So what if Stacy Davis Gates sends her son to a private school?

The teachers union president understands we improve public schools with resources, not with abandonment.

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Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates in September 2022. She recently made headlines for sending her son to a private school instead of a public one.

Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates in September 2022. She recently made headlines for sending her son to a private school.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

If Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates thinks her neighborhood school doesn’t serve her son and wants to send him to a private school, that’s her choice.

And to her credit, she does not expect taxpayers to cover her son’s tuition. She understands that we improve public schools with resources, not with abandonment, and not by siphoning our tax dollars to private schools that are unaccountable to the taxpayers.

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Sarah Karp wrote in her Sept. 7 article that Paul Vallas and other critics say Davis Gates wants to prevent poor Black and Latino families from having the same options as her son. I doubt that’s true. Those critics can support charitable organizations to fund poor Black and Latino families to go to private schools if they wish — without taxpayer assistance.

Taxpayer funds should go for public benefit and be accountable to the taxpayers. Private schools do neither. Let them remain “private” schools.

Warren E. Silver, Lake View

Bill would hurt skydiving businesses

Each year, approximately 500,000 people in the U.S. take the adventure of a lifetime and try skydiving. Illinois is home to three drop zones, each hosting thousands of tandem skydives per year. Tandem skydiving, where you’re attached to an experienced skydiving instructor, has an excellent safety rate.

Yet, local skydiving centers are under attack.

Legislation that is unnecessary and potentially damaging is working its way through Congress. The proposed Air Tour and Sport Parachuting Safety Act, currently tucked away within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Bill, threatens the Illinois skydiving industry. It incorrectly calls into question the state’s long-standing safety record under current FAA regulations and could negatively impact our economy, if passed.

The proposed legislation, despite its name, fails to provide any tangible safety improvements for skydivers and the general public. Rather, it would add costly and burdensome maintenance requirements to skydiving aircraft nationwide. The FAA itself has not supported this proposal.

If passed, the cost of taking a jump would drastically increase, forcing many drop zones out of business. Smaller drop zones, many of which have been family-owned and operated for generations, would be hit particularly hard. It’s not just the one-time thrill-seekers who would lose out; instructors, pilots, support staff and local economies all benefit from these businesses.

Fortunately, there’s hope for our sport. U.S. Sen. Ted Budd of North Carolina has stepped up to strike Section 315 from the FAA bill. Congress could not agree on several issues within the bill and hasn’t yet brought it up for a vote upon returning from recess, giving skydivers, general aviation supporters and others extra time to take action by contacting legislators in Congress and urging them to support Budd’s motion to strike Section 315.

By opposing this legislation, we can ensure that the skies over Illinois remain open for generations of skydivers to come.

Douglas Smith, owner and operator, Chicagoland Skydiving Center, Rochelle

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