CPS Sacks Popular Principal and Emanuel Critic
By Jim Vail
Special to Mychinews.com
Special to Mychinews.com
|Principal Troy LaRaviere could and should be the city's next mayor!|
There is a power struggle in the city of Chicago, and it exploded this past week when word got out that a popular principal who was one of the biggest critics of the mayor was fired by the Chicago Public Schools for insubordination.
Blaine Elementary Principal Troy LaRaviere has been a fierce critic of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, pointing out the city’s corrupt and wasteful spending that hurts the schools. He was issued a warning resolution by the Chicago Board of Education to basically shut up.
LaRaviere not only did not keep his mouth shut, he elevated it. He appeared in commercials for democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders who said thank God he did not receive Emanuel’s endorsement and he campaigned for Chuy Garcia in the last election for mayor.
Since the heady days of the battle between Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis and the mayor, no other high-profile personality has so forcefully challenged the mayor.
So when the charges were spilled to the press the other day that accused LaRaviere of dozens of allegations of misconduct that included a “dereliction of duty, violations of state and CPS ethical policies and insubordination,” it was obvious that the charges were trumped up to remove a viable opponent to the mayor.
Many are hoping that LaRaviere will run for mayor and his political acumen has shown he is a formidable candidate tied to a populist platform that could derail the oligarchic stranglehold on the city’s highest political office.
According to Dnainfo.com, the violations included disregarding teachers’ assessment guidelines, misusing district equipment and breaking rules governing how schools manage internal accounting.
“It was so obvious when they read out the charges that this was all made up just to get him,” said one assistant principal who wished to remain anonymous. “When it comes to things like mishandling funds or not filling in the correct paperwork, it is easy to find mistakes on anyone.”
CPS has told the media that the mayor was not involved in the decision.
However, the mayor’s credibility is at all-time low with the public.
“It was reminiscent of when Emanuel told us last November that he hadn’t seen the dashcam video of a police officer gunning down Laquan McDonald until it was released to the public – even though a city lawyer who negotiated a $5 million settlement with McDonald’s family in April had described the images as deeply troubling,” wrote the Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn.
Zorn goes on to ridicule CPS’s claim that the mayor was not involved in sacking one of his harshest critics.
“So I guess Emanuel found out about it just like everyone else: What? No way! Really?”
CPS said he was ignoring CPS directives, such as when he openly criticized the PARCC test, where many students across the country have opted out of, the media reported.
CPS said LaRaviere is still eligible to run for president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, while the current president said last week the principals’ board will vote before this month’s election on whether LaRaviere is eligible for the office, Dnainfo reported.
Many believe the mayor did not want LaRaviere to become the principal association’s president because it would give him even more clout.
However, should he be eligible to run, he is not guaranteed to win.
The principals are under the gun, and constantly told and threatened to not say anything that is critical of the board of education.
“I don’t know if I would support him being the president of the principal’s association,” said the assistant principal. “I agree with what’s he’s doing, but you know, CPS has informers at all their meetings, and they take notes on who goes to the meetings and what is said.”
Of course, this is exactly why LaRaviere is so immensely popular.
He does not bow to fear, and his criticisms of the mayor and the schools seem spot on. He said he agrees with the Chicago Teachers Union that the city has a revenue problem, an allegation that directly indicts the corporate class who funded the mayor’s election.
LaRaviere will have a pre-suspension hearing on Friday that will be closed to the public, local media stated, and a state-appointed investigator will determine if he can be suspended without pay before a dismissal hearing, where he is allowed to bring witnesses and evidence to refute the charges.
Teachers were once subject to unpaid suspensions as a form of discipline before the current expired contract made it obsolete.
The principals, unlike the teachers, do not have union protections and are at the whim of what their boss determines.
Even though they must be eligible to run and be voted in by the school’s local council, CPS can and will remove principals they find fault with.
LaRaviere is among six CPS principals removed this year, Dnainfo.
CPS made it quite clear. Despite a critically-thinking school leader who heads an award-winning grammar school and has a faithful following among his people, there is no room for such a leader in a system that is focused on “following the rules.”
LaRaviere is currently not speaking to the press. He wrote on his blog that he will talk after he prepares his case with his lawyer.
“My message is that we need to stay focused on the corrupt fiscal management and incompetent education policy of our district and our city,” he wrote on April 22. “That’s what I’ve tried to highlight. This is not about me. This is about corruption, and I am an obstacle to that corruption. At some point I’m hoping all of us will be obstacles to it.”