Troy LaRaviere is one brave man. He is the principal of Blaine Elementary School in Chicago. Blaine is one of only three schools in the city singled out for praise for meeting standards set by the Mayor himself, Rahm Emanuel.

Yet LaRaviere, despite his successful leadership, has been given a warning by the board of the Chicago Public Schools. This warning may be a prelude to termination.

Read LaRivere’s response to this warning here.

He was warned first of all because he supported parents who wanted to opt their children out of the state tests. His school had an 80% opt out rate. The board said he was disobeying by refusing its orders to force the children to take the tests until the child herself refused, not the parent. He says that if parents should have choice about where to send their child to school, why not honor their request to refuse the tests?

He was warned because he asked a question at a meeting where no questions were allowed.

As he writes:

The second thing I was cited for was insubordination when I violated a “no questions” policy at a district principals budget meeting. I sat there at the meeting listening to CPS officials blame Springfield and teacher pensions for the budget woes, while they completely ignored their own well documented corrupt and reckless spending (e.g., $20 Million Supes Contract, $340 Million Aramark Contract, $10 million central office furniture purchase, etc. etc.). So I stood up and asked the question anyway, citing several questionable expenses. Then CEO, Jesse Ruiz, stood up and told me that I was being disruptive. It is a profound moment of truth and clarity when a CPS official gets up and makes it clear that he considers asking relevant questions “disruptive.” I have already written extensively about the details of this encounter in a post entitled, “Adding Insult to Injury: A Look Inside a CPS Principals Budget Meeting.” In the resolution, the board cites me for insubordination, in part, because Ruiz asked me why I worked for CPS if I were so unhappy with its leadership, and I responded, “To save it from people like you.” It is important to note that Ruiz asked me to come into the hallway where he called me a “loud-mouthed principal” and asked me that question. In essence, the board is attempting to discipline me for answering his question. If he didn’t want an honest answer, he should not have asked the question.

Another disturbing thing about this resolution is the way I was informed about it. I received an email on Monday telling me I could come in on Tuesday at 1pm to respond to the allegations on a resolution that the board would be voting on the next day. The board clearly knew that I was scheduled to speak at the City Club of Chicago’s panel on CPS Bankruptcy at that time since one of their own—Jesse Ruiz—was also on the panel. I chose to keep my appointment on the panel and thereby miss my opportunity to respond to this absurd resolution.

The CPS board accuses him of trying to “raise his profile.” LaRaviere is just trying to do what is right for the children and parents he serves.

He writes:

Yesterday, I drove by Washington Park to see if there was any organized activity at the scene of the Dyett School hunger strike. There didn’t seem to be, so I pulled away and headed toward 43rd and Vernon, about a block east of Martin Luther King Drive. The entire part of the block facing 43rd street is an empty lot on which once stood a fire-damaged slum I lived in as a child; where my brothers and I slept on floors and cots for months until the owner of Moore’s Furniture and Piano Mover’s donated a bunk bed to my mother. I go back there often to remind myself of the road I have traveled, and of the awesome responsibility I have been given. I came here from nothing. By any reasonable odds, I was not supposed to be here. And yet, here I am. I am not an overtly religious man but circumstances leave me no choice but to believe that whatever power put me on this earth—and in this position—did so for a reason. While I am here, I have a responsibility and a duty to use this position to advocate as strongly as humanly possible for the betterment of our city and its schools. That includes advocacy for sound evidence-based education policy and prudent fiscal management of district resources—the advocacy that led to the current warning resolution.

I will continue to support all of my PTAs efforts on behalf of the children and families of Blaine and I will continue to call out CPS on its reckless fiscal operational and educational mismanagement of our district at every opportunity they give me. Unfortunately, for our teachers and the students they serve, those opportunities abound.

Where does a man like Troy LaRaviere come from? Where does his courage come from? Why is he able to stand tall and be fearless when so many others quake in the face of power? Why are there not hundreds and thousands of principals and superintendents like Troy LaRaviere?

He is already on the blog’s honor roll. All I can say is “Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your integrity. Thank you for your inspiration.”