New Report Praises Teacher Transfers, Slams Teacher Evaluation

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.

Its main findings, according to the 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."

Check it all out here:
Download tntp_analysis_chicago.pdf
Download tntp_exec_summ_chicago.pdf

It looks like good new information, but what can be done with it now I don't know.  Maybe it's not too late to throw into the hopper.


grades inflated

Evaluations Lack Bite


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  • July 30, 2007, 12:06

    Wouldn't it be a good check to test the child at the beginning of the year and then test him at the end of the year and whatever the difference is would be the teacher's contribution? This would eliminate the problem where the child comes in years behind grade level (does this happen anymore with all the retention?) granted, it would assume that all growth is the fault of the teacher, which if the child is also receiving supplemental tutoring would not be accurate, but still, it would be a concrete measure.

  • I was glad that Alexander Russo posted the link to the full report, because there is information in the report itself that is important for special education advocacy in Chicago in light of last years special education budget cuts.

    Page 13 of the report discusses a survey of CPS principals conducted by TNTP. By an enormous margin principals indicated there was a significant lack of applicants for special education positions. At page 65 the report discusses CPS apparently needing 680 special education teachers, which if that number reflects the current need will be simply impossible to come near filling.

    Why should a highly qualified special teacher apply to CPS when the district just last year cut hundreds of special education positions? All avaiable data indicates that younger special edcuation teachers who were cut often looked for positions outside of Chicago.

    Based just on these figures TNTP

  • As an administrator in a school, I can easily say that I would not want performance evaluations to be based on on test results, any tests, whether E.D. Hirsch-type or high stakes standardized.

    There are too many factors that go into what makes a teacher a great teacher. I would hate to lower someone's rating because many of her studnets were truant. Because a third of his class just transitioned from bilingual education, because she or he was/was not in a magnet school/program.

    It is certainly true that the instrument we have now is horrible. The checklist is stupid, not stoopid.

    If, as all these studies say, success beyond high school is predicated more by GPA than standardized tests, should we evaluate teachers based on the number of A's they give out? Hey, that would start a riot, huh?

    Judges have had their authority taken away in many places because of "three-strikes" laws...not healthy. Why take the role of the principal to evaluate away? If a principal was chosen to lead a school (by an LSC or the CBOE), that is her responsibility.

    There are certainly crappy principals who abuse their authority (I was in my eighth year of teaching at my third school before my first observation--formal or informal), but there are some who take this part of the job very serioulsy, who see it as key.

    To have someone evaluated based on scores further works to make the principal a manager instead of a leader.

    And to further clarify another point: PAT's can be "clicked" or removed within the first four years of a teacher's tenure in CPS; a TAT (Tenuously, terrified, temporarily assigned teacher) can be "bumped" by a PAT or Tenured teacher, if the principal chooses to do so, or positions are cut necessitating a more senior teacher IN THAT SCHOOL to move him/her out. Tenured teachers (past year 4) cannot be "bumped" unless positions are cut IN THAT SCHOOL, where the most senior stay.

  • Charlie,

    I was not saying that merit pay should be put in the hands of principals, either. Since there is no perfect way to pay people without politics, I would rather stay with the system we have. I just don't want the power to evaluate teachers and staff taken from administrators in a school. I think that should be the role of the principal.

    However, I agree with the 5:59 that peer review should be part of the process. I would give teachers the option to "opt-in" to that.

  • I would agree that a higher bonus should be given to those who succeed with challenging students and that if a student is not in school for more than a month, his scores should be tossed for teacher eval purposes, after all, a teacher can't teach a student who isn't there.

    George, I don't think teacher bashing went into the Austin decision, I think that was all about security and the constant fights that were going on there. I think removing the violent elements would have been a better solution, but, at least in that case, it wasn't about the scores. And I do agree that nieghborhood requires a public general neighborhood high school for the students within the boundaries, but, unless they fix the security procedures, the gangs settle down, or some other change occurs, the moment they fill the school with the same students, they'll have the same security problems.

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