Teachers Want Limited Achievement Factor

Today’s news (welcome back and thanks for all the great comments over the weekend, folks) is probably the release of a report showing how much teachers are worried about being evaluated based on student achievement and want achievement limited to 10 or 15 percent of their evaluation.  Then there’s that whole schools closing thing looming ahead.

Teachers express concern over evaluation Tribune: As Chicago Public Schools officials begin heated negotiations over teacher evaluations, a study that will be released by the district Monday shows teachers strongly oppose tying student achievement to their own performance.

Rewarding the best principals Tribune:  Back in August, Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard told us his plan to overhaul the school system started not only in the classroom, but down the hall in the principal’s office. That’s because principals matter immensely.

Why so much disrespect toward teachers? Tribune: One thing I’ve always marveled at is how much respect teachers command in most countries of the world outside the United States. Public school teachers in the developing world make very little money but are honored members of society.

Translating the parent-teacher conference WBEZ:  At a handful of schools in the Little Village neighborhood, some college students and future teachers are helping out.

Class brings humanities to high school Catalyst: Harlan is the first high school in the city to offer the course, which covers topics such as philosophy, literature, art criticism, writing and history.

Lake Forest parents, officials wrestle with explaining principal’s departure Chicago Sun-Times: Chris Munns, a mother of two students and a principal in the Chicago Public Schools system, expressed outrage at that her children have to deal with the situation.

Pastor says Maggie Daley a life force; public memorial Sunday Sun Times:  Maggie Daley’s long-time pastor, Father Jack Wall, said her funeral Monday will be as positive and upbeat as her life was.

December’s ‘Schools on the Line’: You set the agenda! WBEZ:  Call the studio line (312-923-9239) from 6:45-8:00p.m. on Thursday, December 1 to talk with Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard live on-air.

Warren: Surveillance City CNC James Warren:  Add several thousand more cameras planned near schools and parks — meant to catch speeders endangering children — and you’ve got a hefty increase in what was already the most “extensive and integrated” surveillance system in the United States, according to Michael Chertoff, the former homeland security secretary.

Past salary info no longer on IL transparency website Illinois Statehouse News: Illinois has a limit to how much information it is willing to share with the public on its transparency website.

Chicago lawmaker to speak at annual dinner Danville Commercial News: He is a former history teacher and basketball coach for Chicago Public Schools. As a licensed Illinois real estate broker, he is a member of the Chicago and National Association of Realtors, board member of the Austin YMCA, board member of Circle .


The Lack of a Restorative Justice System Causes Kaos Chatham Concerned:  The high school is a “safe school” defined by Chicago Public Schools. The alternative high school moved from one of the Chicago Archdioces catholic schools at Holy Angels Catholic Church in the Bronzeville community under “mysterious” circumstances.

Applying to High School – info session CPS Obsessed: A new company has started recently in Chicago called Chicago School GPS.  Their goal is to help parents navigate the admissions process.

And this is why I lock My Classroom Door………. Riding The Short Bus: So it’s fifth hour and my bladder has hit its max and there is no way in hell I am going to make it through two more hours without going to the bathroom.

Resistance building to Rahm’s school closings Mike Klonsky: The plan — which in effect is a school privatization plan — calls for the closing of neighborhood schools and replacing many of them with privately-managed, non-union, charter schools.

Putting out a call for a helping hand Sun Times (Mark Brown):  About three weeks from now, the students at Charles Hammond Elementary School near California and Cermak will gather in the auditorium for the annual holiday assembly where each class takes a turn performing some seasonal-related skit, song or dance.

Illinois Public Pension Reform WTTW: Illinois’ pension obligations are unexpectedly rising a billion dollars next fiscal year. Carol Marin and her panel of lawmakers look ahead to the possible agenda of next week’s Springfield legislative session.



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  • Teacher performance: At least the linked article says on what the teachers are rated now. However, I thought that the purpose of having a teacher was to "larn dem students something." The article sounds something like what the job description of a Pace Bus Operator is, which does not include "drive a bus." Of course, I have also worked at private companies on the team system where peer reviews stressed teamwork and meeting the team's mission statement, but team members didn't know if the person being reviewed actually knew his or her assigned solitary work.

    Why so much disrespect? That's easy to answer. The thrust of the communication from teachers on an organized basis has nothing to do with the job indicated by my first quotation, but, besides watering down the review to weed out the incompetents, is only "me" stuff, like the coordinated campaign of "we made out pension contributions, so pay us." I mentioned before the PR disaster Lewis is, but if the organized teachers said anything about what they were doing to improve the classroom, instead of this or the constant (and ineffective) drumbeat against charter schools, maybe they wouldn't be dissed.

  • Teachers win support for innovative, experience-based learning projects from Oppenheimer Family Foundation:
    Grants to impact 20,000 students in Chicago Public Schools

    What: Oppenheimer Family Foundation to award grants to Chicago Public School teachers
    Who: Ted Oppenheimer, President Oppenheimer Family Foundation; Dr. Noemi Donoso, Chief Education Officer, Chicago Public Schools; 300 Chicago teachers and principals
    When: Thursday, December 1, 2009, 6:00 PM, Awards Ceremony
    Where: Prosser High School auditorium, 2148 North Long Avenue, Chicago

    Competing in a galactic tournament in math class, publishing the school’s first-ever literary magazine, organizing a nonprofit farmer’s market for their neighborhood—these are educational experiences that students will remember for a lifetime. It is exactly this type of hands-on learning and innovative, outside the box teaching that the Oppenheimer Family Foundation will celebrate and support with grants at the 36th annual Teacher Incentive Grant awards program on December 1.

    Dr. Noemi Donoso, chief education officer of Chicago Public Schools, will join Susan and Ted Oppenheimer for the presentation of more than $140,000 in grants to 256 primary and secondary Chicago Public Schools teachers. The grants, which will help fund 116 interdisciplinary projects across the district, are expected to touch the lives of 20,000 CPS students.

    This year the Foundation will also present Mitchell Elementary School principal Luis Soria with the prestigious OPPY Award for Excellence in Teaching for his active pursuit of hands-on learning and ongoing mentorship and professional development of Michell’s teachers. Known as a “teacher’s teacher,” Soria overcame numerous personal hardships to earn his teaching certificate and to later become the first Latino in Chicago to achieve National Board Certification.

    “The mission of the TIG and OPPY awards is to recognize those exceptional teachers that use interdisciplinary, hands-on projects to teach in a truly transformative way,” said Ted Oppenheimer, president of the Oppenheimer Family Foundation. “Our grants, which can be as large as $2,000, ensure that teachers have the funding they need to develop powerful, exciting project-based lessons.”

    The Oppenheimer Family Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization founded in 1933 to support the work of Chicago non-profit groups in the areas of education, the environment and crime prevention. This is the thirty-sixth year for the Oppenheimer Foundation’s Teacher Incentive Grants program. To date, the organization has awarded more than $3.2 million in grants. For a full list of this year’s winners please visit: www.offtig.org/winners.

  • I noticed in the Loran Marketing Group's report that was the subject of the Tribune article on CPS teachers attitudes that it made several rather strange references to value added modeling solving complex issues relating to using student test data to evaluate teachers. Here are several such references:
    "Those who work in schools with low incomes, transient populations and lack of parental support are very sensitive about the prospect of being compared to areas known for wealthier incomes, where kids have stronger support systems... The Value-Added Model (VAM) helps address these concerns in theory, but the complexity of the model leaves most wondering if it will actually work in practice."

    "The Value-Added Model also helps mitigate concerns slightly though its complexity is a problem. (Teachers)Don’t fully understand how it would work. When they learn it could account for student attendance, this is seen a very positive aspect of the model. When they are told it also accounts for other factors (e.g., income) this seems positive, but teachers are still skeptical. Need concrete examples – would need to see it “working” before they can truly believe it would."

    I am amazed that the Loran Marketing group believes that value added modeling of test score data can effectively even the playing field for teachers in Chicago when test score data is used as part of an evaluation system for teachers. On September 28, 2011 the CPS Board approved a major contract with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) to "compute a set of value-added measures for CPS based on student assessment data." This can be found in CPS Board report 11-0928-PR11. There is nothing in this report that indicates WCER will be contracted to create value added reports that holds neutral student growth based on social-economic status, special education status, ELL status, or other factors. So teacher skepticism is warranted.

    Moreover, if WCER was to try to hold neutral special education status I would want to see exactly how that was being done since the vast majority of students with disabilities in CPS are tested at their age appropriate level and not their starting academic level. Hence most will show little or very limited growth on a test like the ISAT. These are very complex issues which Access Living examined in detail in our white paper issued last month that was reviewed by both Catalyst and Substance (see http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/notebook/2011/10/19/advocate-new-teacher-evaluation-overlooks-special-ed-students)

    My co-author from the Adler School of Professional Psychology and I were not opposed to using test data to help evaluate special education teachers and regular education teachers who instruct students with disabilities, but we were like the teachers in the Loran report very skeptical about the process. Subsequent to the release of our paper ISBE issued proposed administrative rules and these can be seen at http://www.isbe.net/rules/proposed/default.htm

    Access Living has formally opposed one of the specific rules because we believe ISBE is asking local school districts to do what it cannot do, which is to "consider how certain student characteristics (e.g., special education placement, English language learners, low-income populations) shall be used for each metric chosen to ensure that they best measure the impact that a teacher, school and school district have on students’ academic achievement." Effectively since there are over 800 school districts in Illinois we could have school districts all over the map on this complex issue.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    it does not surprise me in the least that there is nothing in the report that "indicates WCER will be contracted to create value added reports that holds neutral student growth based on social-economic status, special education status, ELL status, or other factors". Pop in one variable, make a teacher and school look good; pluck out another, make them look bad. CPS will manipulate any one or more of the outrageous 80 or more variables and arrive at whatever conclusion they wish.

  • Teacher effectiveness has a significant affect upon student performance. This paper explores ways in which to help teachers become more effective.
    Bleacher Seats

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