After 34 days of a hunger strike protesting the closing of Dyett High School by some residents of the school’s community, the strikers claimed what they call a partial victory as they ended their strike due to the physical body’s limitations according to Juan Perez Jr. of Chicago Tribune.
Chicago Public Schools agreed to reopen the former Dyett High School on the city’s Southeast Side next Fall as a neighborhood arts focused school instead of a high school focused on green technology demanded by the strikers.
“Your body starts to deteriorate,” Jeanette Taylor-Ramann, a member of the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization and one of the leaders of the strike said who helped lead the 34-day hunger strike.
In an interview with EduShyster, Troy LaRaviere, a Chicago Public School’s principal at Blaine Elementary School and a leader of the Administrators Alliance for Proven Policy and Legislation in Education, AAPPLE, discussed his aversion to the current climate of education reform in Chicago and in the United States. He indicated that most school administrators choose not to publicly share their truths about the impact of mandated education reform because of fear of consequences. Principal LaRaviere who needs to be commended for his courageous stance said the following to EduShyster:
“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.”
In order to encourage other school administrators to use their voices, Principal LaRaviere told EduShyster:
“Tell your truth. If you don’t want to say what you know is right for fear that you’ll be fired by your government, which is who we work for, then go to your eighth grade social studies classrooms where they’re studying the Constitution and tell them that it’s all a lie. Tell your students that the First Amendment is an ideal, but we don’t have it. If you’re not willing to say that to your eighth grade students, than tell your truth. It’s as simple as that. Just tell your truth.”