Adding Insult to Injury: A Look Inside a CPS Principals Budget Meeting

On Monday, July 13th, principals from across the city met in a high school auditorium to receive our budgets, most of which were slashed. Before giving us our budgets, CPS officials subjected principals to a one-hour presentation citing what in their words were the things that “forced” them to cut resources to students.

What ensued was the following series of one-sided political talking points straight from the Mayor’s press office as principals were forced to sit passively with no opportunity for questions or comments.

  • “We have a budget deficit of more than $1 billion”
  • “We have a broken state pension system”
  • “Springfield lawmakers have failed to take action”
  • “These things are forcing us to choose between making pension payments and making needed investments in the classroom.”

Each point had its own unique irrational false logic.  Take the last point for example: CPS claiming their choice is between paying teachers salaries & benefits or improving classrooms is like the Chicago Bulls saying their choice is between paying player salaries or improving the team.  Is there a more important expense toward improving a team than investing in its players?  Is there a more important expense for improving a school system than investing in its teachers?  The funds used on a salary and benefits package aimed at attracting and retaining skilled and competent teachers for our students is the most important classroom investment a school district can make.  CPS’s “teacher compensation vs. classroom investments” conundrum is a false choice based on a misleading political talking point that had no place in a principals budget meeting.

Yet there we were, forced to sit and listen without comment.  We’ve heard these talking points in past budget meetings but they were particularly insulting to any well-informed, self-respecting educator after bearing witness to a year of numerous budget related scandals and fiscal recklessness involving CPS and the Mayor’s Office. As I listened to each point, the contradictions became progressively more apparent and unbearable to endure without comment.

I raised my hand.

The CPS official looked my way but kept talking.

I kept my hand up for five minutes.

The official kept talking, reached the end of the presentation and began walking off stage.

I projected my voice from the back of the auditorium toward the stage, “I have a question.”

“We will not take questions here.  We will break out in small groups in separate classrooms and you will be able to ask your question in your small group.”

The response was jarring; it stirred a memory of a 2013 CPS “hearing” on school closings.  Hundreds of community members from Brenneman, Steward, Stockton, and Trumbull schools came to Truman College to voice their support for their schools remaining open.  Instead CPS officials showed up with a PowerPoint presentation filled with talking points in support of school closings.  When parents attempted to question the officials at this “hearing,” those parents were told they would not take questions or comments; they should save their questions for the small group “breakout” sessions where they could approach a facilitator one-on-one.  In other words those officials were telling the stakeholders, “Everyone will hear us, but almost no one will hear you.”  Community members refused to be split up to have their voices muffled, and the fiasco that ensued is documented in this video. It was not a “hearing.”  It was an Orwellian attempt to dominate the messaging behind school closings by elevating the voices of public officials while marginalizing the voices of students, parents, and community members.

So there we were, several hundred principals being talked at and having our voices suppressed by CPS officials using the same approach they used against a group of students, parents and community members whose schools they intended to shut down.

Let me state that again for my principal colleagues: They treated all of us the way they treated communities whose schools they were shutting down.

I decided the critical questions that needed to be raised were not going to be marginalized to a one-on-one side conversation. They were presenting false and misleading information to all principals and it needed to be addressed with all principals present.

As the official walked toward the side of the stage, I began to ask my question.

“You’ve talked about Springfield and teacher pensions as the source of our budget problems, but at any point during this presentation do you plan to address CPS’s own wasteful spending and the reckless fiscal mismanagement that contributed to this budget crisis?  Do you plan to address the purchase of $10 million dollars in office furniture for Central Offices after you closed 50 schools?  Do you plan to address the $20 million expenditure on SUPES academy that is now under federal investigation?  Do you plan to address the $17 million in pre-k money spent on unnecessary interest payments to three Rahm Emanuel campaign contributors?  Do you plan to address the diversion of $55 million from public schools and parks on a private hotel and stadium?  Do you plan to address the $100 to $200 million in financial penalties due to the toxic financial deals of board president David Vitale?  Do you plan to address the $340 million spent on two custodial management firms that have failed to keep our schools clean? Do you plan to address how CPS repeatedly diverted money away from paying its debts toward wasteful spending like this?”

At that point, interim CEO Jesse Ruiz stood up, projected his voice, and with a somewhat stern and agitated tone stated “You can get your question addressed outside in the hall with me.”

Once again a CPS official was stating, “Everyone will hear us, but no one will hear you, and no one will hear our response to you.”

His standing up was a bold move, seemingly intended to either intimidate me or make other principals think twice about seconding my question.

“My question needs to be addressed right here with the principals in this room,” I replied.

“You are disrupting this meeting,” he said.

“And you are insulting the intelligence of everyone in this meeting,” I countered.

At that point, my network chief asked that I accept the CEO’s offer to step outside the meeting; so I did.  As I left I told principals, “If anyone else is interested in his answer to the question, we’ll be right outside the door.”  No principal took me up on my offer.  When we got into the hallway we began to engage in what I can only describe as a testosterone driven back-and-forth aimed at little else except besting the other’s last comment.

I’m sure there is quite a bit I’ve left out due to the limitations of my own memory, but here is—to the best of that memory—how it went once we left the auditorium.

LaRaviere: That political propaganda had no place in a principal’s budget meeting.

Ruiz:   If you’re so unhappy with CPS, why do you stay in it?

LaRaviere: To save it from people like you.

Ruiz: [I can’t remember his exact words, but it had something to do with the budget]

LaRaviere: Your mayor has diverted over 2 billion tax payer dollars to his campaign contributors.

Ruiz: He’s your mayor too.

At this point Ruiz launched into an extended critique of my involvement in the Chuy Garcia campaign.

LaRaviere: Please.  Don’t lecture me on the ethics of principals being involved in election campaigns when you work for a mayor who repeatedly pulled CPS principals out of their buildings during work hours to stand on stage with him at his campaign events.  Let’s get back to the point.  Your mayor diverted 2 billion taxpayer dollars to his campaign contributors (both Daley and Emanuel).

Ruiz: And what is your source for that?

LaRaviere: Forbes Magazine

Ruiz: Well I’m sure they didn’t cite any evidence.

LaRaviere: They cited about a decade of receipts from City Hall’s vendor checkbook.

Ruiz: You’re nothing but a loud-mouthed principal.

“Did the CEO of CPS just resort to name-calling?” I thought.  The exchange had already sunk low enough.  I wasn’t about to sink to name calling—especially with my boss.  I will tell my boss a truth he doesn’t want to hear and raise questions he doesn’t want to answer, but I’m not calling him names.  It was after the “loud-mouthed principal” comment that I decided to end the exchange.

LaRaviere: It’s obvious I’m not going to get my question answered here so I’m going back in to listen to rest of this nonsense propaganda.

Ruiz: If you think it’s nonsense, why would you sit through it.  I would not sit through nonsense.

LaRaviere: That’s because you’re too busy dishing it out.

[I walked away and returned to the auditorium]

We had left the auditorium because Ruiz invited me into the hallway with the understanding that he would address a question I posed about CPS’s reckless spending. However, the exchange we had outside that room quickly degenerated into a chest pounding stand-off, much of which had nothing to do with my question about CPS spending. I had allowed him to lure me into a verbal cockfight. The CEO of Chicago Pubic Schools and one of its most successful principals were going toe-to-toe like two overstimulated teenaged jocks—in public. It was certainly not my proudest moment, and I doubt it made Ruiz’s top ten list.

What I am proud of however is my decision to not to sit silently in that meeting as public officials slashed our budgets, then demonized teacher compensation and blamed state politicians for the state of finances in CPS; all while refusing to acknowledge their own reckless mismanagement of CPS resources.

There is a common and somewhat vulgar saying that embodies what I felt as CPS slashed school budgets and attempted to blame the state and teachers for its own irresponsible choices:

“Don’t p*ss on me and then try to tell me it’s raining.”

A Chicago Tribune editorial encapsulated it using less vulgar language in an article and accompany tweet: “Chicago faults Springfield for school mess? Like Bonnie Blaming Clyde.”

Yesterday—just two days after my exchange with Ruiz–Forest Claypool was selected by Rahm Emanuel as the new CEO of CPS; the fourth CEO we’ve had in the four years I’ve been principal.  I do not expect anything to change; a new figurehead mouthing the same talking points from the mayor’s communications office; the same PowerPoint presentations filled with half-truths and false logic; the same “Listen to me, but don’t expect me to listen to you” approach to meeting with principals, students, and parents; the same attempts to place blame for CPS finances on others without acknowledging their own role in creating the mess we’re in; the same anti-student and anti-teacher budget slashing approach to public schools; and the same amazing self-respecting students, parents, teachers, principals and community members fighting it every step of the way.


Troy LaRaviere, CPS Principal

Email: TroyLaRaviere@gmail.com

Twitter: @TroyLaRaviere

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/troylaraviere



REFERENCES

Andrzejewski, Adam (March 25, 2015).  The Moral Bankruptcy of Chicago’s Elites: As the City Approaches Bankruptcy Chicago’s Elites Line their Pockets with Taxpayer Money.  Forbes Magazine.

Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2015/03/25/moral-bankruptcy-of-chicagos-elites/



Chase, John; Coen, Jeff & Ruthhart, Bill (January 30, 2015). Rahm Emanuel Counts on Big Donors, with Many getting City Hall Benefits. Chicago Tribune.

Link: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-rahm-emanuel-political-donors-met-20150130-story.html#page=1


Labor Beat (January 30, 2013).  Fiasco – CPS School Closing Hearing 2013 (Video).

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOSWKkJT3j8


Chicago Tribune Editorial Board (July 2, 2015).  CPS: Stop Blaming Springfield.

Link: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-cps-rahm-emanuel-springfield-edit-0703-20150702-story.html


FitzPatrick, Lauren (March 25, 2014).  CPS Wants to Spend $10 Million on Office Furniture. Chicago Sun-Times.

Link: http://chicago.suntimes.com/uncategorized/7/71/187614/chicago-public-schools-wants-to-spend-nearly-10-million-on-furniture-other-costs


Karp, Sarah & Sanchez, Melissa (April 20, 2015).  Civic Leaders Seek to Distance Themselves from SUPES Academy, Now a Target of Federal Probe. Chicago-Catalyst.

Link: http://catalyst-chicago.org/2015/04/civic-leaders-seek-to-distance-themselves-from-supes-contract-targeted-by-feds/


Sanchez, Melissa (March 17, 2015).  Emanuel Preschool Expansion Facing Enrollment Woes. Chicago-Catalyst.

Link: http://catalyst-chicago.org/2015/03/emanuels-preschool-expansion-facing-enrollment-woes/


Joravsky, Ben (December 3, 2014). How Investment Bankers are Set to Profit from Rahm’s Preschool Plan. Chicago Reader.

Link: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/mayor-rahm-preschool-expansion-investment-bank-profits/Content?oid=15790297


Grotto, Jason & Gillers, Heather (November 7, 2014). Risky Bonds Prove Costly for Chicago Public Schools.  Chicago Tribune.

Link: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/cpsbonds/ct-chicago-public-schools-bond-deals-met-20141107-story.html#page=1


FitzPatrick, Lauren & Spielman, Fran (March 19, 2015). CPS Principals Say Schools Remain “Filthy” under $340M Janitorial Contract.  Chicago Sun-Times.

Link: http://chicago.suntimes.com/news-chicago/7/71/454387/cps-principals-say-private-aramark-janitorial-management-still-isnt-working

67 thoughts on “Adding Insult to Injury: A Look Inside a CPS Principals Budget Meeting

      1. You know they cut the youth football program, that was 16 teams with at least 50 kids per program…and about 4 coaches per team

        Like

      2. I just retired from CPS after 29 years!!…I worked on the Westside for 25 of those years and I would have CONTINUED if NOT for admins who SYSTEMATICALLY force tenured teachers to leave by bullying, coercion, etc…..I applaud you for VOICING your concerns and I HOPE CPS gets their ACT together!!

        Like

    1. This is extremely frustrating. To add insult to injury the board has “coaxed” the principals to get rid of tenured teachers to improve their budget, the teachers have been forced to work on Saturdays for in services. We have to sign in and be in front of our students at the same time,if not our rating are categorized as basic. This has been my most stressful year of teaching in 25 years. We were told we couldn’t take an half day, which is illegal. If we complain we heard about it in the form of low ratings ( all A strategy to rid the system of tenured teachers ). This is deplorable and unreasonable ! We need better leadership. Greivances to the union isn’t working either 😕!

      Like

  1. Thank you! Although they don’t want to listen, I’m extatic that you voiced what many fear to say. If no one says anything, this madness will continue. It’s disheartening to wake up each day and they attempt to chip away at the dignity and compassion of what makes up CPS….teachers, faculty, students, parents and community. I even told my daughters not to go into education because of the manner those running/ruining public education are treating us. It’s very sad and I only hope this is just a bad dream and I will wake up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a teacher in CPS it is refreshing to hear a principal who has the intelligence, the self-confidence, and the ability to articulate what needs to said, to people that don’t have the intelligence to grasp that information. I just wish there were others like you in the system. No matter how few rail at the system, you need to continue to be heard.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Troy – First, Bravo! But I have to take issue with your characterization of the concern that others are not standing up as making a “judgment.”

        As the ever looming and evermore darkening cloud of HIGH EXPECTATIONS for students is being sold as the singular solution to improving public schools – raise the bar and they will jump over it – where does “expectation” for ourselves fit in? I don’t see the EXPECTATION for educators to stand up for themselves and for students as judgmental at all. I see it as the manifestation of Democracy, the foundation for which is vested in our public school systems – in the classrooms of our public schools – in the teachers standing before our students in those public schools. . . .and as an example that must be set before those students if we want to remain a Democracy or Democratic Republic.

        We have to EXPECT others to stand up and speak out and we all know as educators that the expectation alone isn’t sufficient to achieve the desired result. A leader is not the same as an exemplar. A leader isn’t someone who is placed there or simply runs to the front of the line. A leader emerges from anywhere in the line or even from the end of the line and becomes an active force to bring others in line. The expectation for those others has to be there along with support, knowledge, encouragement. . . .

        You are more than an exemplar. You are a leader. Turn around and look at all the prospective followers and let them know they are EXPECTED to step up. Hold the door open to the hallway and expect them to join you. Issue the invitation as though it has no opportunity for RSVP! Our strength is in numbers and the knowledge and determination educators offer!

        Thanks again!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So sad that nobody else has the guts to stand up beside you. I don’t teach I. Chicago, but as a teacher, I know exact,y how you feel to know that you’ll be talked to and never listened to. That’s the stratus quo for teacher meetings,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My husband is leaving teaching after 11 years, and it’s not because of the students. I wish he had worked for a principal like you. Thank you for fighting for public school teachers and students (we have 2 sons in CPS schools) in Chicago!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Power to you Mr. LaRaviere. My school got cut with $308,000. We are a small neighborhood school. Just when one thinks we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, CPS slashes our budget. I truly commend your will to see things being done right for our students. It is obvious CPS has no intention to help our public schools. CPS does not want great Principals for our schools! They want puppets. We can’t let that stop us!.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m a CPS teacher and this just makes me extremely sad. It is criminal what they are doing. I cannot believe the people in Chicago are being belittled like this. What’s worse is that the general public is letting themselves get brainwashed and do absolutely nothing to stop this. Then again, these devils down-town are so skillful, they make most people believe that they are actually looking out for teachers and schools. Very sad!

    Like

  7. Thank you for speaking on behalf of principals, teachers, and students. These are the questions that need to be asked. We can not stop asking them. As a CPS teacher and a mom of four CPS students, I am done with being blamed for the “fiscal crisis.” As long as principals, teachers, and parents stay silent, CPS will continue with the power points and double speak. As a parent, I know that a school is only as good as the teacher who is in front of my child each day. Want great schools? Invest in teachers and instruction. Stop blaming us for decades of fiscal mismanagement. Principals need to start speaking up.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for your courage, your tenacity and your optimism. I work for one of the principals who would not join you in your conversation with Mr. Ruiz. As cops say, you’re doing the Lord’s work. We CPS teachers are with you in spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I just want to thank you for standing up for your beliefs and holding people accountable for what they are doing to our children. In a world of CPS “yes men” you are a positive protagonist.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. For you to keep your composure under the stress and anxiety of dealing with multi-tiered conversations with nothing but politically motivated intent is more than commendable- it’s remarkable! We need more rational dedicated professionals like you-‘thank you thank you thank you!! now how to get this to the press???

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Parents of Chicago should revolt. I can’t believe they are so passive. The things Mayor Rahmbo is getting away with. Wake up Chicago. Wake up!! Oh and thank you so much for your courage!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I left CPS, a wonderful neighborhood school with skilled colleagues and a dedicated principal because I moved out of the city and could no longer teach in it (residency policy). I don’t know whether to beg you to stay in CPS and fight the battle few want to fight or beg you to leave and come to the suburbs so I can work for you. Thank you for being gutsy enough to risk your job to speak the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for showing us again how our education system needs to be rebuilt. The administration lecturing to principals without listening for a response is analogous to our outdated model of schools: the mistaken belief that teachers posses some absolutely correct knowledge that they need to deliver into the passive minds of the students (who should remain quiet in their seats and not ask questions!). My point is made much more eloquently by Trevor Eissler, Rebecca Lowe in Montessori Madness!: A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I know how it feels to be the only one standing up to the destroyers of public education in Chicago. I did it as an Assistant Principal and I was fired in 2007. This has been going on for decades. The others will leave you alone. You are alone. Your friends will turn their backs on you. You will be ostracized. I was. I took advantage and retired. You probably cannot retire yet. Things won’t get better; they will get worse with the mayor and the governor we have now. The other CPS principals will NEVER join you. They are too afraid. If I were you I would apply to another school district, if possible in Minnesota. I feel for you, you are courageous, but a single swallow does not a summer make. Go north, young man! Do not continue being an accomplice of that sham. Leave!!!

    A Concerned Educator

    Like

  15. Thank you. I have no direct connection to CPS. Well EXCEPT the money taken out for taxes. I am old enough to say “I Remember” I did not live in Chicago but Joliet. Taft, small old 4 room school with a newer expansion for classrooms and gym/theater/special event money raiser. From there to Hufford JR High.
    Unfortunately we moved to a same sized town in Ohio. They did not support the schools there. In high school I was “taught” in most subjects what I had already learned. I lost all interest in further formal education. Because I learned outside the system by 19 I was an assistant manager for a department store.

    Here in Chicago we are not allowing a student to learn enough to qualify for order taker at a fast

    I can not imagine what CPS students will do when they hit the end of there non-education?
    Teachers and principals are not the problem!

    Found this link on Every Block.

    I’ll share on my FB account.

    Like

  16. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU Mr. LaRaviere! I admire your courage and resolve to reveal the truth and with respect not retreat when faced with the reprehensible intimidation tactics of the powers that be. I had a similar experience last year when I attended a “budget training” meeting designed for LCS members and parents held at Schurz High School. As soon as I realized the true nature of this meeting – propaganda at it’s best, I immediately got in line to voice this revelation to those in attendance, ask relevant questions, and encourage all in attendance to stay informed. I wanted to know why the Teachers’ Pension was included in a “budget training” power point and portrayed as the “problem”. I wanted to know they didn’t reveal the truth about CPS taking successive pension holidays for 10 years, which lead to the underfunding of the pension. I wanted to know why the meeting was billed as “budget training” when in reality it was an opportunity to continue to vilify teachers.
    The Chief Administrative Officer led the presentation and took questions from the audience. Needless to say he not only ignored my questions but also ignored all questions and comments germane to holding CPS accountable for the budget crisis they created. It is my opinion the manner in which he responded to the audience was condescending, insulting and shameful. Keep the masses ignorant and their “Animal Farm” will thrive.
    Mr. LaRaviere, I am a Chicago Public School teacher – 29 years! Despite the limited resources and lack of central office support I have worked under the majority of my career, I remain steadfast in my commitment to urban education.

    You have my support.

    Respectfully,

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I congratulate you but I also feel sorry for you because you don’t have a team of principals that have no cohunes to stand with you on these very important issues . I would hate to know that my daughter’s principal would try to sell parents on those talking points were given by the city, it would be an insult.

    Like

  18. Forrest Claypool is not a figure head and may be the least corruptible administrator in the entire city. That’s why he got the job. So please give this man a chance and don’t stereotype him as someone who won’t make a difference. If there’s corruption involved, he will clean it up immediately, and that’s with any employee in the system. But if you don’t give him a chance and put him in the same category as his predecessors, then don’t expect to be in the system much longer. Trust me on this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The “corruption” is on the part of the official who appointed Mr. Claypool. You’re saying he’s going to clean up the behavior of his boss?
      See Andrzejewski, Adam (March 25, 2015). The Moral Bankruptcy of Chicago’s Elites: As the City Approaches Bankruptcy Chicago’s Elites Line their Pockets with Taxpayer Money. Forbes Magazine.
      Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2015/03/25/moral-bankruptcy-of-chicagos-elites/

      Like

      1. If he has to choose between maintaining the status quo of corruption and losing friends, he will lose the friends, even if they are his bosses. Give him a chance.

        Like

  19. The process sounds about right. Chicago politicians and CPS leadership believe we should be passive sheep rather than critical thinkers who can provide constructive feedback to their proposals. There is no such thing as accountability in Chicago. This is a sad commentary on the state of democracy in Chicago!!!!!

    Like

  20. I retired from CPS in 2007 after 35 years of teaching. As difficult as it was to function within CPS, finding our way through the messes always thrown our way by the downtown puppets, it is even harder being retired from CPS. Retirees have been under attack for years with threats to slash benefits. Rahm and Rauner are nightmares, as are their water boys. I saw Jesse Ruiz on Chicago Tonight. Another liar and schemer, hiding behind Chicago’s children. He never answered a question honestly. He even said that looking into the bank swaps would be too expensive. Shame on Carol Marin for not pressing him. It is beyond rational thought.

    But then I read your blog. I had seen you on Chicago Tonight and been very impressed but now you are truly my hero. ( I wish you would consider being the new CTU president. Any thought about making that strange leap?) I have often told my state senator, Mr. Harmon, about the fiscal irresponsibility at CPS but he dismisses it as minor. Yes, there are structural changes that are needed to fund education and pensions in this state. But when CPS claims to be broke after the millions wasted on well-connected firms and friends of those in power, it is time to look inside CPS and start prosecutions against those that are guilty. Rahm would be #1, Vitale #2, BBB #3, etc. CPS, Chicago, and Illinois – they are like a horror novel. One more crooked than the last. It is sad that there are no more journalists like Woodward and Bernstein to take up the charge and start digging. Just think of what they would find!

    Best of luck, Troy (sorry, it has to be Troy since every time I type your last name I have to look it up!). I am with you in my heart and soul. I still remember many of my students. It is so unfair what these wealthy, business, political criminals are doing to the children of today.

    Like

    1. Hello Barb. Principals are not part of the CTU. We do not have a union.
      There are some good journalists out there who dig. Check the following stories out for example:
      Andrzejewski, Adam (March 25, 2015). The Moral Bankruptcy of Chicago’s Elites: As the City Approaches Bankruptcy Chicago’s Elites Line their Pockets with Taxpayer Money. Forbes Magazine.
      Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2015/03/25/moral-bankruptcy-of-chicagos-elites/

      FitzPatrick, Lauren (March 25, 2014). CPS Wants to Spend $10 Million on Office Furniture. Chicago Sun-Times.
      http://chicago.suntimes.com/uncategorized/7/71/187614/chicago-public-schools-wants-to-spend-nearly-10-million-on-furniture-other-costs

      Karp, Sarah & Sanchez, Melissa (April 20, 2015). Civic Leaders Seek to Distance Themselves from SUPES Academy, Now a Target of Federal Probe. Chicago-Catalyst.
      http://catalyst-chicago.org/2015/04/civic-leaders-seek-to-distance-themselves-from-supes-contract-targeted-by-feds/

      Joravsky, Ben (December 3, 2014). How Investment Bankers are Set to Profit from Rahm’s Preschool Plan. Chicago Reader.
      http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/mayor-rahm-preschool-expansion-investment-bank-profits/Content?oid=15790297

      Chase, John; Coen, Jeff & Ruthhart, Bill (January 30, 2015). Rahm Emanuel Counts on Big Donors, with Many getting City Hall Benefits. Chicago Tribune.
      http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-rahm-emanuel-political-donors-met-20150130-story.html#page=1

      Like

  21. Thank you for sharing this experience. I have shared it with the hopes of helping to lift the blinders that many citizens wear in regards to our mayor and his appointed puppets.

    Question: How does one prepare a working budget for a school given CPS’s own brand of Voo Doo Economics?

    -Jen

    Like

      1. I do not know. Seems there will be two options. The first is that they “find” the money like they’ve done in the past. The second is that students lose the services of the educators who will be laid off.

        Like

  22. I don’t know that there is any more money to find… As a non-tenured teacher hired only last year at my school, this is very concerning.

    Like

    1. As a Chicagoan who cares about the future of this city, is also concerning for me. What will Chicago become if its leaders do not prioritize the education of the people who will inherit it?

      Like

  23. Hi Principal LaRaviere,

    I have been a teacher for fifteen years in the district and have experienced some of the same nonsense for protecting myself and speaking the truth. I’ve been asked why I stay at CPS by bosses who don’t want to be challenged and I laugh because they really don’t get that it’s about the kids not them. I am here for the children. I’ve suffered lower ratings, discipline, and ridiculous investigations as well. Something that would help teachers greatly is if principals stop participating in the same tactics that the higher ups are subjecting them to and give teachers the trust, respect, and work environment they deserve. It would be great to see you serve as a mentor for other principals in CPS and elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Thank you for standing up for Chicago Public Schools, teachers, students and parents! My son teaches in CPS and he has shared with me all that is going on!! Please keep fighting for CPS! The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I began teaching when Paul Vallas took over the system, the first in a long line of mayoral appointees….boy does he make those years seem like the “good ol’ days” compared to the latest circus of Brizard and BBB (my personal favorite was Terry Mazany, but he was too ethical to keep around for long).
    I agree with the previous poster that Claypool is ethical and will “clean up” (I think he is under orders by the mayor to demonstrate some measure of success to satisfy a growing public outcry)– but I fear it will be in the form of continued outsourcing of jobs/schools/services in the name of “saving money”. And I bet that in the next few months there will be “shocking” discoveries of financial mismanagement he will find that will generate some headlines. Remember the CTA storage warehouses he “discovered” not too long into his tenure at CTA?
    Now that I am over 20 years in the system, my view is that the level of mismanagement and corruption is possible in Chicago because the true victims of chronic school underfunding are the black and brown children of the poorest neighborhoods who possess the least amount of power. Schools like mine on the northside (and yours) will find a way to fill in the holes punched into our budgets because we possess better overall resources from our communities. But schools in struggling communities will suffer critical damage from which they may never recover (and then the city will likely later turn them into charters). As long as these masses are kept from a meaningful education within the charade of “raising standards”, they will never rise high enough to threaten the existing political power structure. Those that do, are bought by the establishment and then turned into tools like Mr. Ruiz. I wonder how he can look himself in the mirror and not see that he, like so many other talented individuals of color, sell out his own people on a daily basis by continuing to reinforce the “soft bigotry” of our current political establishment.
    I enjoy hearing your truth, and your voice is one that many many people are listening to. Keep speaking your truth to power and don’t let them buy you out.

    Like

  26. Mr. LaRaviere-

    Los Angeles Unified School District is presently looking for a new superintendent. How about applying for the job? We could really use you, your honesty, and your uplifting and respectful view of teachers and the jobs we do. We have great weather, great restaurants, great teachers, great students, great colleges . . . . . . . . . . . all we need is a great person/superintendent like you to complete the picture.
    Seriously, please consider applying.

    kmc, aug. 29, 2015 at 7:08 (pst)

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s