I teach underprivileged students but Chicago school bosses won’t let them play chess

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I proudly serve as a math teacher and chess coach at Ella Flagg Young Elementary School within the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). 

It’s with a sense of urgency and a heavy heart that I shed light on a deeply troubling situation affecting the underprivileged students in my care. 

In January, despite grappling with my own health challenges and financial hardships, I took it upon myself to purchase plane tickets for 10 of my students. 


These tickets were intended to provide them with the opportunity to participate in the prestigious 2024 National K-8 Chess Championship in Atlanta, scheduled for May 9-12. The journey was supposed to be a celebration of their hard work and dedication to the game of chess. 

A Chicago after-school chess club helps keep students off the streets at a dangerous time of day. (Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)

However, the dreams of my students have been shattered by certain underhanded union members within CPS who have peddled lies and fabricated stories to undermine me and prevent my students from competing. 

Despite our efforts and the overwhelming support that we’ve received from generous donors and the

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