which provides tax credits benefiting private schools. In the past, she even made bold claims, stating that “school choice was actually the choice of racists” and shared articles like “The Racist Origins of Private School Vouchers.” Her family’s neighborhood high school, Harlan Community Academy, doesn’t rank particularly high among Illinois high schools, further emphasizing her dedication to public education.

Other Political Leaders’ Choices:

While Davis Gates’ choice has captured headlines, it’s important to note that she isn’t the only Chicago political leader who has opted for private education for her child. Previous mayors like Rahm Emanuel, Lori Lightfoot, and Richard Daley, along with Governor J.B. Pritzker, have made similar choices for their families. Even Mayor Brandon Johnson’s teenager attends a magnet school located across town, rather than the family’s neighborhood school.

Financial Implications and Program Concerns:

Davis Gates’ decision to invest over $16,000 in tuition for her child’s Catholic high school education brings financial implications into the spotlight. It raises questions about the future of the Invest in Kids program, designed to promote school choice but currently facing uncertainty due to funding decisions by the general assembly. Worth mentioning is the active opposition from the Chicago Teachers Union and other teachers unions regarding this program’s continuation.

Davis Gates’ Response:

In response to the public revelation of her child’s enrollment in a private school, Davis Gates issued a detailed statement addressing the controversy and what she perceives as online attacks against her family. Her statement reflects the following:

“Dear Union Sibling,

You may have seen the recent online attacks against my family and our union related to the school where my eldest child recently enrolled. This story was initiated by a disgruntled former CTU employee with a history of violent incidents who has stalked members of my family and made threats against other CTU members. He has now publicly doxed my teenage son online, posting his name, photo, school, sports team, and more, violating my son’s privacy and threatening his safety and the safety of his schoolmates.

Let’s be clear: this crosses a line. We have a deep culture of debate and democracy within our union, but targeting children, exposing them to harm, or collaborating with extremist, racist, or anti-worker forces is not “debate” and cannot be excused.

Regrettably, whether you are an ardent supporter of building and investing in more high-quality neighborhood public schools or believe in “school choice,” we can all agree that options for Black students, their families, and entire Black communities on this city’s South and West Sides are limited. That is precisely why CTU members have struck, organized, and worked hard to change our city.

While our fights and continued advocacy have secured more school resources, the inequities remain alarming. Not only are our classrooms the victims of compounded racism and redlining from decades past, but they are also struggling to recover from waves of school closings and disinvestment under previous mayors. Public and charter high schools in our Black and Brown neighborhoods are living and breathing examples of inequality. Nearly all lack the thriving extracurricular activities, sports programs, wraparound services, or other ingredients that make for a high-quality neighborhood public school.”


Stacy Davis Gates’ decision to enroll her child in a Catholic high school, despite her prior opposition to private schools, has ignited a profound and multifaceted debate. It delves into the complexities of educational choices within a city where the quality of public education varies significantly. Moreover, it underscores the formidable challenges faced by advocates of public education in a system marked by historical inequities and disparities.