AM News: Reactions To Ratings-Based Layoff Proposal


Huberman moves to lay off 'unsatisfactory' teachers first Catalyst:  Under
the new layoff plan, teachers who are under remediation, and those with
job performance ratings of "unsatisfactory," would be first to go.
After that, layoffs would happen according to the seniority rules laid
out in the teachers' contract... Union blasts Chicago Public Schools' tenure attack Sun Times:  Chicago
Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman said the new policy, approved by a
unanimous vote Wednesday, affects about 200 teachers, both tenured and
untenured, rated "unsatisfactory'' by their principals. CPS chief wants to lay off worst teachers first Tribune:  While
the board may have discretion under the state law, they have already
exercised their choice by agreeing to a teacher contract, said Terry
Smith, a law professor at DePaul University.

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  • budget cut news from the state, according to the tribune (via catalyst),0,1385588.story

  • I agree. The CTU better get on board with this one. There are teachers with poor ratings both young and old. Get rid of them first. It doesn't look right when the lousy teachers keep their jobs and the good ones don't.

  • The incentive for a principal to rate teachers unsatisfactory is job security. CPS said they want more unsatisfactory ratings. Principals obliged. CPS said they wanted fewer suspensions. Principals obliged. CPS said they wanted more meaningless prep for high stakes exams. Principals obliged. CPS said they wanted mandated, scripted curricula. Principals obliged. Etc., etc., etc. Principals who don't toe the CPS line are pushed right out the door.

    I don't think anyone believes the current evaluation process is helpful, meaningful, accurate or functional. (All the more reason to not use it in determining layoffs.) But Troll, the E-3 process hardly qualifies as crazy. The procedures are *incredibly* simple. As long as the proper process is followed the teacher is dismissed. (Have you read the contract? Gone through the process yourself? I have.) I'd wager it is the easiest dismissal of a tenured teacher in the state. In any case, even though a principal can easily go the E-3 route, a smart principal knows how to eliminate poor teachers without using the E-3 process.

  • to Hmmm and Troll,

    Wah. I'm a principal. My job is hard. Wah.

    Gimme a break. Do your job. Bad teachers at a school are there because of exactly one person - the principal. it is your responsibility. Deal with it. Don't blame teachers for the failures of administration and management.

  • In my opinion some teachers and others posting about Mr. Huberman's proposal, to void seniority lay off rules and lay off even tenured teachers who are rated as unsatisfactory before dropping newer, higher-rated teachers, have lost sight of what Mr. Huberman is doing. The seniority lay off rules were agreed to by the CPS Board and the CTU, and the rules clearly were written for the unfortunate situation where teachers might be laid off.

    Mr. Huberman last year could have opened up this issue for discussion and bargained for this change in the order of layoffs to allow for the exception he is now seeking by simply ordering it to be so. The membership of the CTU could have voted on this change and whatever CPS was willing to bargain as part of the trade for this change. I do not know what that vote would have resulted in, but I do know the CPS never really asked for this revision to the contract last year.

    Having worked with the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (ACTS Chicago) on special education issues I do know that the major reason many charter school teachers are unionizing are related to what they believe to be very unfair and subjective evaluation processes that are linked with summary dismissals without due process. So my guess would be that the majority of CTU members would want a very comprehensive examination of the evaluation process before agreeing to any variation of Mr. Huberman's proposal.

    I would also say simply I am shocked at the apparent naivety of some posters who in classic teacher's lunch room gossip fashion go after other teachers for their supposed corruption or incompetence. As Jesus most appropriately was reported to have said "let he who is without sin, cast the first stone."

    Having personally monitored many CPS schools in detail while I was Court appointed special education monitor, I can say without equivocation I documented a few special education teachers who avoided co-taught classes frequently and who were not at IEP meeting during those times. In one case I documented the complete incompetence of a school social worker who was not even correctly documenting students attendance records in numerous written evaluations over two school years.

    Sadly, in all of these cases these staff were defended by principals, because to not do so would have been effectively an admission of their own administrative incompetence. I was challenged by a CPS attorney and accused of exceeding my authority for even documenting these things. Moreover, while a monitor I had to deal with several situations where principals and special education staff had disagreements over the requirements of State and Federal law in relation to students with IEPs in the school. In two cases principals lowered the evaluations of special education teachers apparently for appealing for the intervention of the Court appointed monitor.

    In the vast majority of CPS schools I personally monitored I did not see incidents such as I have described. But, given that the teacher rating system has been misused in the past and I have witnessed this and documented it, I can well understand why President elect Lewis said: "People are being evaluated based on personality issues, based on things that have nothing to do with what's going on in a classroom."

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Principals need to do a better job at weeding out poor teachers before granting tenure. I do believe that ratings need to be objective and not punitive in nature.

    I am also wondering if special education teachers receive more satisfactory or unsatisfactory ratings than general education teachers simply because of advocacy. It is much easier to control a teacher with a satisfactory rating than one with a superior rating.

    I have experienced first hand and also have heard horror stories of what happens to special education teachers who advocate for their students.

    We, in special education, are continually being told by OSS personnel to look the other way at many violations. We are constantly being given these unwritten mandates that defy what we learned in our special education law classes. The latest one was that an IEP could be finished 4-10 days AFTER the meeting. When OSS addressed this after it was reported here on this blog it was passed off as a minor miscommunication. No, OSS got caught-again.

    I am aslo wondering how many teachers in special education are certified and how many are non-tenured. These two groups are unable to advocate for their students because they can, and will, be clicked off.

    Now our caseloads/workloads make it impossible to carry out the dictates of the Corey H. decision yet CPS/OSS is expending a lot of energy trying to get released from the auspices of the court monitor. I am hoping that the new head of OSS will correct some of these blatant abuses especially in the so called inclusion programs which are inclusive in name only.

  • What does that mean "the union reps protected her"? Did they ensure that the proper procedures were followed? The content of the evaluations can NOT be grieved. There is nothing the Union can do to protect a teacher from an unsatisfactory rating. The Union can ONLY ensure that the proper, mutually agreed upon process was followed.

  • None of the things you mention, which I agree are distasteful, disrupt the outcome of the E-3 process. The principal controls the outcome. As long as the clearly defined procedures are followed the teacher may be dismissed if the principal completes the process with an unsatisfactory rating. The content of that evaluation is not subject to a grievance. Follow the rules and it's a done deal. If the Union violates the process, which is what you seem to imply, the school district may grieve that violation to remove the teacher.

    Troll, I appreciate your thoughtful responses here. Are you telling me that it just can't be done? I don't believe that. I've seen 7 teachers in my own building removed for unsatisfactory performance and another 5 dealth with outside of the E-3 process. Surely my principal does not possess magical abilities.

  • Tenure

    Any principal can get rid of any teacher any time they want. I have commented
    On this last year but it might be worth re-hashing.
    Principals have numerous ways to fire a teacher. Some legal, some sneaky
    and some downright dirty.
    The legal E3 way has not been popular for a while now because since 95
    The principal picks the staff .It means an admission that a mistake was made by
    some principal in the first place. Veteran teachers with over 15 years in the same school
    know how to fight back and are hard targets for the E3 process because they understand
    how to make principals dot the eyes and cross the tees.
    Here are some examples I have run across in my 41 years of service of how
    Principals have gone the sneaky or dirty route to get rid of a teacher they do not want.

    Change the class from say trade electric to electronics. This would force the trade teacher
    to get a college degree in say 3 months, or be unqualified to teach the class.
    Take consumer education and put it into the business department thus leaving the
    targeted social history teacher with no program.
    Put every bum in the school into the classes of a teacher and let nature take
    its course. That is just a few of the games they play.

    I have to wonder why no one on this blog has mentioned the rotten teachers who
    are untouchable. I am talking about the clout heavy individuals who infest

  • Dear Anonymous

    You are right the electrical story was a while ago and is not a play on words.
    It reflected something which did occur. The consumer ed story also happened
    but was very sad. The teacher was a beautiful dancer who raised such
    an amount of jealousy in some of the other teachers the principal pulled the switch
    in departments to get rid of her.
    The trade electrical teacher was given the treatment for years prior to the day
    That sent him on his way. Every true bum was programmed into his shop every year.
    The drafting teacher next door had 7, no typo, students in his four period class.
    Not only that but all were handpicked. It didn

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