CHICAGO – CTU President Stacy Davis Gates today issued the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s decisions to upend relief for student loan borrowers and roll back rights of the LGBTQIA community:
“Today, the Supreme Court’s decisions to block the Biden administration’s student debt relief plan and their move to restrict the rights of the LGBTQIA community represent yet another attack on students, the Black and Brown community and all those seeking to live out their American Dream. Today’s decision comes on the heels of the court’s move yesterday to gut Affirmative Action in higher-education admissions, and it has turned a blind eye to the compounded impact of racism and discrimination on our nation.
“As a mother, educator and holder of student loan debt, today’s move by the Supreme Court makes it clear exactly whose side they are on. Instead of the blind scale of justice we tell our students the courts represent, our judiciary has become an advocate for rightwing-leaning banks, millionaires, billionaires and those who worship at the altar of white supremacy and aim to take our country back to its dark past.”
“Through a clear pattern of exclusion, erasure, bias and bigotry, the highest court in the land has utilized its lifetime appointed power to harm student-loan borrowers, educators, LGBTQIA community members, working families and all those that continue to struggle to access the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that should be extended to all of us by our founding documents.
“Due to the work of right-wing activists on the Supreme Court, Black women and student-loan borrowers like me will have limited access to high-quality higher education, have been blocked at the ballot box and will now have to continue to carry the most significant burden of student loan debt in the country.
“For context, Americans owe a staggering $1.78 trillion in student loan debt, more than is owed on any other debt except mortgages. And massive student loan debt contributes to the stark racial and gender wealth gaps in our country. Black women college graduates carry the highest student loan debt, owing an average of $37,558, compared to $22,000 for women overall and $18,880 owed by men. Once in the workplace, Black women college graduates earn less than their white peers, and 57 percent report having financial difficulties while trying to pay off student debt.
“These data points and today’s decision should be a wake-up call for the entire labor movement to engage in the fight for civil and human rights. If public education is the bedrock of our democracy, then today’s decision makes it clear that our democracy is under siege. If our students lack access to the actual teaching of history, equity in college admission or relief for their student loan debts, how can we expect them to lead our country in the future?”
“We in the Chicago Teachers Union will continue to fight to expand student debt relief. And it’s also important to point out that today’s ruling does not affect the public service loan forgiveness program that provides teachers and other public servants loan forgiveness after ten years of public service, so CTU members and other public-sector workers should continue applying for debt relief through that program.”