Chicago Public Schools (CPS) principal Troy LaRaviere faced the media Thursday morning to speak out against the "politically motivated charges" leveled against him by the district.
Last month, CPS removed LaRaviere -- an outspoken critic of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS -- from Blaine Elementary School in Lakeview and reassigned him to his home with pay until the disciplinary process is complete.
CPS has 12 total dismissal charges pending against LaRaviere involving insubordination, dereliction of duty and ethics violations.
LaRaviere's removal comes as he runs for president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, the election for which is currently underway and ballots will be counted next week.
"When I was a lone voice, the administration tolerated me," LaRaviere said this morning at the Wishbone Restaurant on Lincoln Avenue. "But when faced with the prospect of an organized group of education leaders speaking as one on behalf of students, they've moved with haste and reckless abandon to prevent that from happening."
Paul Vallas, the former head of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district, says the city should have a "hybrid" school board with both voter-elected and mayor-appointed members.
He spoke Wednesday night at an elected school board forum hosted by state Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago) at the Athenaeum Theatre on Chicago's North Side.
Other panelists at the discussion included Wendy Katten with the Raise Your Hand coalition and Eric "Rico" Gutstein, a professor in curriculum and instruction at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
"I believe that you do need elected members of the school board," said Vallas, who was the CPS CEO from 1995 to 2001 and also ran schools in New Orleans, Philadelphia and Bridgeport, Connecticut. "I believe that you do need transparency."
The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) was reportedly investigating a deal signed under Barbara Byrd-Bennett during her tenure at the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) district long before she came to Chicago to run the city's public school system.
The following is from Jitu Brown, national director of the Journey for Justice Alliance and one of the Dyett Hunger Strikers.
As a CPS parent and long-time community organizer, I am appalled by the actions of Barbara Byrd-Bennett in stealing from Chicago's children to feather her already robust nest. What is more appalling however, is Mayor Rahm Emanuel's effort to isolate her actions as the corruption of an individual; and our acceptance of such nonsense. Corruption and discriminatory actions that disregard the voices of Black and Brown parents is central to the culture of the school privatization movement. While millions of dollars are pumped into selling the public on "school choice", nationwide corporate education interventions have failed to improve the academic outcomes in Black and Brown communities, while a laundry list of "reformers" have been caught violating the public trust.
The same day former Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty to her role in a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme, education activists and local lawmakers on Tuesday stressed the need for an elected school board in the city.
"We're here because we want every position on that school board elected by the people of Chicago," Action Now's Executive Director Katelyn Johnson said during a morning press conference at Federal Plaza before Byrd-Bennett's arraignment. "We have a right to democracy. We have a right as parents and community members to voice our opinions about our schools, and we have a right to a better school system. Our children deserve it."