Is Raviere Independent Or Merely Opposed?

Is Raviere Independent Or Merely Opposed?

Lots more about Blaine’s principal, Troy LaRaviere in the Reader, Sun-Times, and on Chicago Tonight. (See my thoughts below.) Plus pensions, CPS apologizing for that racist test question, and national news focusing on charters, equity, data privacy, and Newark.  


I keep wondering whether LaRaviere is an independent mind speaking out against CPS and anyone else who gets in the way of making Chicago schools better or whether he’s one among many who’ve come to loathe the Mayor so much that he’s allied himself with the union across the board.  (The Reader’s Miner points out that the Blaine principal played it fast and loose with some points in his oped (and fired a bunch of teachers last year and this). Carol Marin asks him some tough questions about how widely held his views are.)

CPS Principal Speaks Out, Gains Support Chicago Tonight: We speak with Blaine Elementary principal Troy LaRaviere about his recent op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times and the overwhelming response he has received from colleagues about the Chicago Public Schools’ administration and its treatment of employees.

Blaine’s gains and the blame game Reader: LaRaviere isn’t buying [the ntion that tenure protects weak teachers]. He told me he got rid of four weak teachers his first year at Blaine and four more his second.

Rahm Emanuel says he welcomes principals’ concerns, ideas Chicago Sun-Times: “If a principal has a concern or an idea, [schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett’s] attitude, my attitude is, ‘We want to hear about it if there are concerns,’ ” Emanuel said at an unrelated announcement in Bronzeville, where he he took reporters …

Emanuel shrugs off dismal results in Chicago Sun-Times poll Sun Times: Shrugging off a Chicago Sun-Times poll that shows his popularity plummeting, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday he ran for mayor on a promise to confront vexing problems “swept under the rug” and he’s not about to “blow with the wind.”


The effect of one-party rule Washington Post: Since 2000, the Teachers’ Retirement System, Illinois’s largest pension program, has invested $120 million with GTCR and reaped an average annual return of 25 percent, much better than TRS’s other private-equity investments.

Poll results make Emanuel’s property tax hike a tougher sell Sun Times: Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s sagging popularity — and the public’s disdain for hiking property taxes — will make it infinitely more difficult for the mayor to win City Council approval of a $250 million property tax increase to save two city employee pension funds, aldermen said Tuesday.


CPS principal, Julian administrator chosen for Mann, Whittier Wednesday Journal: A Chicago Public Schools administrator and an Oak Park middle school assistant principal have been appointed to take over the helms at Mann and Whittier elementary schools.

Are school closings the ‘new Jim Crow’? Activists file civil rights complaints. Washington Post: In Newark, 13 public schools have closed since 2009. In Chicago, 111schools have closed since 2001. In New Orleans, all the traditional publicschools except five have shut down since 2003.

20 escort ads found in home of fatally stabbed teacher: records Sun Times: Investigators found about 20 ads for female escorts on a desk in a Brother Rice High School teacher’s home after they found him brutally stabbed to death earlier this year, records show.

CPS Picks Schools to Split $21.5 Million Pot for Art Classes DNAinfo: Mayer said the body is hoping the funding will be enough to avoid layoffs and appealed to CPS CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett for more money in a letter Tuesday. “In order to meet next year’s mandate for gym and art we are cutting a technology position and …


How to get boys on board with reading for fun WBEZ: We delve into why boys are reading less and discuss some solutions for getting them more enthusiastic about books.

CPS apologizes for controversial test question Chi-Town Review: Chicago Public Schools is apologizing for a test question some labeled “racist” and “xenophobic.”

Robots at Chicago Public Library teach kids how to code Chi-Town Review: Parents can now check out programmable robots from Chicago Public Library this summer. Finch Robots teach kids as young as 8 to program computers in more than 12 coding languages.


King takes a dig at NYC’s enrollment rules Chalkbeat: “There are places where you can look, including New York City, where blocks away students are separated by economic status,” King said. “Schools that serve mostly wealthy students blocks away from schools that serve mostly high-needs students, and we know that that segregation breeds inequality.”

Civil Rights Laws Apply Equally to Charters, Says USDE PK12: The “Dear Colleague” letter by Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon includes specific guidance for charter schools related to admissions, students with disabilities, English-language learners, and discipline.

Civil rights complaints target charter schools in Chicago, Newark, New Orleans The Tribune: Chicago Public Schools and Louisiana state education officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Remedies sought in the complaints include moratoriums on further closures or conversions to charter schools.


Instead of getting ready for the tech revolution, schools are scaling back Hechinger: For schools that haven’t yet made technology an integral part of every student’s school day and every teacher’s lesson planning, the problem is often basic: Their Internet connection is too weakand their laptops (if they even have them) are too old to handle whole classrooms of students spending most or even part of their day online.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan talks teaching before giving ASU … Phoenix Business Journal: Before giving the commencement speech for more than 10,000 graduates at Arizona State University in Tempe tonight, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan met with a dozen Phoenix-area principals to talk about how teachers can play a more central role

Are student files private? It depends. Politico: The laws may sound iron-clad, but there are huge loopholes. See also: Data mining your children Politico: Private-sector data mining is galloping forward – perhaps nowhere faster than in education.

Segregation Gains Ground 60 Years After Brown ABC News:  Progress toward integrated classrooms has largely been rolled back since the Supreme Court issued its landmark Brown v. Topeka Board of Education decision 60 years ago, according to a report released Thursday by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. Blacks are now seeing more school segregation than they have in decades, and more than half of Latino students are now attending schools that are majority Latino.

Live Discussion: School Resegregation 60 Years After Brown v. Board ProPublica: Tweet  #RevisitingBrown Join Hannah-Jones (@nhannahjones) and NPR’s Gene Demby (@GeeDee215) this Friday at 1 p.m. ET for a live discussion on the anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education by tweeting your questions with #RevisitingBrown or leaving your comment below.



De Blasio quietly adds hundreds of millions for charters  Capital NY: Tucked in a 291-page document related to the Fiscal Year 2015 budget he unveiled on May 8 are two increases to charter schools: $26.9 million for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, and an extra $219.7 million for next year. Those figures reflect spikes from the preliminary fiscal plan he unveiled in February. That brings the total amount his administration plans to spend on charters in FY2015 to nearly $1.3 billion, up from $1.06 billion this year.

Advocates kick up lobbying efforts for new education dollars KPCC: As school districts across California finalize budgets infused with an anticipated $4.5 billion in extra state cash, a long list of groups are lobbying for expanded or new programs.

Rebuke of Charter Schools Is Seen in Newark Election NYT: As Newark woke up to a new mayor-elect on Wednesday, the groups that backed him declared his victory one for the “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party, saying it was part of a rising tide across the country of voters’ speaking out against charter schools and other incursions against labor unions and public education.

Morning Edition: More School Districts Rethink Zero-Tolerance Policies WNYC: When a child is suspended or expelled, it rarely improves his behavior or his academics. One school in Houston has adopted an old technique to handle student disputes: the healing circle.

Cleveland Plan to Dismiss Teachers Protested by Union TeacherBeat: Cleveland is the latest city facing growing pains over a new teacher-evaluation system.

The Q&A: John Kuhn Texas Tribune: In 2011, the superintendent of Perrin-Whitt CISD became identified with the fight in the Legislature over school funding when he penned a letter in the style of William B. Travis’ letter from the Alamo, this time asking for relief from “increased high-stakes testing and accountability-related bureaucracy and a cannonade of gross underfunding.”


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  • I'll pass on the internal squabble.

    However, what the principal alleged is similar to the Emanuel administration's standard practice. The "word" from CTA only comes from its blatantly lying PR staff. Today's Sun-Times article notes that they received an attack e-mail from a campaign consultant who just happens to have the same name as one who sent an attack e-mail about Preckwinkle to the Tribune.

    The real issue is that Emanuel's method of ruling is "like it or vote me out" knowing that there isn't any real opposition, especially not in the Black community. I don't know if there is a Black Rauner ready to run for mayor, but the last I heard, Magic Johnson didn't meet the residency requirement.

    Maybe more interesting is a George Will column pointing out:
    Since 2000, the Teachers' Retirement System, Illinois' largest pension program, has invested $120 million with GTCR and reaped an average annual return of 25 percent, much better than TRS' other private-equity investments. For Karen Lewis, head of the Chicago Teachers Union, it suffices to say that Rauner is a "millionaire capitalist." He replies, "Teachers hired me for years." Public pension funds are by far the largest funders of private equity firms.

    Not much different than my point that if the unions believed their advertisements, they killed someone's grandmother in a nursing home.

  • In reply to jack:

    Bruce Rauner can't become Governor soon enough. The more Karen Lewis spews her lies, the more secure my vote is for Rauner.

    Power to all the taxpayers of Illinois! It is time we have a voice against the mess that is Springfield---dragging Illinois into the the depths of financial disaster.

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    Well Jack, you know that doesn't make sense. And the CTU never allowed Rauner anywhere near the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund, so George Will is trotting out Lewis as a bogey-man, and combining two things that are related, generally, but not the same.

  • In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    Well Ed, just like the silly union commercials against Rauner. To use your logic, "so Karen Lewis is trotting out Rauner as a gobey-man, and combining two things that are related, generally, but not the same." Yep!

  • In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    I'll recognize that the state and C pension funds are separate, but if Lewis is so adamant about where the fund invests, is the CT fund getting those kind of returns, and if not, why not? And do they invest in nursing homes where grandma is abused? Or only in "green companies?"

    Which basically means that the preceding district299reader is correct.

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    In reply to jack:

    This was one of many issues with the CTU that caused CORE folks to mobilize. We were very upset with the management of the pension funds, and once we had a majority on the pension board, that group voted to change the way the pension fund was handled--with far better results and social responsibility.

    So, you bring up an interesting point, but it actually supports Lewis' point in this case.

  • i'm getting a couple of emails from laraviere haters -- but so far not much by way of substantiated claims.

  • I had to pass several "Lines of Death"every day reporting for duty at
    the Good Ship Simeon.On many occasions we had to repel boarders.
    Hand to hand combat was a weekly event.Never endured a air attack,
    but was attacked by rockets at Gatley Stadium and had a empty wine bottle part my hair that same evening.I get his point " Better to be shot at and missed than shit on and hit"

  • Interesting that Raviere when asked what his schools' success was attributed to he cited student support at home. When the question was asked to Golden Apple Winning Principal at Lindblom was asked the same question he responded that he gave his teachers freedom with responsibility. Mather failed to mention that Lindblom is selective enrollment, essentially meaning that he too, generally, has students with supports at home. I think it takes both. Too bad so many schools like mine (90+% poverty) in CPS fail to compensate for the former and are targeted for testing+micro-management.

  • In reply to FSS CPS Teacher:

    Your point is an excellent one.

    Rod Estvan

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