"Irreplaceable" Teaching Fellows

This week's big report is TNTP's "Irreplaceables" paper, which is getting a lot of mainstream news coverage - and a lot of mixed reactions.

States the report:  "Each year, tens of thousands of ["irreplaceable" teachers"] are lost from urban districts due to factors that could be controlled and addressed, including a failure by principals to prioritize teacher retention, toxic school culture, and policies that explicitly undervalue the best teachers."No doubt, some of the reaction is just because the paper comes from TNTP, the TFA spinoff that was founded by Michelle Rhee, and is a major alt cert provider (through the Chicago Teaching Fellows).

Some of it's because the paper's findings and recommendations take a while to digest and not everyone agrees on what makes a teacher irreplaceable, anyway.

Alas, there are no Chicago-specific statistics to share -- the districts go unnamed.

I'm not even sure how many CTFs there are in Chicago, though I get the sense that they're as big or bigger than TFA.

The report doesn't say that CTFs are all irreplaceable, by the way.  That's just me getting your attention.



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  • i'm told the current CTF cohort is about 90 -- obviously there are a lot more irreplaceables out there than just those few.

  • I wonder how many people on this blog know of "irreplaceables" who left CPS voluntarily (or not) and what you can say about their stories. I can start. Of all the really great teachers with whom I have worked, I have only know them to leave for one of two reasons: an intense conflict with a principal (usually results in switching schools within CPS) or a sense that the school environment was dominated by violent or disruptive influences and there was no support for changing this. I have heard the second reason many more times than the first, and in my unscientific survey of my own memory, it seems to me that it points to the direct connection between low-expectations and longevity in many cases. If you really tried to create a great classroom within most CPS high schools, at least, you would have to overcome in the first place the problem of negatively oriented students. And in trying to overcome that problem you would need to seek support. And what you would meet with would be so demoralizing you might well want to go somewhere where you could feel more useful and professionally supported. As it is now--perhaps more than ever--the only tool that CPS provides for dealing with violent or seriously disruptive students is to parrot pollyanna propaganda from the No Child Left Behind talking points.

    I say this as someone who, like many committed CPS teachers, realizes that the real learning must take place before/after school, at lunch, and in personal relationships. And, of course, that is now being taken away by the ":longer school day".

  • It is common knowledge that we lose an ungodly number of teachers every year. I believe the rate is higher in special education yet no one at the hallowed halls of CO where supposedly the sharpest people are, have deigned to do an exit poll on those who leave.

  • Just curious, but how does one get to be one of the "chosen ones" who are invited to the invitation only job fairs like the one being held today? As an experienced teacher looking for work in CPS (my experience is almost all in private schools, so I'm not "expensive"), I am surprised that I wasn't "invited" to today's event. but I guess that is just CPS. Hire a bunch of beginners.

  • Chicago Teaching Fellows are invited one hour before CPS teachers to interview with principals for positions at CPS teacher fairs.

  • As a CTF Alum, speaking from my cohort, we never got any special treatment in comparison to other applicants. We did, however, have the program telling us some schools they never were hiring.

  • ...telling us some schools that were hiring**. My apologizes for autocorrect.

  • speaking of jobs and special treatment ....

    Chicago Teachers Union | Applying for jobs created by the Interim Agreement between CPS and CTU http://ow.ly/cFyU3

  • How many hours are teachers supposed to work on Monday?
    Are principals just doing whatever they want?

  • My principal has us working 7 hours and 45 minutes. Half the staff including the school delegate have left. What recourse do we have,if any? Where is the region in all of this? There seems to be a preponderance of rogue principals in CPS these days.

  • has left not have left-mea culpa

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