Professors challenge CPS push to evaluate Chicago teachers based on 'growth' models

One hundred local academics representing virtually every major college and university in Chicago and the Chicago area came together on March 26, 2012 at a press conference. The purpose was to oppose CPS teacher evaluation tied to test scores. The so-called "performance" component of teacher evaluation is required by Illinois law and has been supported for Chicago by all of the major corporate school reform groups (Stand for Children, Advance Illinois, the Civic Committee) despite the fact that there is no rational model for doing so and the claims for performance measurements have crashed in every state where they have been tried. Most recently, the publication of teacher rankings on New York State tests for New York City teachers resulted in the exposure of absurdities and inconsistencies which made the so-called "performance" measures ridiculous, even in the eyes of the New York Times, which supported their publication.

Nevertheless, Chicago and Illinois are facing the same, with Chicago coming first.

Substance was unable to provide reporters to cover the press conference, but we are offering the following statements on this important event.

According to PURE:



CReATE, a volunteer group of local education professors and researchers, will detail their concerns about a planned Chicago Public Schools evaluation system at an 11:00 a.m. news conference Monday, March 26, at the Hull House Museum, 800 S. Halsted St.

They will present a letter, signed by nearly 100 academics from 15 area universities, delivered to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and the Chicago School Board. It calls the evaluation system scheduled to begin in the 2012-2013 school year flawed and in need of piloting.

The Illinois State Legislature approved In January 2010 an amendment to the Illinois School Code, known as the Performance Evaluation Review Act (PERA), which requires districts to include “student growth” as a significant portion of teacher and principal evaluation. While most of the state does not have to implement a new evaluation plan for teachers until 2016, CPS successfully lobbied for the law to permit an earlier September 2012 date for at least 300 of its schools.

“The new evaluation system for teachers and principals centers on misconceptions about student growth, with potentially negative impact on the education of Chicago’s children,” the educators say. “We believe it is our ethical obligation to raise awareness about how the proposed changes not only lack a sound research basis, but in some instances have already proven to be harmful.”

CReATE conducts, reviews, and distributes studies to address the needs of students, parents and schools, as well as promotes citywide learning and dialogue about educational issues through free public events. Members have previously expressed concerns about CPS choosing directions with little to no evidence of effectiveness.


March 28, 2012 at 8:48 AM

By: Susan Ohanian

Chicago academics sign letter

It's interesting to see who didn't sign the letter. For starters, Timothy Shanahan, Professor of Urban Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Director of the UIC Center for Literacy. In 2001-2002, he was director of reading for the Chicago Public Schools. He has received numerous appointments to influential policy committees, including presidential appointment to the Advisory Board of the National Institute for Literacy. He is on the Advisory Boards of the National Center for Family Literacy and Reach Out and Read. He served on the National Reading Panel (NRP). He has chaired He has chaired two other influential federal research review panels whose work has been used by many states as the basis of educational policies and programs: the National Literacy Panel for English Minority Children and Youth, and the National Early Literacy Panel. And yes, he has a full-color pdf handout on the Common Core:

It would be interesting to check on the suck-up-to-power quotient of other non-signers but life is short and time fleeting.

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