Chicago elementary school principal Troy LaRaviere is fearless. He speaks out against injustice. He speaks for the children of Chicago, who have gotten a raw deal from the city and the state.

In this post (which I am late posting), he speaks directly to the chair of the State Board of Education, Reverend James Meeks.

With Governor Bruce Rauner at the helm, public schools in Illinois are in deep trouble. The governor doesn’t like them. He loves charters.

Principal LaRaviere asks a direct question of the State Board:

Why do you now take a strong stand against opting out when you stood by silently as our kids were harmed again and again?

He writes:

When the Emanuel administration artificially boosted its graduation rates by giving high school diplomas to alternative programs that ISBE itself does not recognize as high school diplomas, ISBE stood idly by as CPS and the mayor instituted this practice aimed at creating a false mayoral campaign talking point. ISBE issued no threats. ISBE took no stand.

When Rahm Emanuel entered CPS into a financial arrangement with three of his campaign donors to give them $17 million in public funds that would have otherwise funded pre-kindergarten, ISBE issued no threats. ISBE took no stand.

When CPS announced it would pilot an initiative to extend its so-called “School-Based Budgeting” into the staffing of teachers serving special education students, and risk violating the rights of these students by understaffing their special education program—in violation of federal law and ISBE policy—ISBE issued no threats. ISBE took no stand.

When CPS expanded poor performing charter schools and marketed them to low-income communities, the achievement gap between those students and their middle income peers widened. Yet ISBE issued no threats and took no stand.

When CPS manipulated the test score data of those same charter schools, ISBE issued no threats and took no stand.

ISBE has stood idly by over the past two decades as CPS has made one policy decision after another that has been detrimental to the educational future of Chicago’s children. You made no threats, and you took no stand.

While ISBE is neglecting its responsibility to act on behalf of our children, testing technology companies and venture capitalists have publicly declared their intent to “disrupt” public education and use test scores to label it as “failing” in order to make way for parasitic market forces that waste our tax dollars on “solutions” to the problems that they themselves have manufactured. Billions of dollars have been siphoned from state and municipal education budgets to fund their failed strategies—accountability based testing being one of their most popular, but least effective and most disastrous strategies.

Now, when parents, teachers, and administrators across the state are moving to address this threat by opting their children out of testing–now you decide to act. You did not take a stand when student learning was at-risk, but you’ve decided to take a stand now that the profits of testing companies are at risk.

Now you’ve decided to act.

Now you’ve decided to take a stand.

Principal LaRaviere is a voice of conscience for the children of Chicago.