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Poll shows Black and Brown families overwhelming support Chicago teachers’ vision for education during the pandemic

Black and Latinx families overwhelmingly support CTU’s agenda for how to reopen schools safely, equitably and remotely, according to a poll conducted in August and released on the heels of a month-long, ultimately successful campaign to reverse Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan for in-person school this fall.

While the mayor ultimately backed down, it took hundreds of educators, parents and youth clogging downtowns streets in a National Day of Action and the threat of a strike vote by our Union to get her and CPS to move.

The poll shows, once again, that CTU members remain a trusted source when it comes to education policy decisions, with 69 percent of those polled rating teachers favorably. The poll also found that Black voters were among the most opposed to in-person learning, but opposition to re-opening the schools in person was the consensus position of Latinx voters and strong among white respondents, as well.

The poll results also contain warning signs for any future efforts to rush in-person school before safety standards for controlling the virus can be assured. While voters are concerned about the health and safety of students, teachers, and support staff, they are even more concerned about the health and safety of all Chicagoans, should students and school communities become super-spreaders of the coronavirus. And, the data show, those concerns are even more pronounced among people of color.

“The people of Chicago and our families know who to trust when it comes to making decisions about their schools and the health and welfare of their school communities,“ CTU President Jesse Sharkey said. “It’s not the politicians and it’s not the CPS brass at the central office. It’s our members, the people who are in the schools every day, doing the hard work of educating and caring for Chicago’s students.”

With the incidence of COVID-19 highest in the same Chicago neighborhoods that look to CPS to educate their children, respondents wisely chose the remote learning path that CTU and its allies advocated, putting safety first for Chicago’s hardest hit Black and Brown working-class neighborhoods.

Poll respondents expressed resounding support for the CTU’s safety and equity agenda, including Internet access and technology for all students, more teaching assistants to support student and family remote learning needs, and a full-time nurse and social worker in every school to monitor and support students and staff’s physical and mental health upon the eventual transition to in-person learning.

The poll was designed and administered for the CTU by Lake Research Partners, which conducted it by phone using live, professional interviewers over a representative mix of landlines and cells, as well as online using text-to-online methodology. The survey reached 600 likely 2023 municipal voters in the City of Chicago between July 30 and Aug. 4. The margin of error for the full sample is +/-4.0 percent. Visit the CTU website to read the detailed poll results.