An overhaul of the district’s career education programs seeks to make classes more challenging and put career-track students on the path to higher ed, but many schools have lost programs, and fewer students are participating overall.
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CPS to announce new teacher evaluations, says union
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CPS officials are expected to announce the district's new teacher evaluation system Friday, including a plan for incorporating test scores as part of evaluations, Chicago Teachers Union negotiators said Thursday night.
Because legally mandated negotiations between the union and the district had been going on since December- well past the minimum 90-day period specified in state law - the district is now free to implement the evaluation procedures it most recently discussed with the union.
"I have mixed feelings, and I think it remains to be seen how this will play out," said Carol Caref, coordinator of the CTU's Quest Center. "We felt like it was better than what they started with, but there were many things in it we did not agree with."
She noted that the union had gotten some concessions from the district but still has concerns about the fact that teachers cannot appeal their ratings, which under the law can affect layoff decisions and even cause some teachers to lose their licenses.
The union is also concerned about the use of value-added ratings as part of evaluations--essentially incorporating test scores into the equation--although state law mandates that at least 25 percent of teacher evaluations be based on student performance this year and 30 percent in later years.
By law, CPS must use the new evaluations in at least 300 schools by this fall and the remainder of the district by fall 2013.
The district's plan for ratings in 2012-13, according to Caref, is as follows:
--Elementary teachers' ratings would be based 75 percent on observations under the Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching, 15 percent on the individual teachers' value-added scores on the NWEA assessment, and 10 percent on non-multiple-choice student performance assessments designed by teachers.
--In this example, teachers would be rated on a scale of up to 400 points. A teacher would get 10 to 40 points for performance assessments, and 75 to 300 points for their rating on the Danielson observation.
--The value-added points would be parceled out according to how far above or below average a teacher is.
--Teachers earning 100 to 219 points would be rated unsatisfactory. Those earning 220 to 284 points would be rated needs improvement. Those garnering 285 to 339 points would be rated proficient and those with at least 340 points would get a rating of excellent.
--Elementary teachers in subjects that are not tested, and in kindergarten through 2nd grade, will have 15 percent of their ratings determined by the performance assessments, and 10 percent by school-wide value-added scores for literacy.
--High school teachers in core subjects will have 90 percent of their ratings based on the Danielson framework, and 10 percent based on student performance assessments.
However, the high school rating system is likely to change dramatically in the future because it does not meet the minimum criteria set by the Illinois State Board of Education for the new evaluations under the Performance Evaluation Reform Act.
It is not clear yet how much the new rating system will cost, but CPS is hiring up to 18 central office employees to help train evaluators and make sure the new ratings are accurate. The advertised salary for the position is $78,700 to $111,000.