TeacherFit Makes The News*

*UPDATE:  As of 7:00 pm see in comments that Brizard has told principals to make TeacherFit discretionary.

The Tribune, Sun Times, and Catalyst all weigh in with catch-up coverage of the TeacherFit mini-scandal -- filling in some new information about where the program comes from, why it's being used, what it cost, etc:

Critics: CPS test for teacher applicants leads to ‘blacklisting’: A new questionnaire that probes the “soft skills” needed to be a teacher has resulted in what critics call the “blacklisting’’ of hundreds of potential Chicago Public School teachers — including some who already had job offers, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Teacher screening test faces rocky roll-out: New teacher Jennifer Kraakevik graduated from Illinois State University in May with endorsements that ought to make her a hot commodity in the teaching market--in bilingual education, language arts, Spanish, and middle-grades education.

CPS' new survey for potential teachers creates stir:  An online survey that weeds out applicants for Chicago Public Schools teaching positions before principals can even see their resumes has come under fire from applicants and union officials as being subjective, inaccurate and unfair.

What if anything new did you learn, and who covered it best?

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  • TeacherFit means teacher screwed! Guess what, new teachers for Teach for America and the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) didn't have to pass the test! So what does that tell you?

  • I work for an AUSL school and I know for a fact that new teachers did have to pass TeacherFit in order to be hired. I'm not sure where you get your information, but it's wrong.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Dear Anonymous, not!

  • Of the 3,900 CPS teacher applicants who have taken TeacherFit since June, 30% have scored low enough to be excluded from hiring. CPS will not tell applicants who have been excluded from being hired how low their scores were.and these teachers cannot take the survey (test) again for 18 months. The Chicago Public Education Fund spent $130,000 to develope TeacherFit for CPS. Which counts as one of their board member, Bruce Rauner, a wealthy venture capitalist and close ally of Mayor Rahm Emanual and former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Bruce Rauner was a driving force behind the sweeping school reform bill (SB 7), that Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law last month. Penny Pritzker, a member of the billionaire Pritzker family, stepped down as the Chicago Public Education Fund chairman after Mayor Rahm Emanual named Penny Pritzer to the Chicago School Board. CPS paid Skokie-based General ASP $50,000 to launch the survey two weeks ago. Deans of 22 Chicago area colleges of education are requesting a meeting with CPS officials over the use of TeacherFit as a tool that completely knocks teacher candidates out of the CPS teacher applicant pool. The Chicago Teachers Union is asking CPS to dump the test (survey) completely. The Chicago Principals and Administrators Association says no teacher should be "blacklisted" from teaching in CPS because of this test (survey).

  • guess what? brizard is making teacherfit discretionary -- if i read this email to principals correctly:

    "Dear Principals,

    "As a former Principal, I know the importance of hiring the best instructional talent and believe that Principal autonomy is critical in making these decisions. Teaching that engages our students and enables them to achieve their full potential is a complex skill that requires multiple proven-methods to evaluate effectively.

    "Effective tomorrow morning (Friday, July 22nd), all TeacherFit results will be provided to you to utilize at your discretion. While our goal is to continue to provide you with access to valuable and well-researched tools, you will have the maximum discretion in their utility and will have the option to move forward with any hiring decisions that may have been impacted by this program.

    "We all share the same goals of hiring the highest quality talent and will continue to entrust to you the decision-making regarding using multiple methods to achieve your goals. Past performance is the best predictor of future performance and the closer that you can simulate the actual work environment, the better.

    "We value your voice and hope that these actions are responsive to your feedback. I want to ensure we provide you with the support to have the most successful start of school in CPS’ history.

    "Jean-Claude Brizard
    Chief Executive Officer
    Chicago Public Schools"

    what do you think? is it retroactive?

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    I don't mean to be greedy, but this isn't enough. For many teachers who interviewed, the damage is done. When over 1000 teachers fail a test, it's a problematic test. It should be thrown out completely. Principals are still going to see red and pass right over a possible "dream candidate." I guarantee...GUARANTEE a class action will be filed for damages.

  • In reply to Disillusioned:

    Student teachers should learn real fast that Chicago Public Schools does not care for teachers. Is that surprising? You should have got that from doing your student teaching in our schools. While your schools of education will expose you to on how to teach and how to organize a school to build professional capacity, understand this, the mayors and their top administrators have one agenda, the privatization of schools.

    Brizard is a Broady, who is bought and paid for. They are about privatization. That is the ONLY agenda! Brizard and Rahm are about
    no evidence education policy. That means that research and evidence does not matter! That is the dirty little secret that the Sun Times and Tribune will not report.

    Look for a job where teachers are respected. CPS is Property Codemned!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Alexander Russo:

    I'm not sure, but it's mighty odd that I got an email tonight around 8 pm from Office of School Improvement saying I qualify for a group interview for their Turnaround Schools.

  • The Catalyst article indicates that TeacherFit is widely used. Most telling is how differently CPS uses TeacherFit compared to other school districts.

    Other school districts use this type of test as a guideline to help principals make the best possible choice about a potential employee. CPS uses the test to restrict principal decision making.

    Other school districts use this type of test to "narrow the field down a little bit." These districts appear to utilize rankings based on a curve; most test takers fall in the middle with only a few tending towards one extreme or the other. CPS uses this test as a blunt instrument to eliminate large swaths of applicants. The CPS test results in candidate outcomes split equally into thirds - 1/3 good, 1/3 maybe, 1/3 bad.

    Other districts do not use the test to functionally prohibit potential candidates from employment. CPS does.

    Other districts allow principals to decide how much weight to give the test in relation to other interactions with that employee - resume, student teaching, first hand knowledge, recommendations, interview, etc. CPS uses the test to render other interactions with and information from that employee moot.

    Other districts use the test to inform and customize the interview process. CPS uses the test to undermine the interview process.

    Other districts appear to use this type of test for all applicants. CPS excludes its favored candidates; TFA and AUSL graduates do not take the test. Why? Because "those candidates were admitted to their programs long before the district implemented the screening." That is an embarrasing rationale. All other candidates also entered their teacher training programs - either post-secondary or graduate level - long before the district implemented the screening.

    Other school districts use this type of test to gain a better overall understanding of an applicant. CPS uses the test to arbitrarily punish applicants.

    On a positive note, at least CPS is developing an online applicant process that gives principals not only equal access to potential employees but also the ability to search based on certification and other criteria. The Chicago Public Schools has finally moved into the latter third of the 20th century. How exciting.

  • IMPLEMENTATION! Chicago Public Schools top administrators have history and a real problem on implementation ( include. CPS usually know how to *uck up any initiative or corrupt even a good tools or policies. The nut of the problem is that the mayor and top administrators do not trust teachers! The mayors (plural) and their stooges stance condemns them to continue to keep the dysfunctional way that is CPS!

    Until Chicago Public Schools CEO and his team TRUST teachers, we will see the same dysfunctional machinations!

  • Did anyone catch the FOX news report about a Chicago middle school dumping unused supplies and textbooks- all caught on tape, oooops:

    http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/investigative/northwest-middle-school-dumps-thousands-unused-school-supplies-20110721

  • Ms.Winckler,
    Please myob. Yes, you wish to run Human Capital like a Metropolis factory, but please leave teacher selection to the professionals-the principals. You know, the ones who have advanced education degrees, the ones who are on your exclusive list, the ones who have worked in schools, and the ones who are ultimately responsible for their schools.

  • Get real! CPS does not trust principals as the they don't teachers. That is part of their dysfunctional way of running CPS!.

  • Yep, that's it CPS, create another artificial teacher shortage. Its good for us vets.

  • click here for the sun times and tribune stories about the reversal:

    http://www.chicagonow.com/district-299-chicago-public-schools-blog/2011/07/brizards-teacherfit-reversal/

    does the switch indicate welcome flexibility, or worrisome course-changing?

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