The Vallas-Chico duo is bad for working families, bad for classrooms and will be dismal for Chicago.
CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union issued the following statement today in wake of the announcement that charter school booster and failed mayoral candidate Gery Chico is endorsing Paul Vallas for mayor, again.
It is no surprise that Gery Chico wants to help boost Paul Vallas’ mayoral campaign. They are cut from the same cloth—one that starved South Side and West Side schools and terminated Black female teachers with impunity. There are few people in the history of Chicago Public Schools who have done as much harm as Chico and Vallas.
Regrettably, we have seen the Vallas-Chico movie before. Under mayoral control, Chico was elevated to CPS board president and Vallas to CPS CEO. While at CPS, they worked in lockstep to destabilize the district and ushered in an explosion of privatized charter schools.
Chico and Vallas adopted policies that banished veteran Black educators from the neighborhood schools and set the stage for a charter expansion that continued unabated until we finally organized the workers at those schools. Together, they pushed school turnarounds—a traumatic practice where they fired every single worker in the school almost exclusively in Black neighborhoods.”
This practice had a ‘disparate impact’ on Black educators, resulting in a steep decline of Black teachers in CPS. The instability these two wrought on Black students, Black teachers and Black neighborhood schools was unprecedented and went largely unchecked. Many of our neighborhood schools were ultimately closed because of their gross negligence and intentional underfunding.
If Vallas is elected mayor of Chicago, it is clear that Vallas and Chico will continue the long and sad tale of two cities—one where the children, their families and workers in South Side and West Side schools are targeted, starved of necessary resources, and punished.
The CTU is committed to ending the trauma of school deform and the inequities and injustices that have plagued our school communities for generations. We are relieved that Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be the last mayor to control the Chicago Public Schools.