Principled Opposition

Chicago Principal Troy LaRaviere is speaking out against the direction of education reform—and he hopes more school leaders will do the same…

LaRaviere at City HallJennifer Berkshire: I meet a lot of principals these days who express strong objections to policies and mandates that they think are harmful to kids—but few seem to feel comfortable expressing their opinions publicly. Why do you think that is?

Troy LaRaviere: I was at an event recently and someone asked *why are principals afraid to speak out?* One of my colleagues responded that *It’s not that we’re afraid; we’re just being strategic about how we move forward.* I’d never really thought about it this way before, and it hit me that the difference between being fearful and being *strategic* is meaningless because, if you’re scared, you avoid telling the truth because you’re afraid of the consequences. But if you’re being strategic, you fail to tell the truth because you’re trying to avoid the consequences. However you define it, fear or strategy, you’re not speaking your truth because you know there will be consequences from the governmental bureaucracy in charge of the public schools. There is no place for such a fear of government in a constitutional democracy.  That is part of why I tell my truth; the primary reason is to stand up for students, but a secondary reason is to test our democracy—to be an example of an ordinary citizen that believes that the First Amendment is both powerful and real.  It is a meaningful expression of my own patriotism. Continue reading →