The CEO Carousel isn't the Real Source of Instability in CPS

Statement From CPAA President Troy LaRaviere
on the Resignation of the CPS CEO

(312) 263-7915

Leadership Transition and the Real Source of Instability in Chicago Public Schools

On Monday we learned that Chicago Pubic Schools will have its sixth CEO in less than a decade. There has been a revolving door of CEOs in CPS, and some have opined that this creates instability. However, instability is created by the policies and practices that have defined CPS for the last eight years, no matter who occupied the CEO position. Whether it was Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Jesse Ruiz, Forrest Claypool, or Janice Jackson, the policies and practices of these district managers have been the primary source of instability in CPS. When district managers fail to consult with principals when making the policies that those principals will have to implement, that creates instability. When those same managers work for months behind the scenes to create reopening plans that they give principals less than three weeks to implement; that’s instability. When the district hires central office and network personnel based more on loyalty to the CEO than on their professional accomplishments, that creates instability. When a CEO holds school-based personnel accountable for reaching goals but then that CEO fails to hold him or herself accountable for securing the resources needed to accomplish those goals, that creates instability. These kinds of backward practices have dominated the culture of CPS, and every CEO in the last decade has relied on this ill-considered management style. No matter who becomes the next CEO, we won’t have any stability until we end this misguided approach to management and get meaningful ongoing input from principals, teachers, parents, and other key stakeholders when creating district plans and policies.

Although the CEO position is important, what matters most is what we are willing to do collectively to influence CPS policy no matter who the CEO is. Organized, strategic collective action by principals, teachers, parents, students, and community leaders can make the difference. With that understanding,  we must continue efforts to unite all stakeholders for the kind of strategic collective action that will make a difference for our schools even after the next four CEOs have come and gone.


Troy LaRaviere
Chicago Principals & Administrators Association