Teaching Profession Opinion

Report Praises Chicago Transfer Policy, Slams Evaluation

By Alexander Russo — July 30, 2007 1 min read
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Hoping to influence the legislature or the contract negotiations or both, there’s a new Joyce-funded report from The New Teacher Project out today on teacher ratings, hiring, and all the rest.

The big news? Chicago’s longstanding elimination of “bumping” is a notable exception to how other cities handle transfers, and just 12 percent of applicants are hired (up from 18 percent four years ago) -- but its evaluation system is a mess. See Tribune story here.

The report also calls for an evaluation and pay system that’s independent of the labor contract, which I don’t exactly know would fly.

Cross-posted from District299.com.Its main findings, according to the Chicago Tribune, include that there’s little connection between teacher ratings and school performance. No big surprise there, though the numbers can be startling. For example, few if any of the teachers in 87 Chicago public schools deemed failing were rated unsatisfactory. “Only three of every 1,000 teachers in the school system received an “unsatisfactory” rating, according to the study,” says the Tribune story (Report: No teeth in teacher ratings). "... between 2003 and 2006, only nine teachers received two or more “unsatisfactory” ratings and none was dismissed.”

More controversially, the report recommends new evaluation standards independent of collective bargaining, including tying pay raises to teacher ratings...regardless of what the contract says. I’m not sure how that would work, or if it’ll fly.

Good news includes the increasing selectivity of the CPS hiring process -- now just 12 percent of applicants get hired, down from 18 percent three years ago, and the “progressive” transfer process that requires teacher and principal consent. However, late hiring is still a problem, as is seniority-based reassignment (whatever that is???). “Top performers are actually reassigned (and lost to their schools) slightly more often than satisfactory performers, " according to the report. “Principals are frustrated with losing top performers to reassignment.”

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