Emanuel touts merit pay for principals with false claim about another Rahm 'first', dubious criteria... Full list of principals provided

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called another major publicity stunt media event on October 29, 2012, to promote his merit pay plan for principals in the city's public and charter schools, unveil some dubious criteria for awarding the money (in the form of checks for $5,000, $10,000 and $20,000 to individual principals), and claim again a historical "first" for his administration that isn't.

Flanked by the latest "Chief Executive Officer" for Chicago's public schools, Barbara Byrd Bennett (gold and grey outfit to the mayor's right) and a stairwell filled with smiling principals, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told the press at a media event at Lowell Elementary School that his administration was awarding merit pay checks to 82 outstanding principals. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. The event was staged at James Russell Lowell Elementary School on the city's northwest side and was mandatory for the 82 principals receiving the awards and for the school system's two dozen network chiefs (called this year, "Chiefs of Schools"; two years ago, "Chief Area Officers"; and two years before that, "Area Instructional Officers") and more than a dozen City Hall and CPS propagandists who stage manage such events. Bit players included the usual broadcast journalists, who ask uncritical questions and then report the mayor's words as facts.

In announcing the awards, Emanuel told the press that his merit pay plan for principals was "the first time ever we've given a performance based bonus" [editor's note: merit pay] in Chicago. Just in case someone missed his claim, the mayor, reading from prepared remarks, repeated a minute later: "It's never been done before."

The merit pay included both charter schools and elementary schools. Three of the ten high schools were charter schools.

The official press release issued by the Mayor's Press Office follows:

"MAYOR EMANUEL AND CPS CEO BARBARA BYRD-BENNETT ANNOUNCE FIRST RECIPIENTS OF PRINCIPAL PERFORMANCE PAY. 82 Principals From Across the District Recognized and Rewarded for Driving Exceptional Outcomes for Students

"Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett today recognized 82 principals from across the district as the first recipients of principal performance pay, part of the groundbreaking Chicago Leadership Collaborative initiative the Mayor announced last fall that works to provide support and training for principals as well as reward them for building school environments that drive student success. These principals are building the foundations within their schools that drive student success, as demonstrated by exceptional growth shown by their students over the course of the last school year.

Most of the 82 principals who received the Rahm Emanuel merit pay recognitions at Lowell school on October 29, 2012, lined up dutifully on the stairs above the mayor's portable podium to await the media event City Hall had scheduled. Although a quick count showed that fewer than 60 were visible, some were unable to get into the photograph and nobody took attendance. Following the mayor's arrival, the principals cheered on cue for the mayor, for CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett, and for Board member Mahalia Hines. Hines constantly reminds the world that she is a "former principals" and that anyone who disagrees with Board policies or the Mayor's program is probably a racist. “We hold our principals accountable for the gains or losses our students are making within their schools. Providing the training, support and resources our principals need to help our students thrive goes hand-in-hand with rewarding those with outstanding results,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Across the board, my administration is working to increase accountability so we can see the improved performance and drive results that taxpayers deserve to see; in schools, our principals are responsible for creating an environment within their schools that leads to student success, and we will maintain high expectations for this success.”

"In November, Mayor Emanuel and CPS announced the formation of the Chicago Leadership Collaborative to help provide professional development, training, differentiated coaching and support for every principal in the district, working in tandem with the creation of Networks led by “Chiefs” of schools, which allow more personalized and targeted professional support and mentoring for principals.

“When I was a teacher, no one was more valuable to the work I did than my principal – they are the heart of every school and are the ties that bind the support systems at every school,” said CPS CEO Bennett. “Today we are recognizing and rewarding those that have built some of the best support systems across our district that are pushing our students towards success.”

"The performance awards are supported by donations from Chicago’s philanthropic community, with a total of $5 million designed to support awards over the course of 5 years. Principals were selected to receive achievement awards based on metrics developed over months of discussions with CPS principals.

“Over the past year, our students have achieved major accomplishments, posting record growth in math and reading scores, reaching the highest average ACT score on record, and hitting the highest graduation rate and lowest drop-out rates on record, and one of the ways we can continue to build on these is through maintaining a high level of accountability among our principals for student growth and success,” added Mayor Emanuel.

The 19 CPS 'Chiefs of Schools' (each one heads something called a "Network", which is what used to be called "areas") were also lined up to cheer Rahm Emanuel's merit pay program for principals. The group also included a couple of charter school administrators and the "Chief of Chiefs", a guy named Steve Gering who was brought into Chicago as a consultant from out of town and quickly promoted during the Jean-Claude Brizard administration to what is being called the "Chief of Chiefs." "Out of the 82 principals recognized this year, 72 were elementary school principals and 10 were high school principals. Achievement factors included student college readiness and graduation rate, two critical pieces in providing students a better opportunity for success, as well as decreasing the achievement gap among students and growth in student test scores. Achievement was determined based on the student growth that was demonstrated among schools at similar levels and across the same grades (for instance, student growth at the high school level was not compared with student growth at the elementary school level). These factors will be revisited regularly to ensure they are current, accurate and fair indicators of success.

“As a former principal, I know first-hand the ups and downs that these school leaders face every day and the hard work it takes to support teachers, staff and students in each and every room of their buildings,” said Dr. Mahalia Hines, member of the Chicago Board of Education and President of the COMMON Ground Foundation. “Achievements at every level should be recognized and I commend these principals on the strides they have made in creating a brighter future for their students.”

"There are three levels of achievement awards: demonstrated student growth in two of the four factors merited an award of $5,000; demonstrated student growth in three of the four factors merited an award of $10,000; and demonstrated student growth across the board, in all four factors, merited an award of $20,000.

"The Emanuel administration is implementing similar efforts to link performance and accountability across City departments and agencies. For example, in September, the City Colleges of Chicago announced a new contract with their full-time faculty that included “student success pay,” in which up to 1 percent of salary per year will be tied to increases in student outcomes, rewarding faculty, training specialists and student-facing professionals based on state-developed metrics such as student outcomes, transfer rates, completion rates and students’ rate of employment in their field of study. Additionally, the administration last year implemented managed competition in recycling services, leading the City to spend $2.2 million less than projected in only 6 months and expand this strategy to tree trimming and street marking. This past September, Mayor Emanuel announced an innovative new agreement to reduce costs and improve services at O’Hare International Airport through competitive bidding; and in October, the Mayor announced a City employee wellness challenge, in which City employees in Chicago and San Antonio are eligible for cash rewards in a friendly competition aimed at increasing the health of employees, thereby decreasing their health care costs to taxpayers."

Neither the mayor nor Barbara Byrd-Bennett explained the criteria used to evaluate the schools and make the awards. As usual, Emanuel talked about "transparency" while increasing ways in which CPS is ignoring and avoiding real transparency. CPS Communications officials, after having expanded the size of the Board of Education's propaganda department to three times the size under Emanuel's predecessor, refuse to provide Substance with any press material regularly provided to the corporate media in Chicago. At the same time, the Board's Law Department is refusing to answer all Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Most dramatically, for nearly a year CPS has refused to provide the public with copies of the CPS "Position File." The Position File is the core document that lists all current full-time and part-time workers at CPS. Substance has been receiving the Position Files from CPS since 1987, with a brief exception during the time that Ron Huberman was CEO of CPS (Huberman's administration eventually corrected the error).

Although Chicago's current mayor, Rahm Emanuel, claimed in 2012 that his administration was the first to award principals with merit pay (called "performance pay" in 2012), merit pay schemes have been around Chicago's schools for more than a decade. Above, on December 11, 2008, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley (center) joined then U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings in awarding merit pay to principals and teachers in a carefully staged media event at Chicago's Westcott Elementary School. At the podium above is then Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.He then went into a lengthy list of claims which he maintained were firsts for Chicago public schools since his administration took over eighteen months ago.

The Mayor's Press Office provided Substance with the list of merit pay principals, which follows.

FIRST RECIPIENTS OF PRINCIPAL PERFORMANCE PAY. 82 Principals From Across the District Recognized and Rewarded for Driving Exceptional Outcomes for Students

Elementary School Principals

1. Demetrius Bunch ARMSTRONG, L

2. Estuardo Mazin BARRY

3. Sandra Caudill BELL

4. Troy LaRaviere BLAINE

5. Staci Bennett BRADWELL

6. Christopher Brake BRIDGE

7. Donald Morris BURROUGHS

8. Joe Piela CHAPPELL

9. Barton Dassinger CHAVEZ

10. Christy Krier CICS-BUCKTOWN



13. Greg Zurawski COONLEY

14. Bud Bryant CULLEN

15. Susan Kukielka DECATUR

16. Kathleen Hagstrom DISNEY

17. Elizabeth Alvarez DORE

18. Pamela Creed DULLES

19. Chandra Byrd-Wright DUNNE TECH ACAD

20. Janice Kepka EDGEBROOK

21. Shirley Scott ELLINGTON

22. Brian Metcalfe FIELD

23. Cynthia Miller FISKE

24. Barbara Kargas GOETHE

25. Yvette Curington GOLDBLATT

26. Donella Carter GREGORY

27. James Gray HAMILTON

28. Alfonso Carmona HEALY

29. Jacqueline Hearns HEFFERAN

30. Juliana Perisin HENDRICKS

31. Mable Alfred HIGGINS

32. Pam Brunson-Allen HINTON

33. Matthew Ditto JACKSON, A

34. Catherine Jernigan JENSEN

35. Alice Henry JOHNSON

36. Delena Little KELLER

37. Brenda Browder KELLMAN

38. Elisabeth Huertefeu LASALLE

39. Tracey Stelly LAVIZZO

40. Mark Armendariz LINCOLN

41. Gladys Rivera LOWELL

42. Carolyn Epps MARCONI

43. Jo Easterling-Hood MCDOWELL

44. Nancy Hanks MELODY

45. Julious Lawson MONTEFIORE

46. Catherine Reidy MOUNT GREENWOOD

47. Sonia Caban MOZART

48. Estee Kelly NOBLE STREET - COMER

49. Renee Blahuta NORWOOD PARK

50. Elias Estrada ORIOLE PARK

51. Stanley Griggs OWEN

52. Hassan Okab PECK

53. Vicky Kleros PEREZ

54. Kelly Moore POE

55. Angela Johnson-Williams PROVIDENCE - BUNCHE

56. Pat Baccellieri PULASKI

57. Ana Espinoza SANDOVAL

58. Isamar Vargas SAUCEDO

59. Christine Munns SAUGANASH

60. Suzana Ustabecir SAYRE

61. Deborah Clark SKINNER

62. W. Delores Robinson SUMNER

63. Sean Clayton TILTON

64. Sabrina Jackson TURNER-DREW

65. Molly Robinson UNO - SANDRA CISNEROS

66. Joann Lerman UNO - FUENTES

67. Martin Masterson UNO - PAZ

68. Krish Mohip WALSH

69. Relanda Hobbs WARD, L

70. Dina Everage WENTWORTH

71. Mary Beth Cunat WILDWOOD

72. Tamara Littlejohn WOODSON

Mayor Emanuel present a certificate for $20,000 in merit pay to Keller school principal Delena Little during the October 29 media event. The mayor refused to provide reporters and the public with the criteria under which the awards were made, or to reveal the source of the funds that were used to pay for them. One of the questions raised by some of those receiving the award was how principals who had been at schools less than two years could validly take credit for improvements which required long-term planning and work. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.High School Principals


2. Yashika Tippett AIR FORCE HS

3. Patty Brekke INFINITY HS

4. Chris Jones MATHER HS


6. Mary Dolan RICHARDS HS

7. Sue Lofton SENN HS

8. Todd Yarch VOISE HS

9. Joyce Kenner WHITNEY YOUNG HS