"Red Zone" Hiring Woes

At least some folks who want to work in CPS are finding that "red zone" results on their TeacherFit exams are still posing a problem -- even though the program was rolled back into a merely discretionary indicator for principals to consider.  Check out the tale of woe told below by a social worker who was told (in error) take the test and has since struggled to get hired because of her red zone results.  How's it working out at your school, or in your job search?  Am also seeking comment or clarification from CPS.

EMAIL:

I really need some help and am not sure where to turn because Human Capital at CPS is not really addressing my concerns. I am a social worker (LCSW) applying for a school social work position with CPS. I did my internship at CPS in 2002. I am not a teacher, and never went to school to be a teacher. I had to take the Teacherfit survey and could not understand why licensed/certified non-teachers had to take it. When the new application rolled over June 1st with the Teacherfit survey I called Human Capital and asked them whether I needed to fill out the "teacher" or "non-teacher" application. I was told to complete the "teacher" application because licensed/certified jobs fell under the teacher category. I was told that Teacherfit would need to be submitted w the application otherwise it would not be complete. Then I got the mass email that I couldnt apply for jobs b/c of my Teacherfit survey responses. The following day I called and the woman in Human Capital said to ignore the email but to send a reply message stating that I am a social worker, b/c Human Capital hadn't worked out the kinks in the system yet to recognize teachers from other professionals (in so many words).I sent Human Capital an email that I was not a teacher and never rec'd a response. Then I got the 2nd mass email a couple weeks ago that principals would be able to hire and that I could still apply for jobs. I sent another email stating I was a social worker and never got a response after requesting one.

Today, I called and was told a whole different story, that because I completed the Teacherfit survey it was on my application and had scored in the Red zone. Principals can still see my Red score, even though it notes "highly recommended" for my essay questions. I spoke with AJ in Human Capital who told me that I should send another email with his name on it so that he could forward it to the head of Human Capital stating my concerns.This is a huge concern. Of the several thousand applicants who scored red or yellow may not have been just teachers. It includes, speech pathologists, psychologists, counselors, occupational therapists, etc. Would it be fair for a teacher to take a "social workerfit" or "psychologistfit" survey? No way!

The questions on the Teacherfit mainly applied to teachers. It had classroom type questions on it. I am not trained to teach a classroom of 30 kids. There was a question that asked what to do in a classroom situation and I answered as a social worker would respond. That would be completely different from that of a teacher. How is it fair for CPS to post my score on my application? Principals have access to this and I have not gotten a single call on my application. I am trained in communication and teamwork-I have no idea where I went wrong on this survey, but something is very flawed if someone trained in communication cannot pass it.I just sent AJ the email with my concerns and asked to send it to the head of Human Capital, but I am not expecting an immediate response. For a couple of weeks, during the time I was under the impression the survey didn't apply to me, I had a big "do not hire" on my application.

I do not know if anyone tried to access my application during that time, but if they did I was possibly out a job interview.I am not sure what to do, but think this is really serious that Teacherfit is being used to evaluate certified non-teachers and that our scores are being posted.The survey is completely ridiculous and will not be able to evaluate my competencies as a social worker.

END

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  • initial response from CPS:

    "All teachers remain in the pool of candidates that principals can choose from – so regardless of whether or not a teacher received a “red” principals will still be able to hire them if they should choose to do so."

    i am still seeking clarification about social workers and looking for the letter or email that was sent from JCB to principals informing that they can hire red zone candidates.

  • here's the email JCB sent to principals in july telling them about the teacherfit changes -- still working on the social worker question:

    From: Jean Claude Brizard
    Sent: Thursday, July 21, 2011 5:51 PM
    To: ALL ELEM PRINCIPAL; ALL ELEM ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL; ALL HIGH PRINCIPAL; ALL HIGH ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL;
    Subject: Update on TeacherFit

    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

  • The social worker that e-mailed you doesn't quite understand that TeacherFit describes the attitudes and personality traits that CPS finds desirable in its employees that work in a human services field. TF is not meant to evaluate particular skills or content knowledge that might be necessary to teachers.

    Thus I think your SW's argument is rather weak.

    Whether the instrument is valid and/or reliable is another story.

  • I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with Danaidh. The TF survey has specific questions on it that are directed toward teachers. One question asks something like, "if you are assigned disruptive students to your classroom" etc, and then asks what you would most likely do. Social workers run groups with the most disruptive students, whereas in a regular classroom it would be different. If a speech pathologist gets a disruptive student or a few they would handle it differently. Some of the questions were targeting personality traits and those were the obvious ones. The question that asks, "would you prefer a job that requires you to stay after work?" CPS wants a hard worker. Thats pretty obvious.
    But scenario type questions directed at teachers does not apply to nurses, speech pathologists and other people who do not teach in classrooms. Therefore, this is an invalid survey for everyone except teachers. If they want to target everyone they would do a "Jobfit" survey which is used with some employers. This is not a "Jobfit" survey, it is a"Teacherfit" survey, hence the name. If they want to make it fair, then do not call it Teacherfit and do not have questions that ask about being in the classroom.

  • this isn't about teacherfit but it's sort of related --
    a laid off CPS teacher can't get unemployment, according to CBS2 --
    he can't even get a termination letter from the board

    http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/08/05/lawsuit-laid-off-cps-teacher-cant-get-his-unemployment-benefits/

  • Time to let Winckler go--she does not know what she is doing.

  • I've been applying to jobs all summer. Not a single call back. I wish I knew what effect, if any, this red score is having. I'm tempted to just straight out ask a principal whether the red mark influenced his/her decision. Does anyone know if the CTU or any individuals are taking legal action against CPS?

  • Really a great set of questions! What has been the effect of this Red Zone on people trying to get jobs in CPS? In my own case, I've had some interviews, but nowhere near near the number I should have had considering my credentials. No job. I been very successful as a teacher with the references to prove it, but this TeacherFit failing score may or may not be a problem. I just don't know if it is keeping principals from hiring me, or even looking at me, and there is probably no way to prove it. I do know that I did have a job offer on the table (offered on the spot at the 1st interview) that suddenly went away the day the TeacherFit email went out on July 14th. Does anyone have any ideas, any updated info, anything....?

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