Stop Beating Up On SB7!

Here's another report on new state teacher evaluation initiatives that suggests IL's much-hyped SB 7 isn't as strong or likely to succeed as others passed in other states, if at all. Whether this is good news or bad depends on your point of view.  Called "Built To Succeed" (PDF), the report was funded by DFER and was written by a former WSJ education writer, among others. IL gets 19 points on the DFER scorecard, compared to 45 (Florida), 43 (Tennessee), and 40 (Colorado).  The rating is based on a combined look at SB 315 (2010) and SB 7 (2011), and the study favored states that had "clear consequences for teachers who don’t deliver in their classrooms."  Illinois is praised for requiring mandatory dismissal for poor teachers (it's permissible in other states).  However, the IL state law doesn't tie consequences like losing tenure to poor performance like Colorado does.  Most of all, the reform laws passed by IL and several other states all show "clear potential for weakening the evaluation process at the ground level" -- a complaint we've heard before and has so far gone unaddressed by its supporters (Voices, Stand For Children, etc.).


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  • Load of Bullocks! Tie evaluation of school district administrators, who call the shots to real world best practices as they are done in places like Finland and Singapore. Deformers are full bullocks with their no research based ideology ok.. in plain words BS! Come on Alex, you know that!

  • DFER are corporate tools who have no clue. Another "No Research" based astro turf group getting money from corporations. Alex, a slow night for news!

  • why are you guys so heated? the report says that SB7 isn't going to have as much effect as claimed, and the headline was a joke (i sort of *like* beating up on SB7, in case you hadn't noticed).

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    What a creepy picture! What point were you trying to make with that, Alexander?

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Deformers are creepy! They are!

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Ditto. I think it's the worst photo you've ever displayed on the site.

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    But it is amazing photographic art!

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    I think people are heated because they are so sick of being steadily attacked by media, political hacks, legislation and policy. And nobody has a conclusive definition of effective or ineffective teacher.

    Each new reform or bill bribes states for passing legislation that makes it easier to en mass fire teachers, primarily those of color, age, or income deemed to exceed district budgets. They weaken job security, reduce incomes and exacerbate existing academic and economic inequities.

    The only proven results that these policy reforms have thus far guaranteed are shorter teacher shelf lives, destroyed teaching careers, the devaluing of a state awarded four year college degree, and an army of low wage, temporarily assigned substitute teachers.

  • a new report by another organization, NCTQ, on IL reform law as reported in the WSJ

  • I am writing this from Springfield and I am here for the veto session. I think the problem with looking at SB7 the way DFER is looking at it is that the bill has far greater impact on CPS than for the rest of the state.

    The Illinois Education Association helped write SB7 is such a way as to keep the impact low on districts outside of Chicago. The IEA has zero concern over CPS or for that matter the CTU. Even on pension reform the IEA could really not care about the Chicago pension fund, its primary concern is over the statewide fund.

    Last night the IEA hosted a meeting for legislators at its offices, for all their anti-union talk there were plenty of Republicans there. Republicans from downstate and even suburban Chicago do not want the IEA as an enemy hence while they make numerous anti-union statements they also maintain relationships with the IEA.

    The situation with CPS is completely different. It is seen as this great tax dollar sucking machine that the General Assembly feeds and produces drop outs. The best thing CPS is doing right now is not coming down here with their hand held out asking for money. But unfortunately CPS will eventually be targeted for funding cuts especially for special education by legislators from suburban areas that want more special eduction dollars for their districts. So there is lobbying work to be done here by CPS in relation to preserving existing funding, work that is not currently being done. Why?

    Because all the lobbyists representing the interests of Chicago are totally focused on getting a gambling bill passed and getting the pensions boards reorganized allowing the employers to have a majority on those boards.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod, who are the Chicago lobbyists that are working on getting the pension boards reorganized, so that Emperor Emanuel would pick his people to have a majority on these pension boards?

  • Well who is working for whom at any point in time down here is a good question.

    Currently CPS does not formally have what is called a registered exclusive lobbyist that I know of. My understanding is that CPS has used J. Alexander Hunt and Richard Guidice on numerous issues so I would assume pension reform might be one of those.

    CPS and the City of Chicago work together on this issue from what people who work on pension issues tell me, and I do not work on pension issues, only on special education and disability issues.

    The City of Chicago uses William Filan, and Billy Glunz. My understanding is Matt Hynes brother of Dan Hynes is also involved. Mr Filan is considered to be one of the top lobbyists in the state.

    But lets be fair, every union and pension fund has lobbyists working on this issue. So in no way is the City of Chicago and CPS simply out gunning teachers and other public sector workers on this issue.

    I would say this veto session has been very good for lobbyists with Com Ed, the race track industry, and pension funds all bringing people on board to work these issues. Com Ed has been particularly impressive in its lobbying efforts from what I have seen. There were lots of unions here today for a rally and the pension issue was being discussed all over the place I am leaving for Chicago shortly,

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod thanks!

  • good point, rod, and i'm also told by someone inside the process that there are some aspects of the law and its implementation that aren't reflected in the DFER report --

    -- that the proposed guidelines for student achievement in teacher evaluation will probably come in around 35 percent

    -- that the default law for student achievement (if no agreement can be reached) is 50 percent

    -- that pulling ineffective teachers' certification is as good or better as trying to take tenure away

    -- that there haven't been repeal efforts or recall attempts so far in IL as their have been in other states

    i'm going to reach out to other folks involved in the TEAC process and see if i can get more insight -- feel free to do the same.

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