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Increasing diversity is just one step. CPS needs to care for, respect and nurture the Black and Brown teachers we already have.

CHICAGO, Oct. 13, 2020—Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Stacy Davis Gates issued the following statement today regarding Chicago Public Schools’ launch of its “Teach Chicago Tomorrow” initiative to increase diversity among district educators:

“There is growing evidence that diversity among educators can lead to more positive outcomes for all students, so the Union welcomes efforts to increase the number of Black and Latinx educators in our district. For the last several decades, however, handpicked boards of education and racist policies by Chicago Public Schools administrations contributed mightily to disinvestment in Black school communities, and favored privatization that ignored efforts to attract—and protect—our Black and Brown educators.

“Our union has long been committed to increasing diversity in the CPS teaching ranks, and has partnered with programs like Grow Your Own Illinois to encourage educators of color to enter the teaching profession and work in the communities that nurtured them. Among our 2019 contract wins was increased investment in teacher pipeline programs to attract educators from local institutions with diverse enrollment such as Chicago State University, Northeastern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“But to truly make this initiative a success, CPS must value both incoming and veteran educators of color in its buildings, and make schools hospitable places to learn and grow in professional, anti-racist communities. The district must also be committed to collaborating with stakeholders who have been doing the work in this arena for years, and also to eradicating policies that have stripped our schools of Black and Brown educators: charter proliferation, school closings, punitive teacher evaluation and high-stakes entry programs.

“So let’s be clear: Increasing diversity is just one step. CPS needs to care for, respect and nurture the Black and Brown teachers we already have. Retention, and making CPS a welcome place of employment, is also necessary to keep that diversity in the classroom where it can be beneficial to our students and school communities.”

The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at www.ctulocal1.org.