Chicago Strike Puts Spotlight on Teacher-Evaluation Reform
While wages and benefits played an important role in the dispute between the Chicago Teachers Union and the city’s school district that led this week to a teachers’ strike, the most divisive issue was teacher evaluation. In that respect, the flare-up in Chicago reflects broader tensions about changes to evaluation policies being rolled out across the country.
Illinois’ Performance Evaluation Reform Act , passed by the Democratic-controlled legislature in January 2010, required districts to make student-achievement data a “significant factor” in teacher evaluations. The driving force behind the law was the federal Race to the Top grant competition, which gave states incentives to incorporate student performance into their accountability systems.
Consequently, the 403,000-student Chicago school district developed a new evaluation system
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