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Has CPS privatized teacher evaluations without telling anyone? Who or What is 'Batelle for Kids' and when did Chicago agree to put it in charge of teacher evaluations? CPS has already privatized and outsourced 'value added' teacher evaluation work to an Ohio corporation!

While CPS Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard continues to repeat his carefully rehearsed platitudes and talking points whenever he is forced into a public appearance (which CPS has been trying to control), behind the scenes the most controversial teacher evaluation system in Illinois history is moving forward at lightning speed in what appears to be a secret privatization agreement between Brizard's administration and a controversial Ohio corporation that specializes in public relations work for the controversial "value added" approach to teacher evaluations.

Above, the first page of the two-page memo to principals that CPS sent out on May 2, 2012. In the face of the most controversial teacher evaluation system in CPS history, the Brizard administration has outsourced the main data collection for REACH to an Ohio corporation which specializes in public relations. The memo above, by the way, indicates at the bottom of its second page that it is "copyrighted" by "Batelle for Kids" (which is a trademark of a private corporation with dozens of employees based in Ohio, according to its Website). On May 2, 2012, Chicago Public Schools issued to all principals an elaborate memo outlining how all teachers were being required to "verify" the students they had taught in the previous year — even down to estimating how much of the "learning" these students did should be attributed to the individual teacher.

The first public exposure of the system came in the form of a "Roster Verification" memo dated May 2, 2012 and issued jointly by Chicago Public Schools and an outfit called "Batelle for Kids" (a pun on "Battle for Kids"? in keeping with the CPS habit of casting everything in military terms perhaps...). According to the memo, CPS "will be conducting a teacher roster verification process from May 16 through June 4..."

During the "Roster Verification" process, teachers are going to be required to submit what should be confidential CPS information to a private corporation which has not been publicly identified until now. Materials distributed to CPS principals and teachers (provided to Substance and verified as actually having been distributed) do not even provide teachers with a phone number to contact should problems arise.

Because any "value added" system requires verification of the actual students taught by each teacher, a system of identification is necessary. But the strange memo issued by CPS indicates what many critics in recent years have believed: CPS has reduced its essential central office staff by so many people that it no longer has experienced and trained staff to do this kind of work. Although CPS has been in a radical expansion of top-level central office staff during the past 10 months, it has simultaneously been forcing out others, many of those who knew the actual workings of the school system. It has not only been veteran teachers and principals who are being purged by the Emanuel administration under Jean-Claude Brizard.

The result is that CPS is apparently giving away the most important data in the recent history of teacher evaluations to a private corporation based in Ohio whose main activity has been, so far according to its website, public relations. The May 2, 2012 CPS "Roster Verification" memo is reproduced below here:

ROSTER VERIFICATION Teacher Intro Email

Delivery Mechanism: Email with Teacher Quick Guide Attached

Delivery Date: May 2, 2012

Delivered By: Principals

Subject: Chicago Public Schools Roster Verification Overview

Dear Teachers:

We are writing to inform you that Chicago Public Schools will be conducting a teacher roster verification process from May 16 through June 4.

As you are aware, CPS is actively preparing for implementation of REACH (Recognizing Educators Advancing CHicago) Students—our new, comprehensive teacher evaluation system. I am writing to request your assistance in a critical component of that preparation: ensuring that our records matching students to teachers are fair and accurate. We need you to participate to determine if the information we currently have in our system accurately captures the instructional relationships between teachers and students.

Because teachers and principals know best the schedules and amount of time spent with each student, your participation will ensure the best possible data. The attached Teacher Quick Guide document outlines more information about roster verification for your review.

Who completes roster verification? All CPS Pre-K–8 teachers will participate in roster verification this year.

What is my role as a teacher?

1. Verify your list of class rosters accurately represents what you taught this year.

2. Complete the three-step roster verification process for each class roster:

a. Confirm which students were members of your class.

b. Indicate when the student was a member of your class.

c. Assign the percentage of responsibility you had for the instruction of those students (all, shared, some, most, or none).

3. Resolve any outstanding alerts and submit rosters for approval.

When does roster verification occur? Teacher roster verification begins on May 16 and closes on June 4. You will receive reminder emails a few days before the process starts and ends.

What resources are available to me?

Downloadable roster verification resources materials such as a Teacher Tutorial, Teacher Roster Verification Overview and Teacher Guide are available online through the BFKLink® solution. You are encouraged to take the Teacher Tutorial which describes the teacher roster verification process in detail and walks you through the tool.

What if I have questions?

If you have questions about the roster verification process, please contact your school support team. Your support team is identified on the main page of the BFKLink® solution.

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to enhance our data quality.

Sincerely, First Name Last Name Principal



Comments:

May 9, 2012 at 3:54 PM

By: John Kugler

Very Illegal

As a certified Illinois State Teacher, unless I had a directive delivered to me personally with a signed signature from the Chief Executive Officer, I would not comply with this request. It would put my teaching credentials at risk and violate my students confidentiality rights.

The way I read the Board policy on the CONFIDENTIALITY OF STUDENT RECORDS (Policy 706.3, Board Report 08-0123-PO2) every parent in the system would have to sign a release for this to be legal. There are probably other local, State and Federal statutes that also apply that would be violated if this happens.

But what do I know and why am I concerned? I am only a licensed Illinois Teacher, not a carpetbagging crony of the 1% with no Illinois Teaching or Administrative credentials.

Isn't there suppose to be some kind of Board Report for this big of a contract?

May 10, 2012 at 4:10 PM

By: Nate Goldbaum

Privatizing state records

They've done this to try and whitewash their new Teacher Evaluation System, since classroom instability is one of the many factors that makes Value Added Measurements invalid and unreliable.

You can read their plan at http://ctunet.com/quest-center/research/text/cps-framework/CPS_Framework.pdf

You can read a great FAQ about the new system at http://www.ctunet.com/quest-center/research/teacher-evaluation/pera-faq

Jobs-wise, what does this mean for school clerks?

May 14, 2012 at 10:18 AM

By: Carol Caref

Error in Battelle for Kids headline

Battelle for Kids is making a lot of money, because school systems around the country are using value added as part of teacher evaluation. Value added is an unreliable measure, but to give it the appearance of accuracy, the students need to be matched to the right teacher and issues like the amount of time students spend in various teachers’ classes need to be addressed. The only way to do this is ask the teacher to verify the information stored on the computer. Hence, roster verification! This takes teachers time to do, as if they don’t already have enough work, and has other problems associated with it, as explained in the article and the comments.

However, Battelle for Kids is not in charge of teacher evaluation in Chicago. It is not even in charge of value added of Chicago. Likely, VARC, Wisconsin’s Value Added Research Center, will develop the statistical model for CPS to use to determine how much “value” each teacher “adds” to their students. For more information about the new CPS teacher evaluation system, go to the CTU webpage or use this link: http://www.ctunet.com/quest-center/research/teacher-evaluation/pera-faq. Through this link you will also find information about the May 30 event co-sponsored by CTU and held at DePaul University, featuring nationally known expert critic on value added, Jesse Rothstein.

Carol Caref

January 11, 2016 at 2:22 PM

By: Clifton Hudson

Battelle for Kids

Carol is 100% correct. Battelle for Kids is making a lot of money through their roster verification services . . . A LOT of money!

As an educator, it's just one more thing I'm required to do - I wonder what the teaching profession would be like if I was just permitted to teach without all of the extra crap!

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