Here Comes The New Teacher Eval System


Forget performance pay and all the other gimmicks out there.  No one can afford any of that stuff, anyway.  Instead, how about re-inventing the regular old teacher evaluation process into something more meaningful -- and rigorous.  That's the thinking behind the ETP program being piloted over the past two years and discussed in several news reports as being a better, fairer -- and tougher -- way to evaluate teachers (CPS Pilot Program Could Hold Answers to Overhauling
Teacher Evaluation
WBEZ, Chart:

Comparing existing and new teacher grading systems Tribune, Teacher evaluation program shows promising results Catalyst).  But what's it been like in real life for the teachers at the 44 schools in the pilot, going from the old checklist to the new system?  Is the new system all that different, in reality, than the old one?  What do you think about eight percent of teachers getting rated unsatisfactory, up from 0.4?  And -- perhaps most important -- is your school on the expanded draft pilot list for next year (

Pilot Schools.pdf


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  • I won't pile on, but I both agree and disagree with you.

    Much of your post is based on this premise: "It isn't teacher quality that is the determining factor in who teaches our kids, it's how long you've been in the system." But that premise, at least in Chicago's public schools, is false. Seniority does not keep teachers in the classroom regardless of teacher quality. It protects the profession and the career of teaching. (Without seniority CPS would staff every school with as many rookies as possible to cut costs.) Of course, quality matters. But the only thing that keeps poor teachers in the classroom is poor administrators. The contract between CPS and the CTU calls for a very simple procedure to dismiss tenured teachers. It is not difficult. It is not grievable. Poor teachers in the classroom represent a failure on the part of the teacher, a district's horrible professional development plan, and, ultimately, an incompetence of leadership. It is important for administration to be accountable for their hiring and retention of poor teachers every step of the way. And under the current system administrators and school and district leadership are not held accountable.

    We agree that children should come first and I love your comparison of the effects and strategies of Huberman's cost cutting at CTA versus cost cutting at CPS. Huberman, unfortunately, is doing the same thing to Chicago's schools as he did to the city's transit system. That's a lose-lose scenario to anyone that's paying any attention. The spending priorities of CPS are a massive failure.

    I'm not a huge fan of Danielson's framework as an evaluative tool for hiring and firing purposes, but I admit it is better than the joke of an evaluation system currently in place.

  • Hi Worried,

    I hope RetiredPrincipal, who comments on this blog with some frequency, will contribute his thoughts on dismissing tenured teachers for poor performance. I know that at my school the principal is a) extremely busy, b) a really, really nice guy, and c) can't possibly get around the entire building to evaluate everyone in a meaningful way. Effective evaluations are both time consuming and resource intensive.

    Still, he has removed teachers for poor performance. The two principals with which I am most familiar have used different methods in addition to the formal contractual obligations for dismissal. Principal A makes work-life a living hell for the teacher and the teacher resigns. Principal B informs the teacher that if he or she returns in the fall then the E-3 process will begin. (E-3 is the name of the form principals must use to for this process.) Principal A, at times, must pursue the E-3 procedures for particularly stubborn teachers. I have never, ever seen Principal B's method fail. Teachers have left the school, every time, knowing that the content and teacher rating are not grievable, only the process.

    Now, in the suburbs, tenure protections can be a different story and it can be extremely difficult to release a tenured teacher. But not in the city. Below is a summary of the process from Article 39.5 of the Contract. It is hardly an oppressive amount of work on behalf of the principal.

    1) The principal evaluates a teacher as Unsatisfactory. Remediation follows.
    2) A consulting teacher works with the tenured teacher to improve his or her practice.
    3) The tenured teacher is evaluated each month by the principal.
    4) The principal evaluates the tenured teacher as Unsatisfactory.
    5) The tenured teacher is dismissed for cause.

  • I totally agree with you! My only question is why can't a new teacher receive anything higher than a 2? That does not make sense? Were questions asked regarding this? It hardly seems fair that they want to punish good new teachers. Gosh, it truly seems like we cannot win. We are damned if we are old and damned if we are new. LOL By the way, will CPS roll out a template for the teachers to see how we will be evaluated? Wouldn't it make sense for us to see the rubric they will use? If you know, please let me know. Thanks!

  • Wondering

    Far from piling on worried ,but I was just wondering why so many NFG

  • In reply to rbusch:

    Sounds like a smart principal to me. (I'm being half-sarcastic.) Principals and schools are evaluated almost entirely on test scores. Even if the newbie screws up, the IB and AP students will do fine on the high stakes exams. But if that newbie is placed in a regular class, well, that's putting the principal, the school, and far more students at risk. Our lower level and middling students need the best teachers available.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I would agree with that. Students already bright enough to be in AP or IB won't be harmed as much by a poor teacher and won't be likely to have as many behavior problems that could affect a lack of classroom management ability.

    It probably makes it harder for the veterans but I'm guessing the kid gloves only lasts a couple of years.

  • Could you explain the terms PATs and the term CCSR for those of us who do not work in CPS?

  • In reply to PatrickBoylan:

    CCSR is the Chicago Consortium on School Research at the University of Chicago.

    PAT is Probationary Assigned Teacher - a non-tenured teacher, one with less than three full and complete years of uninterrupted service in CPS.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Thank you. I see you're going to add a dictionary of these terms. That's good.

    I have a story of sitting in an IEP meeting and these terms being thrown around. At that meeting I asked that each be explained. It is insider speak: sort of a Ebonics for educators. It is meant to keep you out of the conversation.

    I can't imagine how a parent who is challenged with English, or intimidated by "authority" could handle these meetings.

    Your dictionary (in a separate post) will be very welcome.

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