Chicago Teachers March Teens Out Of School To Vote On Tax Hike

Chicago Teachers March Teens Out Of School To Vote On Tax Hike

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) marched high school students out on Friday to vote on a tax hike proposal the teachers union donated in support of, in yet another example of how teachers unions are actively engaged in electioneering.

The CTU partnered with Bring Chicago Home to plan a rally at CTU headquarters before taking students to the polls. Bring Chicago Home is the coalition demanding the city dramatically increase the real estate transfer tax for any property sold for more than $1 million, according to CBS News. The tax hike is an attempt to raise revenue for “providing permanent affordable housing” for the homeless. The CTU donated $200,000 to Bring Chicago Home, Politico reported.

The tax hike referendum was introduced by Mayor Brandon Johnson, who previously worked for the CTU. Records obtained by the Illinois Policy Institute shows CTU paid Johnson more than $75,000 during the 2023 fiscal year despite Johnson running for mayor at the time.

Dozens of students were seen marching to go vote on Friday, in what NBC 5 Chicago said was “billed as a nonpartisan parade to the polls.” One person who appeared to be an organizer was heard chanting: “Repeat after me: We will not give up the fight, housing is a human right!”

Chicago Public Schools issued a statement days prior to the event saying they “do not endorse specific campaigns or advocate for specific election results,” according to CBS News.

But Michelle Clark High School senior Damarion Williams told ABC 7 Chicago he was pushed by teachers to vote “yes” in support of the measure.

Teachers “had talked to students about [the referendum] in the classroom” before taking students to vote, the outlet reported, citing another student who said that while she didn’t feel forced into a decision, teachers “definitely gave us information about it.”

“I’ve definitely learned that it’s important and significant factor, and I definitely feel like people should definitely be for it,” Kenwood Academy senior Nia Hawkins said.

The Illinois Policy Institute filed an ethics complaint after the event was announced, alleging CTU was in violation of CPS’s code of ethics that says “employees are not permitted to engage in Political Activity during any other Board compensated time.”

“By asking teachers to prepare for and organize students to participate in the Student Power Forum, which is occurring during school hours and organized in part by a political campaign (Bring Chicago Home), it is clear the union is asking its members to violate the CPS Code of Ethics and possibly other state or city provision,” the Illinois Policy Institute alleged in its complaint.

Vice President of Marketing at Illinois Policy Institute Austin Berg lambasted the event to NBC 5 Chicago.

“You have a political organization taking children out of school to go vote, and at the end of the day that’s wrong. It’s a violation of CPS’s code of ethics,” Berg told NBC 5 Chicago. “If any other group that spent the kind of money and resources on politics that CTU does did the same activity it would be national news every single night.”

[READ NEXT: Report: Biden Administration Stifled Congressional Investigation Into CDC And Teachers Union Collusion]

Teachers unions, including CTU, have a long history of acting as an arm of the Democrat Party.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton recently sued the Denton Independent School District after the principals allegedly violated state law by telling their staff to vote in the Republican primary — even if they aren’t Republican — in order to knock out any candidates that support school voucher programs, according to the Texas Tribune.

Meanwhile, the American Federation of Teachers PAC donated more than $1.6 million to mostly left-wing political action committees and Democrats in the year following the spring 2020 closure of schools around the country. And the CTU voted in 2022 to move back to remote learning, citing concerns about Covid-19. Data have shown how remote learning decimated education during Covid shutdowns.

While CTU uses students as political pawns, dozens of Chicago schools had zero students meeting grade-level expectations in either reading, mathematics, or both in 2022, according to Wirepoints.

The Biden administration has also taken an active role in using taxpayer dollars to target student voters who are likely Biden supporters.

[READ NEXT: Bidenbucks Laundered Through Education Department Target Likely Biden Voters]

The Department of Education (DOE) released a “toolkit” detailing how it will get young, likely blue voters out this November. Part of the plan includes urging colleges and universities to “identify additional communication opportunities” to help “encourage students” to register to vote. The DOE also encourages K-12 schools to teach students about so-called “disinformation.”

Brianna Lyman is an elections correspondent at The Federalist.

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