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  • The ABCs of the Chicago teachers’ strike: New evaluation system

The ABCs of the Chicago teachers’ strike: New evaluation system


The ABCs of the Chicago teachers’ strike: New evaluation system looms large

Chicago teacher Alma Hill walks a picket line outside Benjamin Banneker Elementary School …On Monday morning, 350,000 kids in Chicago found themselves without a classroom to bustle about as the city's teachers went on their first strike in 25 years. The sticking point? A new teacher evaluation system.

While Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the local teachers' union disagree on a long list of issues, including planned pay raises and sick day accrual, Emanuel said in a press conference Monday afternoon that the evaluation is the main obstacle to agreement. chinesisches The new system would eventually use students' standardized test scores as 40 percent of a teacher's yearly evaluation. Teachers who don't improve their students' test scores would be fired.

Many Democrats, including Emanuel's former boss President Barack Obama, embrace this test-based way of judging educators. The president's "Race to the Top" federal program awarded money to states that agreed to rate teachers this way and institute other reforms, like encouraging the creation of more independent charter schools. As of last October, teachers can be dismissed in 14 states based on their students' test scores.

Union supporters argue that evaluating teachers using tests can be tricky, and that this "value-added" measurement can be volatile and inaccurate. Additionally, teachers who have a high proportion of poor students may have a harder time lifting their kids' scores than teachers who work in affluent districts. (About 80 percent of Chicago students qualify for free or reduced federal lunches.) As many as 6,000 teachers would wrongly lose their jobs under the system, says Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Karen Lewis. "Evaluate us on what we do, not the lives of our children we do not control," she said while announcing the strike, according to Reuters. But reformers counter that teachers should be responsible for helping their students score better on tests, and that current evaluation systems provide no way for ineffective teachers to be identified or removed from classrooms.

While Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the local teachers' union disagree on a long list of issues, including planned pay raises and sick day accrual, Emanuel said in a press conference Monday afternoon that the evaluation is the main obstacle to agreement. chinesisches baycherry.info/">chinesisches The new system would eventually use students' standardized test scores as 40 percent of a teacher's yearly evaluation. Teachers who don't improve their students' test scores would be fired.