New Admin policies are affecting their ability to teach; teachers allege retaliation for voicing concerns

Meet Kate Cavanaugh, Cherokee Elementary School's principal. A review of Dr. Cavanaugh's mentions on Twitter and her published works shows she is passionate about "inclusive classrooms."  At first blush, one might think inclusivity is limited to demography or learning disabilities. But it appears that Dr. Cavanaugh's definition is much broader to include students with significant "social, emotional, and behavioral challenges". For example, she writes: "Seven years into our inclusive practices work [at District 67], things are not perfect. Some of the biggest challenges we face are supporting students with significant social, emotional, and behavioral challenges..." (Actions that Move Us Closer to Inclusion, 8/1/23)

Teachers at Cherokee Are Frustrated

Cherokee Whistleblowers Claims New Policies Are Impacting Teaching 

Cherokee Elementary School educators recently contacted Parents Care with troubling insights about this policy. They maintain that Cavanaugh's failure to discipline disruptive students is sacrificing teachers' ability to provide a high-quality learning environment for the rest of the students. These passionate educators cannot fulfill their roles due to the disruptive behavior of a handful of students and an administration that does "not have the teachers' backs."

These educators express frustration at Principal Cavanaugh's lack of support. They claim Cavanaugh consistently fails to discipline disruptive students or impose consequences. Instead of fostering a conducive learning environment, Cavanaugh's leniency toward disruptive behavior, part of her broad view of "inclusion," makes it hard for teachers to teach.

Reports of Punitive Attacks Against Educators Who Speak Out

Whistleblower reports of punitive actions against educators who have dared to speak up about this pervasive issue are also deeply concerning. We are told Principal Cavanaugh, Superintendent Matt Montgomery, and Director of Human Resources Phil Georgia are implicated in retaliatory measures against those who have voiced concerns about the detrimental impact of Cavanaugh's policies on academic achievement. Parents Care is investigating and will report what we learn. 

The Whistleblowers report that the Administration fosters a culture of fear and suppression within Cherokee Elementary School (we wonder if Superintendent Montgomery considers everyone who questions his decisions to be part of an "opposition group"). We find it unconscionable that educators committed to their students' well-being and success would be punished for advocating for them.

Cherokee Elementary's Continued Academic Underperformance

As a community, we must not accept the systemic erosion of educational standards and the stifling of dissent within our schools. Barely half of Cherokee students were deemed grade-level proficient in English (55%) and math (53.4%) in 2023, according to the Illinois Report Card published by the State Board of EducationThese performances significantly dropped from just four years ago (English 66.4% & Math 79.1% in 2019). 

Is Academic Achievement A Top Priority?

Are our elected School Board members providing adequate oversight as school administrators appear to erode high academic standards in favor of novel theories of discipline inclusion? The Boards often tout "Portrait of a Learner," and we should take heed that "Academic Achievement" is conspicuously omitted, an omission that, at least to some extent, reveals Administration priorities. 

A Call to Speak Up

Educators' voices must be heard and respected. They are on the front lines, striving to provide the best possible education for our children. It is time for Principal Cavanaugh and Superintendent Montgomery to prioritize the needs of the entire student body and create an environment where teachers can teach eager students without fear or disruption.

We must challenge the status quo and demand schools that offer a more balanced approach to inclusion that does not sacrifice academic excellence. Our children deserve nothing less than a high-quality education, and our collective responsibility is to ensure they receive it.


Our reporting often comes from volunteers and whistleblowers. If you have information you'd like to share with us or the community, please know we always honor requests for anonymity: [email protected]