In their effort to re-do last year’s mayoral election, the principals of Chicago yesterday elected Troy LaRaviere over Mayor Emanuel in the race for the presidency of their association.
OK, so LaRaviere wasn’t literally running against Rahm. The controversially ousted principal of Lakeview’s Blaine Elementary School was actually up against a retired principal named Ken “Buzz” Hunter, who was clearly supported by some of Emanuel’s Chicago Public Schools appointees. Indeed, it was Hunter whom LaRaviere defeated with 69 percent of the vote to win control of the Chicago Principal and Administrators Association.
It just seems like Troy beat Rahm, ’cause let’s face it—Troy vs. Rahm was really what this election was all about.
It’s widely believed Rahm was behind firing LaRaviere last month from his job as principal of Blaine for daring to voice strong opposition to the mayor’s policies regarding school privatization, high-stakes testing, and teacher evaluation. LaRaviere also passionately backed Jesus “Chuy” Garcia over Rahm in last year’s mayoral election. But Emanuel’s official position is that he had nothing to do with central office officials’ decision to suspend LaRaviere without pay. (In other news, Rahm swears up and down that the world is flat.)
It’s easy to understand why principals might’ve opted for a more Karen Lewis-like leader to deal with the mayor. Principals, arguably, have been hit even harder than teachers by the mayor’s education policies; unlike teachers, principals have to pretend they agree with the mayor’s cuts and closings, as well as his testing, curriculum, and privatization programs. From time to time, the mayor even calls in a bunch of principals to stand behind him at a press conference as he announces some new program that may or may not contradict the program he announced a few weeks before. The principals are supposed to stand there like Stepford wives, gazing upon Rahm with the fawning look reminiscent of the one Chris Christie reserves for Donald Trump.
Now that I think about it, it’s unbelievable LaRaviere didn’t get more votes in this election—especially since Hunter was recently arrested and charged with telephone harassment of a 44-year-old woman. (The shit that happens in Chicago politics never fails to amaze me, folks.) Still, I’m going to take the result of this election as a sign that Chicago’s principals are tired of playing the role of the mayor’s chumps. It’s clear they’ve come to the conclusion that sucking up to the man only gets you so far.
This could be the start of something big. Today the principals. Tomorrow the firefighters and cops. Pretty soon all of Chicago may come to its senses about the mayor. One can only hope.