This Is Not a Drill

Chicago Public School Principal Troy A. LaRaviere spoke last night on WTTW about the important OpEd he published last week, regarding the Rahm Emanuel administration’s bullying of public school principals, lest they speak out against privatization and other policies that have been detrimental to teachers and students.  

So when people ask me, Aren’t you afraid of losing your job if you speak out?” this is my answer: I did not travel across an ocean and risk my life to defend American freedoms only to return and relinquish those freedoms to an elected official and his appointed board of education.

The world’s highest-performing school systems are built on the ideas of American education professionals ranging from John Dewey to Linda Darling-Hammond, ideas that recognize school improvement is not an individual race, but a team sport. Yet, our own elected officials have been ignoring those ideas in favor of teacher-bashing, privatized choice, fly-by-night fast-track teacher licensing and over-reliance on testing — ideas that have not improved schooling in any nation that has tried them.

Those of us who know better must lift our voices to persuade the residents of Illinois to reject these backward ideas and to oust the politicians who peddle them. We must work together to build our own system-wide improvement effort. The future of public education is at stake, and the future of Chicago’s children is at risk. We must lift our voices and be heard.

This is not a drill. 

May 15, 2014