E-3... The Career Killer that no one will address

Chicago Public School teachers ignore the E3 at their peril. Once a teacher is served with an E3 Notice of Unsatisfactory Performance, her career is over. One would assume that a guaranteed career killer like the E3 could be instantly and perfectly explained by every teacher in the Chicago Public School system. Not only is this not the case, but a majority of teachers have never even heard of an E3. This oblivion can prove catastrophic since the special evil of the E3 is that not only is the teacher fired, but her entire career is labeled as unsatisfactory.

During the years Arne Duncan was Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools, he encouraged a dictatorial version of the role of school principals, just as he encouraged dictatorship from the "CEO" perch he was elevated to by Mayor Richard M. Daley. During the time Duncan was Chicago schools chief (2001 - 2008), he ensured that principals regularly increased the number of teachers receiving the E-3. Many of the principals and other executives promoted by Duncan has no teaching experience or any other knowledge of the work of public school teachers (Duncan himself was plucked from obscurity by Mayor Daley in 2001 to replace Paul Vallas as CEO of CPS, despite the fact that Duncan had no education background or credentials). Substance photo taken at Dyett High School on September 8, 2008, a few months before Duncan became U.S. Secretary of Educaton, photo by George N. Schmidt. Illinois law (105 ILCS 5/24A-5f) states that "[w]henever, in the opinion of the principal, after personal observation in the classroom on at least two (2) different school days, unless the tenured teacher has no classroom duties, the service of a tenured teacher is considered unsatisfactory, the principal of the school shall notify the tenured teacher in writing, using the Form E3, Evaluation of Unsatisfactory Service of a Tenured Teacher." (CPS Teacher Evaluation Plan and Handbook Of Procedures – p. 16) Immediately, a 90 day remediation process locks into place. At this point the teacher has no rights. She has to comply with the process or she will be dismissed.

The principal simply needs to fill out some minimal paperwork and file it with Human Resources. His stated reasons for the E3 don’t have to make sense. No one will challenge his opinion. The Board of Education doesn’t care about teachers. The Illinois legislators on the Senate and House Education Committees don’t even respond when they are questioned about the efficacy of the law. The Chicago Teachers Union is toothless when it comes to defending against the E3.

Some years ago principals were mandated to read aloud at a faculty meeting early in the school year the Remediation Process for Unsatisfactory Tenured Teachers (Article 39-5). No one listens. No one listens! Young teachers assume that the E3 is targeted at older teachers and doesn’t apply to them. Superior and excellent teachers assume it is targeting some rare occasion where a satisfactory teacher might completely deteriorate and need to be removed for the good of the children.

The law was perhaps originally well-intentioned—designed to protect children from someone who might have experienced a mental or physical breakdown. The assumption has always been that such a situation is the result of aging and only a few older teachers might qualify for an E3. Much to the contrary, however, given the current high stress level at CPS, one doesn’t find many teachers hanging on past retirement age into their dotage. The E3 has morphed into a tool of reprisal and revenge, used by principals to rid themselves of unwanted teachers.

Part of the relentless bashing of public school teachers from corporate America involves the propaganda claiming that a "school leader" can be generated in a few months out of some kind of corporate executive with no knowledge or children and no teaching experience. As a result of decades of propaganda foisting programs like "New Leaders for New Schools" and "Teach for America" on the public schools, the USA has a recent history of vicious teacher bashing, while promoting many of the crooks and incompetents who brought the world economy to its knees. Since January 2010, Ron Huberman has hired more executives with MBAs or "CTAs" (experience at the Chicago Transit Authority) into $100,000 executive positions of power at CPS. But the process began long before Huberman. The first announcement of "New Leaders for New Schools" in Chicago was made by Paul Vallas and Gery Chico in 2000, following the victory of George W. Bush. "New Leaders" was paid for by masses of corporate dollars and headed by veterans of the U.S. Department of Education from the days of the Clinton administration. As the selection by Barack Obama of Arne Duncan has shown, the teacher bashing agenda of corporate America and its version of 'school reform' is a bi-partisan affair. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.A great many factors have combined over the past several years to damage the reputation of American schools. Rather than address the problems honestly, politicians look around for a quick fix or, better yet, scapegoats. The E3 has yet to reach its full potential as a weapon of career destruction because it takes a particularly asocial and amoral principal to falsely label a superior or excellent teacher as unsatisfactory. That has the same earmark as lying under oath. Not all principals are ready to sink that low. The current mob of managers wouldn’t recognize good teaching if it bit them in their rigorous spreadsheets. What they do recognize, though, is the bottom line, so high-priced veteran teachers are targeted with E3s.

The "unsatisfactory teacher", once having received the E3 has no one to turn to for assistance. Board of Education members, Illinois Legislators, Chicago Aldermen, and Chicago journalists simply will not challenge the process. The Chicago Teachers Union sits back and waits for the process to roll over the teacher, planning to go to hearing once the teacher is declared finally and completely unsatisfactory. Through ignorance or ignominy, no one will stand for the teacher.

Should the "unsatisfactory teacher" remain through the 90th day in order to go to hearing and reclaim her reputation, justice is not readily available. According to CTU officials, once the principal declares her unsatisfactory on the 90th day, she must attend a Board of Education hearing where Board members will rubber stamp the principal’s opinion. The teacher is then suspended and must wait 8 to10 months WITHOUT PAY for a State hearing. Eight to ten months is a conservative estimate since the number of State hearing officers has been recently cut.

The only mystery involved in the whole E3 fiasco is who are the teachers in the Chicago Public School System who can afford to wait nearly a year without pay to clear their names? If a teacher does choose to make the sacrifice in order to see justice done, the consensus of both CTU officials and independent counsel is that no matter how strong a case the "unsatisfactory teacher" has, everyone must hope that one of the "good" hearing officers is assigned. Thus, banking on a crap shoot is the Chicago Way of defending teachers who have been grievously maligned.

The details of the E3 process have to be pried out of CTU representatives. No informative document that spells out what a teacher can expect to happen is immediately available from them. If such information were presented, no matter how righteous their case, teachers might decide to save themselves the accompanying stress of weeks of bogus negative evaluations by the principal and resign right away. A further revelation, concealed from "unsatisfactory teachers" for some unknown reason, but casually disclosed by independent counsel, is that if the teacher wins her case, she is placed in another school to get her away from the principal. Whoa!

A teacher who is blindsided by a principal with an agenda can have her reputation, career, and financial future placed at risk, but if she is fortunate enough to triumph over her nefarious attacker, she is moved? What alternate universe are public school teachers living in? Knowing how the Board of Education operates, several questions spring immediately to mind. Is the teacher guaranteed a similar position in a similar community in a similar geographical location? Is the teacher guaranteed professional treatment by the new principal who is forced to take her? If the Board offers a position which is extremely unlike her lost position does she have to accept it?

Teachers are not being assisted with or advised about the inimical law known as the E3. The Chicago Teachers Union should be leading a campaign to get this law repealed. They are not. A grass roots movement among teachers to protest Illinois law (105 ILCS 5/24A-5f) is going to have to evolve if teachers hope to escape future unjust attacks. The immediate measure that individual teachers must take in this battle is to arm themselves with awareness and knowledge about destructive tools at the disposal of principals. They must also remember that everything that’s wrong with public education does not rest on the backs of the teachers. It doesn’t even begin with teachers. Let’s hope that someone will soon take up the battle cry that the solution is not to get rid of teachers. 


January 6, 2010 at 11:20 PM

By: Margaret Wilson

Retired teacher/parent

The E-3 procedure has always been used as a weapon against teachers. About 15 years ago, I was teaching in a school where the principal did not want anyone tested for SPED. I tried to serve as an advocate and let parents know their rights. I, also, called DCFS on a parent who was keeping her children out of school two to three days a week to babysit younger children and serve as a translator. The parent went after me with a baseball bat and the principal blamed me for calling. At the end of the year, the principal told me to find a new school or he would begin E-1 procedures against me.

You are right. The Union has in the past been willing to support a teacher if the timeline is not followed but will not dispute the content of the principal's evaluation. I'm sure it's now hard to even get the Union to enforce the timelines.

January 7, 2010 at 10:23 AM

By: Jean Schwab


This is a great article- I wish every teacher could see it! I still don't know the E-3 process. I was given an Unsatisfactory rating in June and in Sept. given the E3 quickly followed by another Unsatisfactory rating.

Since Kartheiser came to our school,I had filed (or helped others file( about 5 grievances against her. We won about three but my favorite was a class size grievance with a room over quota of special education students. This grievance helped because we gave the student's smaller class-size and an extra reading teacher. Other grievances were about Kartheiser not following proceducres when writing evaluations and her dealings respectfully with other professionals on the staff. The E-3 was the start of a year of "remediation" when I was observed and criticized for basically everything. It was not helpful and harmed my students because they were in the middle. I also had times I was transitioning students to the bathroom and lunchroom alone when their IEPs clearly stated that they needed assistance from a teacher's assistance. It put my students at risk. I now know that I was entitled to more prep periods because of the time it took to write the IEPs and 3 preps a week was not enough. Teachers are set up for failure in these situations. When it came to the suspension without pay, I was not financially stable enough to last a year and my lawyer(CTU) said that probably I would not find people that would back up the truth (which was true because none of the other staff members would want to be in my shoes.) It was a no -win situation. A friend of mine told me at the end of my "remediation" that I

had been on trial for a whole year and was "emotionally beat up," by my principal and her fans and supporters. Power and money -speak

January 7, 2010 at 8:03 PM

By: B. Chandler

Lack of Justice


You did a wonderful job of explaining this horrible process, called the E3. It is sad that one individual is allowed to implement something such as this, without having to provide solid evidence. When was it decided that the opinion of a principal, or any person should be so powerful?

You also pointed out that this process is being used as a tool of eliminating unwanted teachers. This then means that abusive, evil, malice based individuals get to destroy the career of another, by using our existing state laws.

We must work to correct this process and all things that function without righteousness.

January 8, 2010 at 12:06 AM

By: Jim Vail


Great article and horrible story!

Thanks Kathy - a Golden Apple nominee and teacher of children of whom over 80% passed the ISAT test. Reason to honor you, not fire you!

But one thing - you mentioned the last hope is that one of the "good" hearing officers is assigned. But in the case of the fired E3 teacher at Wells High School, one hearing officer recommened against firing, but the Board still went ahead and fired the teacher.

This is the plan Ren2010 and our Mayor has for all the schools, they want unproven anti-union charter schools to be able to E3 everyone, fire them on spot for anything. So you have teachers calling Substance about not getting their promised wages at the end of their short overworked tenure, and having to hire attornies to get what is fairly owed to them, thanks to less rights for teachers.

If we're not all united to fight this - then they'll keep picking us off until we're just another banana republic with teachers the next overly exploited workforce dropping like flies as the billionaires grin and drink champaign while they destroy us all.

January 8, 2010 at 12:40 AM

By: Dino

informative and scary


This is a heart-wrenching sad story to all of us seasoned, HIGH QUALITY, teachers. Simply, it was a pleasure working with you for 3.5 years-and our vast discussion on current math programs. Your article was very informative about the E3 process and its limitations.

I stand behind you 100%. You are a true Trailblazer to bring this to the forefront.

Maybe just maybe, someday, someone will listen to the plight of experienced, talented, and seasoned teachers who are forced to retire or change careers.

We have the VALUED ADDED resources--our seasoned mind, continual desire to learn new ways to teach, and experience to help children succeed and achieve the goals and aspirations of each child.

January 8, 2010 at 4:43 AM

By: zeta

Principal or Sociopath?

It is a sad day in America when teachers who have dedicated their lives to teaching children, find themselves in a position where an incompetent principal with no real teaching experience takes it upon himself or herself to attack a veteran teacher with this ludicrous E-3 process.

The process is very subjective and allows emotionally unstable principals to destroy the lives of veteran teachers.

At my school, my principal decided that she would attempt to give me an E-3. When I realized that she was going in that direction, I pulled down the test results at every school that I had worked since 2001. In addition, I brought in my awards for highest reading and math gain for 7 consecutive years. I also reminded her that I had never had anything but an excellent or a superior rating.

I guess she decided that an E-3 wouldn't hold up so she made up a lie and reported it to the Law Department.

These practices speak volumes about the kind of unethical principals that CPS has hired. Many of them are emotionally unstable, inept and not fit to teach one day in a classroom.

Their lack of compassion and understanding for humanity really makes you wonder if CPS has hired a group of sociopaths to lead the charge.

I am so sorry to hear that veteran teachers have been bullied out of their jobs by principals who conduct themselves like thugs.

January 9, 2010 at 12:30 PM

By: CPS principal

Not all principals are like this

I appreciated reading this article. Before moving into administration, I was a teacher in CPS for 15 years. I worked at 2 seperate schools. One for a short period of time and the other for the rest of my career as a teacher. At my "home" school, myself and my team colleagues worked our butts off with our 8th graders. We would meet each morning at 7:00 just to be on the same page, plan, and to talk about students of concern. We were a team. At the same time, I had a colleague who was across the hall from me who was comepletely inept. He NEVER taught, the kids watched movies all day. He yelled and swore at them and would keep his kids locked out of the room if they didn't get to class in a "timely" manner from switching classes. When this would happen, the kids would be playing out in the hall, unsupervised of course. This happened on a DAILY basis and these poor students, in their all important 7th grade year, got NO INSTRUCTION!!! My 8th grade colleagues and I would call down to the office, daily, to have someone informed about the students in the hall, the constant movies being played, the yelling and screaming, and the utter chaos of his classroom. Each year that our team received these 7th graders, it took us the 1st quarter just to get them back under control.

My administration did NOTHING about this teacher and he continued to get the same superior rating that my 8th grade colleagues and I got each rating year. We were appalled and very frustrated with this situation! What did that say about us as teachers? Why did he deserve to have the same superior rating doing this kind of disservice to students? I just couldn't understand. To this day, 5 years later, he is still there and my former 8th grade colleagues still have to deal with the same antics from him and his students year after year.

This is why the E-3 process needs to be there. Now the question is whether or not the process is the correct one; however, there needs to be something in place for teachers like this who are doing such a disservice to students.

Now, as a principal myself, I take very seriously ALL kids' education. When I walk into a classroom, I go in with the thought of, "Would I want this teacher teaching my own kids?" If the answer is no, then a conversation needs to begin with what I can do to support this teacher in order to improve. I use a coaching model with my teachers and want to support them in order to learn new techniques that will help.

With that said, if a teacher like the one I described above, would continue to do these antics over and over, I would E-3 them too. My job is to make sure that each and every student has the best teacher possible providing quality instruction to their students. If that is not happening, I owe it to the students of my building to make it happen.

Do I abuse the E-3 process? Absolutely not. HOWEVER, will I use it if there is an incompetent teacher harming children? Absolutely. Since being a principal I have not used the E-3 process yet; however, for the past 2 years I have been very concerned about 2 teachers. It remains to be seen yet as to whether or not they will be able to raise the bar to be effective enough to give the students the quality instruction that their students deserve. I am going to continue to support them with coaching; however, if that doesn't work, I will begin this process.

This is what it has to be done to make sure our students get a quality educaton. I am a parent of 2 school-aged children and would not settle for an inept teacher. My guess is, all of you who posted here on this blog would demand the same thing if your childrens' teachers.

To all of you who work your butts off on a daily basis for your students. I would love to have you at my building! Our CPS kids to have the best teachers in front of them!

A CPS principal who was a tenured teacher and understands how hard teachers work.

January 9, 2010 at 5:38 PM

By: Jim Vail


Thank you Mr. CPS Principal for your further enlightenment on the E3 process.

The worst thing is teachers blaming the union for not being able to fire "bad" teachers. There are great - as witnessed above - administrators and teachers, and some that are not.

There is a process.

Unfortunately, there is an ugly political element to all this with money interests fighting every which way that distorts the picture. Principals who were teachers in the classroom know better how to run a school (not guaranteed of course) than the crap the Board is trying to do by hiring business backed principals with no education background.

Just look at all the charter schools who hire administrators with no education background. Just look at Mr. Huberman, and Arne Duncan and Paul Vallas - no education backgrounds at all, and now one of them is dictating education policy for the country.

We unfortunately live in a broken society, and education reflects this broken society. It takes a village to raise a child - it takes the community to ensure each child gets a quality education - something the mayor and his underlings think they can disempower, to thus promote their interests along a corporate model in which there are winners and losers in a capitalist society. With children - should there be winners and losers? Race to the Top? School Choice? Name one parent who would choose something other than to get the best education for their child!

And thank you George for publishing a great web site that allows for excellent feedback on these important educational issues.

January 10, 2010 at 10:41 PM

By: Frustrated Principal

Please be reasonable

While everyone beats up on principals - there should be one fact remembered: almost all of us have been teachers (and we hope good teachers though there are examples that show this is not the case).

The fact not given in this article is that VERY FEW teachers are E3'd and that there is little evidence of abuse of this process other than a few anecdotes. There are just as many anecdotes about justified E3s (I wish people would E3 teachers accused of abusing students instead of just pushing them to other schools).

When I was a teacher, I knew about the E3 process because I studied my evaluations, especially as a new teacher.

There are teachers in the system who should be E3'd and people should be screaming about principals who do not remove people who are not a credit to the profession because they make it bad for everyone.

As a teacher and principal, I have been shocked by the lack of ethics that I have seen some teachers display. Teachers who refuse to turn in lesson plans, who regularly come to school late (and I mean 20 or 30 minutes late, not 1 or 2), who treat students poorly, or who refuse to teach because they are on the cell phone, running side businesses, etc. I am grateful that this process is in place because this is a GREAT profession for STELLAR, HARDWORKING people, and if any person is abusing the process - shame on them because they do as much injustice to kids as those who don't want to teach.

January 10, 2010 at 10:51 PM

By: No support from CO

No CAO support

AND WHEN PRINCIPALs lower teacher ratings deservedly an/or require teachers to hand in lesson plans, CAOs do not support the principal on this. Principals have to pay attention to the CAO and her program du jour...

January 10, 2010 at 11:03 PM

By: Margaret Wilson

Retired teacher/parent

To Frustrated Principal

I know that there are probably more good principals in the system then bad ones but unfortunately the bad ones just as there are far more teachers who care than bad teachers. Unfortunately many of us on this site have experienced principals who abuse their power. One principal I know was told to do something by the law dept., by EEOC and by the Union and still informed the teacher that he would have her job and make sure that she lost her job unless she transferred. Another principal told teachers at a faculty meeting that no one at his school argued with him because if they didn't like it, he would take them to O'Hare himself (meaning they not only wouldn't teach at his school, they wouldn't teach in Chicago). Another teacher received numerous awards and had a long history of superior ratings but when she became vocal about things that were happening at the school, she was threatened with an E-1. In most cases, teachers retire or transfer rather than face the E1 rating especially when they know that no one will challenge the substance of the rating only whether the time line is followed so yes, few teachers actually go through it. Also principals have far more power to remove non-tenured teachers without cause which is none to a large group of teachers each year.

I know some excellent principals including the one at my granddaughter's school but there needs to be a better procedure for getting rid of principals who abuse their power.

January 11, 2010 at 1:39 AM

By: evaluation process

E-3 process

If you are a teacher who is E-3ed, you cannot transfer to another school.

January 11, 2010 at 8:52 AM

By: Margaret Wilson

Retired teacher/parent

If you read what I said, I said "threatened with E-3's." You are right that once the process has begun you can't transfer, but in the situations that I was talking about for myself and a couple other people I know the teacher was told "If you don't find another school, I will begin the E-3 process." In my case, it was because I was advocating for SPED students in one school and in the other I was standing up for my rights as a teacher with a disability. In the second case, my attorney and the legal department at the Board found a school for me because the principal told me to go out on disability and refused to honor the ADA. Principals often use this as a weapon to keep teachers quiet and submissive and that's what I don't like about it.

January 11, 2010 at 12:20 PM

By: zeta

Dear Principal

Dear Principal,

You are right. There were wonderful principals in the system that support and care about teachers. I have known and worked for four. However, due to school closings and turnarounds, only 1 remains in the system.

Also, I have been around long enough to have experienced principals who were compassionate and caring towards staff and students. However since REN 2010, many of these principals have been forced to retire because they had too much integrity and cared

too much for their school community.

At one point, I thought I would become a principal; however, I love children and love teaching. When students and other teachers would ask, why don't you become a principal? I would respond, "Because I like teachers too much".

I currently hold 2 Masters in education and I am reluctantly working on another one in school administration. I say reluctantly because I love Chicago and would have to move to another district where there is a real effort to make a difference in the lives of children and the communities we serve.

To get back to the subject, since I was a teacher at one of the first schools closed under REN 2010 I knew that schools could only be closed under certain conditions. I studied well and worked at the most difficult schools.

I wanted to find out how to rise scores for "at risk" students. As a graduate of one of CPS’s premier teaching programs, I was considered an expert by CPS and have been hired to work programs at 3 schools a year helping to achieve the goal of raising scores for challenging students.

I hold 5 Middle School endorsements and have lead 5 schools off probation moving scores 2-3 years in one year consistently.

I am not saying this to brag but to let you know how much I have put into my self to make sure that our school community succeeds.

To that end, none of my life experience, preparation and dedication to education made any difference.

When I protested the expulsion of a student who was homeless and needed help, on a false allegation by the principal e( The principal wanted me to say that the student hit me.)

I informed the principal that it wasn't intentional she stated. "it's too late I have already sent it to the Law Department" The next day, asking if this request for expulsion could be rescinded she said "no".

At the hearing, I told the hearing officer that it was an accident and that the student apologized. (It was a simple brush against me)

After that, she began to sabotage everything that I did in an effort to make me look bad. She tried everything, including changing my class 7 times in 3 months. Every time I would get difficult students under control, she would change students back and forth.

The end result is that the children who are homeless, or are foster children, or may be a little rough around the edges, are rude or act out in politically incorrect ways are being expelled. That is what I mean when I say, "Principal or Sociopath?

I have found the solution to the problem just like I found the solution to raising scores, it has worked like a charm for me for over 25 years. It's called compassion. This is what the new principals are lacking. They want the power to ruin the lives of children, parents and teachers and are angry with the union process because under a good contract, these monsters they find it hard to just snap their fingers and make it happen.

The e-3 process is still subjective and tainted. It is tainted by principals who are emotionally unstable and supported by the CPS Law Department. The culprit is not unqualified teachers but inhumane leaders.

I remind you that I have seen the best and I know when I see mess!


January 11, 2010 at 2:03 PM

By: zeta

Let me add!

Dear Principals,

Maybe I should have been a psychologist as planned. What I detect in your messages is a frustration due to the lack of control over teachers who are non-compliant.

It appears that the E-3 process is an attempt to alleviate some problems with teachers. The problem is that some of us are trying to "Heal the World". We know that it can't be done by alienating, expelling, expunging and firing people.

This is what happens to all people when they are taken through the expulsion process. Usually due to no fault of their own, (like teachers who work in the most violent neighborhoods in the city.) They are taken through an evaluation process. People are being evaluated by those who usually don't understand the problem and would not be able to do any better under the same circumstances. (My principal couldn't last 1 day in my classroom alone. She had to have 2 assistants when I was absent. )

Right now, students, teachers and communities are under attack and we need CPS leaders to come with solutions that exclude the process to alienate and anger.

The solution to the problem is to do what good teachers do. We take the most challenging students with the most problems and the most difficulties. We turn horror stories into success stories. There’s nothing new about the process of disenfranchising people. It’s not an intelligent process, it’s not economically advantageous and it doesn’t make principals or leaders come up with creative solutions that answer problems in society in a productive manner. We need a paradigm shift!

Remember, Leaders Lead and the others E-3. Just as teachers who fail students consistently are failing teachers. Principals who are failing use the E-3 process as a solution to being them being ineffective leaders, inept or emotionally unstable, For me that am the new meaning of E-3. EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED, EGREGIOUS, EDUCATOR.

January 11, 2010 at 4:53 PM

By: Amber

Displaced CPS Employee

As I've said repeatedly, Zeta, you're always RIGHT ON! Always. You go!

January 11, 2010 at 6:54 PM

By: Zeta

Another Silent Career Killer

I guess i feel like blogging today.

I wanted to write about another tactic that CPS is using to get rid of veteran teachers. At first, I didn't believe it myself because the tactic is so immoral and unethical and it involves using children.

However, I attended church yesterday and was met by a group of teachers who indicated that there had been a prayer session on last Friday and that teachers were praying for the children that are being used as pawns in the game of firing teachers.

They indicated that several students who have emotional problems have often been used to create chaos in their classrooms.Children who normally act out have been placed with certain teachers to create so much chaos that the teacher will quit. One principal admitted that she "set it up" to get rid of a tenured teacher.

She stated when asked why she was putting a particular teacher in the classroom with a group of difficult students, the principal responded, " I knew if I did that she would snap and do something and I could get her Crazy A.. out of here."

I am writing and asking any teacher who has experienced the use of students who are suffering from issues related their own personal life experiences to let us know.

These students are entitled to services and due process.

In addition, Once a student has been used by the principal, or by CPS, it is immoral and unethical to expel them. Even gangsters make deals with their informants and protect them. (OOPs I'm sorry, I forgot these are just poor minority children so anything goes).

To add insult to injury, In many cases administrators have ignored the suffering of these children, denied offering them the services that they are legally entitled to and used them in the fight against teachers.

The sad reality is that after the children have been used to accomplish the goal that the principal has. ( whatever that may be)

The students is eventually expelled from CPS.

After talking with the teachers at my church, I realized that this is not an isolated incident, this is the tactic that many administrators use and that it is sanctioned by the CPS LAW DEPARTMENT.

Using children with emotional problems to testify against teachers who they love and care about is inhumane and confusing to the child.

We must put an end to all these career killers and call these silent child abusers out and let them know that they must STOP USING CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST TEACHERS!

January 11, 2010 at 8:16 PM

By: George Schmidt

Join our reporting team...

One of the best ways to do this is for teachers to join our reporting team. We don't need "writers." Just people who know the facts and have the courage to sign their names to the truth. Let us know here at Substance if you want to learn a new trade (reporting) to help you with your earlier one, teaching.

I just finished reading everything we posted here at over the past 40 days while preparing the January print edition, which will be mailed to subscribers Thursday.

This universe is expanding quickly, thanks to all the teachers and others (including more and more students) who are reporting and analyziing these realities for Substance. You can join the fun by calling us at the office at 773-725-7502.

Every one of us was once as frightened as you are now. It's more fun to do something about it, as well as to pray in church on Sunday. Evil may succumb to prayers, but we also believe in naming it and reporting it, with a face to each iteration of it. It's an old tradition in all faiths and in many secular places as well. And it's more fun by the day.

So think it over, read more here, comment more--

Then become the next Lois Lane here at Substance. Clark Kents we have many of, too.

January 11, 2010 at 10:36 PM

By: Jean Schwab

Children in the middle

I have taught TMH students for 2 years and one month. Last year I had a new student that came from another school. At that school the student had a one to one assistant and other teacher assistants helped at lunch and bathroom time. At first this student would try to race out of the room, tear things off the boards, dump out games and learning supplies. I had one teachers assistant to help me. During lunch I was alone walking the students to and from the luchroom and bathroom(even though several students had it clearly stated in their IEP that they needed extra help. One of my students would run ahead and another would walk very slowly and another sometimes would sit down on the floor and not move. Several students needed assistance walking to the luchroom and using the bathroom because of physical problems. My principal was not able (she said) to get a one to one aide for this student or help walking to and from the luchroom (although she would stand in the hall and watch me try to keep the group together and safe.) I knew she wanted to get rid of me but I was more worried that something would happen to one of my students. In January we did get a one-to- one aide for the student who had started to improve even though we did not have help. It was so much easier to teach and the students were able to show us that they really were very wise and capable of doing so much more when given the proper help. I've seen students used in my class and others. It enrages me to even think about it because the students always pay. Have you noticed that when the teacher is finally gone, lots of help is available and the new teacher has so many more resources, preps and support?

January 12, 2010 at 9:23 AM

By: Margaret Wilson

Retired teacher/parent

Jean, thanks for your excellent job in showing how students (especially SPED students) are affected when teachers are attacked without cause. All too many teachers get tired or resign or get out however they can.

Although not all principals abuse the power, no one person should have the power to destroy someone's career without adequate evidence of wrong-doing.

January 12, 2010 at 12:48 PM

By: Zeta

E_3 Prinipals or Sociopaths part 2

This is an excellent article, Thank God for substance so that teachers can have a voice and have a chance to know that certain problems they are facing are systemic and have little to do with their abilities as a teacher.

There is no rhyme or reason to that fact that some unethical principals feel that they can meet a teacher who has given their entire lives to educating children, and watch them for several months writing things down that are absolutely unfounded, subjective and just wishful thinking on the part of the principal.

I got a call last night from a teacher in the same identical situation as Jean. She was threatened by the principal and told she better not return to the school last September or the principal would find some way of getting rid of her. Now she's worried that the principal is interviewing students to take statements from them to be used against her.

As real educators know, no teacher works on a job, for over 15 years with excellent and superior ratings just to find out that they are incompetent in the 20th or 30th year of working successfully on the job. Isn't it amazing that 20 years of service can be undermined by a 3 month e-3 evaluation. Or when the new principal comes in that she or he doesn't like their style, age or color.

Unfortunately, for the students when this happens they are the losers, and no one cares because these corporate types are too busy massaging their egos and boasting about how a public facility ran off the monies of hard working citizens, is "their school".

There is something really wrong with this picture. I can say that I do remember a time when it was not like that. When educators ran their schools and test scores weren't used as a whip to beat everyone into submission.

So to those new e-3, (EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED,

EGREGIOUS EDUCATORS) principals, the only thing that will stop these immature sociopaths is a legal suit against them or a long stay in jail for falsification of information and defamation of character.

January 12, 2010 at 1:29 PM

By: Margaret Wilson

Retired teacher/parent

I just want to add one thing to the mixture. The only chance which a teacher has of beating the E3 is if other teachers/staff in the school and parents are willing to stand behind him/her. I know when I spoke to field reps that the Union will not stand behind a teacher unless the principal has violated the timeline for various steps. In terms of content, it is usually the teacher's word v.s. the principal and most of the content is almost totally subjective. It is similar to trying to fight a college grade. When the examples are objective (multiple choice, fill-in the blanks, etc), it is easy to show when a professor is not being fair. This was my situation in a college psych class. The professor was very open with his views that LGBTs were not qualified to teach or counsel and gave me an F when he found out I was a Lesbian. I was able to show that he marked answers wrong on my test that were marked correct on another students and was able to get my grade changed to a B. When the tests are subjective (essays or projects), it is much harder because the teacher has their own grading standards that are hard to dispute. A friend of mine just went through this in an English class. In the first class, she was able to get the Head of the Dept. and Dean to read the papers and change the grade to C. The second time, she had to drop the class. The E3 procedure is very similar--it's not objective so it's hard to fight especially without support.

January 13, 2010 at 11:09 AM

By: Jean Schwab

E-3 process

What is the process for E-3?

Do you have to have an E-1 and E-2 before an E-3?

Can a principal give you an Unsatisfactory rating and then the E-3?

Are the principal supposed to follow any guidlines about E-1, E-2 or E-3 and the rating or can they leave out portions and put the rating first? This is so confusing.

January 13, 2010 at 2:47 PM

By: Margaret Wilson

Retired teacher/parent

The principals still have to follow all the steps outlined in the contract--the section read to teachers at the beginning of the year. A new principal can give a teacher an Unsatisfactory without going through the steps and this is also true when a principal's contract is renewed because they are considered a new principal. The E-1 thru E-3 procedure is when a principal wants to lower a rating that they have previously given you. I think this is where part of the confusion comes in. If a principal has never rated you before they are not bound by any of your previous ratings and therefore can give you an unsatisfactory. Another thing some principals are doing if they didn't follow the observation steps is to give you no rating which means that your rating reverts to the last rating that you received and they can give you an unsatisfactory the next year because they have never rated you (this is only for a principal who hasn't given you a previous rating). It's somewhat confusing and complex which is why it's often easy to challenge procedure and have the Unsatisfactory thrown out. It depends on how badly they want to get you and how knowledgeable the principal is.

January 14, 2010 at 10:02 PM

By: Jean Schwab


Thank you Margaret, your answer was very informative. I survived my E-3 because I really loved my students and could see improvement in their skills and behavior everyday. I am also a parent of Special Education students and felt a bond with my student's parents. I came back this year to see if my students retained the skills that were taught to them last year and they did. They not only retained the skills but grew over the summer. I was very pleased.

Teachers are embarrassed when they receive an E-3. That's got to change. Teachers need to shout it from the rooftops! It means that you are an advocate for students. Teachers need to start talking about how students are put at risk by principals and sometimes school policies. We are encouraged to talk about the great things our schools are doing but are called unprofessional when we disagree with the principal or point out areas that put students at risk. When my class was transitioning to the lunchroom and bathroom, parents came to me and asked me where the other staff members were to help the students. I told them that I was the only one with the children during lunch and bathroom time and directed them to the principal. She did not listen to me, but she did do something when the parents talked to her. Who was going to inform the parents if it wasn't me? The children did not know how to change the situation. Our principal then started sending different people to help, although it was not always consistant, it did help.

Also teachers need to stand up for themselves when accused of things they would never think of doing and not be bullied into backing down or quitting. It is very difficult in these situations for a teacher to defend themselves because if another staff member stands up for you, they may be at risk of an E-3. Staff and parents also talk about school and are not always told the truth about any given incident or teacher.

When I came back in September, I told everyone not to help me in any way and did not get close to anyone. My husband thought everyone should be given a choice whether to help or not but I didn't want anyone else to go through what I saw happen to myself and several older teachers at our school. I've also noticed that teachers (with years of superior ratings) that may have a short term, or long term illness are also threatened with E-3 s and that is cruel.

January 14, 2010 at 11:01 PM

By: Margaret Wilson

retired teacher/parent

Jean: Those teachers with short term illnesses (if expected duration is longer than 6 months) and long term illnesses are disabled under the ADA and need to go to EEOC if they feel that their disability (illness) is being used against them. The EEOC has the power to determine if they are a qualified individual which means that they are qualified to do the primary functions of their job with or without accommodations. For example, the EEOC in my case ruled that taking the children to and from lunch (which involved stairs) was not a major part of my job and eventually CPS had to hire an aide to take the students to and from lunch and activities which were on the 2nd floor as well as pick up my resource students. The EEOC can also help determine if the threat of lowering the person's rating is a form of retaliation or discrimination so the person with a disability has some added protections.

If you know teachers who need some guidance in this area, let me know. I started and chaired the Union ADA Committee and was President of Teachers with Disabilities United for almost 20 years.

January 15, 2010 at 12:46 PM

By: Zeta

To Margaret

Dear Margaret,

I would like to talk to you. Several teachers and I are meeting at

the CORE function. I would like to discuss things with you there off line.

Hang out with CORE Friday, January 15th. We will be at 2 locations starting at 4:00 PM:

Artis’ 1249 E. 87th St

January 15, 2010 at 1:19 PM

By: Jean Schwab


My friend did file with the Americans with Disabilities Act and was to receive a teacher's assistant and an elevator. She had become so sick that she decided to go on medical leave and is now cancer free, doing quite well and retired.

January 15, 2010 at 1:51 PM

By: Margaret Wilson

Retired teacher/parent

You are welcome to contact me off-line. My e-mail is It is hard for me to get to evening meetings because I have an 11 year old and don't drive due to my disability (which also prevents me from taking public transportation). I can explain more when you contact me.


January 19, 2010 at 11:45 PM




January 22, 2010 at 5:54 PM

By: Susan Nunes

Defensive principals

I have to laugh at some of the comments by principals who try and tell us teachers or former teachers how "hard" they have it in trying to get rid of "awful" teachers. These dishonest people don't want to tell the truth that it is almost impossible to get rid of administrators as the school districts, with taxpayer money, will defend them at all costs. I was a victim of crooked administrators out here in Nevada. Chicago is hardly unique in its shabby treatment of teachers.

January 22, 2010 at 10:03 PM

By: Amber

Missed Both Events


Had misinformation last night and went to Binny's instead of across the street to Manny's. Please contact me at

January 22, 2010 at 11:15 PM

By: Zeta

Defensive Principals part 2

Hi amber, just sent you my information. Hope to hear from you soon.

Defensive principals are obviously everywhere. I've never been to Nevada but obviously these very sick and power struck individuals are everywhere. The only good thing about it is seeing a principal who has done nothing but destroy teachers lives (Like the one at Prescott), get what they deserve.

In Chicago, it seems that it's the "Big Pay Back" times for all who have enjoyed ruining teachers lives a messing up families.

To the principals who have stabbed everyone in the back and now you are the one chosen by CPS to get it. HA HA HA, HELLO!

June 21, 2012 at 9:18 AM

By: Mark Lofton

Epidemic of Unsatisfactory Ratings

Why are Principals just being allowed to give tenured teachers an Unsatisfactory rating? It is an attack on Tenured teachers; and for no reason at all. They are just writing it down. Is this coming from CPS?

This is something that needs to be investigated. Those Principals are falsifying those ratings. They are hiring buddies and family members. Teachers should be given their jobs back and their correct ratings. This is like bullying the teachers. These facts are not true. Some of these Principals are getting away with destroying peoples careers and certificates.

Why is it that no one is saying anything. Is it Mr. Brizard at CPS that has told the Principals to do this. Rumor had it that the Networks are telling the Principals to do this. I am here to tell you. While this is being done; this city of schools is turning into Charters. And 40 more schools. Networks and Principals you are doing the dirty work. When you are done; the Board is going to open up those Charter Schools and then you won't need a Network or those Principals either.

When you do wrong; wrong IS going to come back to you. I just feel this in my bones. Then Networks and Principals you will see how it feels to olose your career and job when you have been working just as hard as everyone else. Believe you me; those days will come. Then you will understand how you have destroyed teachers lives; by the use of a word.

June 21, 2012 at 10:45 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Investigating crazed principals, sociopathic 'Network' chieftains

The good news is that not all Chicago principals are on our "A" (asshole) list. However, it may have reached a tilting point, where the majority are either on the "A List" or too cowardly to resist the pressures to act like they want to belong there. So the bad news is, a growing number of principals are identifiable assholes — emulating their CEOs, as the policies of Rahm Emanuel's Board of Educatoin make the attack on real public school teaches the agenda for the third largest public school system in the USA. There is not excuse for their behavior, but their types are typical in any tyranny, and so they have to be fought against, defeated, and destroyed.

We can do something about it, first by exposing it in all its nasty mendacity, and later by replacing it politically with sanity (through an elected school board). For now, it is one among many reportorial jobs we are trying to organize to undertake.

You can help by providing details for our "A" list.

Substance reporters are preparing to continue our investigation into the forced escalation of unsatisfactory ratings to veteran teachers that seems to have reached the highest proportion in history under the carnivorous administration of Jean-Claude Brizard and the Billionaire Board of Education. But we need to receive more information than we have gotten so far in order to begin to put those pieces together.

Last school year (2010 - 2011), CAO Janie Ortega (now departed) made a pest of herself by setting a quota for unsatisfactories in her "Area." This year, the pressure seems to be coming down across the city from the "Network chiefs", many of whom have no Chicago teaching experience, and from Brizard's bureaucrats, most of whom have no business in educational administration at all.

In order for us to complete the investigation into this tragedy (and atrocity) however, we need to hear from teachers and principals who are willing to provide us with the precise information about these policies. We are hearing from some already, but not nearly enough. You can email Substance at, but we have to receive precise information before we can do more.

Teachers should also report at the Board of Education meeting on June 27, 2012, challenging the Board of its hypocrisy. Throughout the current school year, teachers have done this, but not nearly enough. Since each teacher is telling one story about one asshole principal in one school or one screwball network chief in one network, these stories should be listed, one by one, as different items on the sign-in sheet.

Brizard's educational policies are as bankrupt as the management by privatization policies of the Seven Dwarfs who are currently sitting as the "Chicago Board of Education" since their May 2011 appointment by Rahm Emanuel. All need to be challenged, both in their iterations and at the root philosophical bases upon which they promulgate their evil theories and praxes.

June 21, 2012 at 11:24 AM

By: Jackie Taylor

Poor Administration

What about principals who falsely connect teachers to underachieving students that were not even their students? There are principals that connect teachers in IMPACT with students that they have never taught before who were other teachers' students and showed poor performance on test. What could be done about those principals?

June 21, 2012 at 10:07 PM

By: John Kugler

How to process a claim

What to Do in the Event of you want to file a grievance against issues that violate your rights

First, collect all of the documents necessary to process claim:

1. Half page of your bio

a. Name, Address, phone #’s, non-cps email

b. College Degrees

c. Certifications

d. Years and Teaching Assignments in CPS

e. Past and current ratings

2. Chronological narrative of what happened and any unusual circumstances Date:_______ Time:___________ Who you talked to or Document:______________________ One sentence summary [It is best that each entry is backed by documentary evidence (email, memo, records, etc…..)]

3. Why you think your rights have been violated List the articles of the Contract you think have been violated (if possible) 2007-2012 Chicago Teachers Union-Board of Education Agreement

4. Resolution: What do you want to happen to resolve this issue!

Get this information to your Union Grievance Department -- Fax 312.329.6203 or Drop off at 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 400

July 13, 2012 at 12:14 PM

By: Devoted

Quitting during e3 process

This school year I was put into the e3 process and I quit because I felt I was wrongfully put into the process. I have 3 job offers and I can\\\'t accept them because I have a do not hire on my name. I have my data and previous evaluations that proves I am not an unsatisfactory tea her. I had 3 students in my first grade class who tried to commit suicide. These severe problems remained in my room until I left. I was blamed for their behaviors and rated an unsatisfactory teacher. All I want to do is accept a position for the upcoming school year.

August 6, 2013 at 10:36 AM

By: Lisa Wilkins

Unjust principals in Mississippi

This happened to me in MS. Although they do not call it an E-3. I was lied about accused of things I would never do. At the end of the year my contract was non-renewed. I cannot get a job in this district or anywhere else. I appealed to his superiors and board members. No one would go against him.

These principals have too much power. I had taught for 19 years.

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