New York , NY — The New Teacher Project (TNTP) today released the results of an extensive analysis of the teacher hiring and school staffing rules and processes in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). TNTP´s research suggests that Chicago faces many challenges common to urban school districts in its efforts to secure high-quality teachers, but also that the district benefits significantly from an unusually effective set of school staffing policies. The analysis was funded by the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation.
The New Teacher Project´s research involved an in-depth examination of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) contract with CPS, interviews with school principals and district administrators, and surveys of principals, teachers, and prospective teachers. The organization´s final analysis shows that:
1. Chicago is able to attract a large applicant pool of prospective teachers, but loses quality candidates who grow frustrated with a late hiring timeline;
2. The majority of teachers and principals are satisfied with the current teacher transfer and reassignment processes;
3. Top-performing teachers are vulnerable to being displaced because of a reassignment policy based on seniority rather than teacher quality or school fit; and
4. The current CPS teacher performance evaluation system does not distinguish strong performers and is ineffective at identifying poor performers and dismissing them from Chicago schools.
The analysis is especially critical of Chicago´s flawed teacher evaluation system, noting that only 3 in 1000 teachers are rated "unsatisfactory" and that 88 percent of CPS schools–even those in which students are not succeeding–have not issued a single unsatisfactory rating in the last four years. "In failing schools in particular, one would expect to see unsatisfactory teacher evaluations, given that those schools are not achieving positive results or progress for students," the study´s authors wrote. "However, of 87 failing schools studied, 69 (79 percent) did not issue a single unsatisfactory rating between 2003 and 2005."
On the other hand, CPS drew praise for hiring teachers based on mutual consent. "Chicago Public Schools stands out from many other urban school districts in that it requires mutual consent of both teacher and principal in its school staffing policies," noted Timothy Daly, President of New Teacher Project. "No teacher is slotted into a position without freely accepting it, and principals are not forced to hire teachers whom they do not want."
Daly urged officials to adopt the report´s recommendations to fix other aspects of the CPS system. "CPS and CTU officials now have the opportunity to work together on important new steps such as hiring teachers more efficiently; implementing a reassignment policy based on quality, not seniority; and putting in place a fair and rigorous performance evaluation process," said Daly.
Ariela Rozman, CEO of The New Teacher Project, praised district and union leaders for working together to achieve sensible staffing policies. "We commend Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union for their hard work on behalf of teachers and students," said Rozman. "Although there is certainly room for improvement, in our judgment Chicago is one of the nation´s leading urban school districts in terms of the implementation of staffing policies and procedures that put the needs of students first. Chicago´s success in this respect is the direct result of the commitment and collaboration of CPS and the CTU."
The New Teacher Project´s full analysis and an executive summary are available on the organization´s website, at http://www.tntp.org/ourresearch/otherpublications.html.
About The New Teacher Project
The New Teacher Project (TNTP) is a nonprofit consulting organization dedicated to increasing the number of outstanding individuals who become public school teachers and to creating environments for all educators that maximize their impact on student achievement. TNTP strives to accomplish these goals by creating innovative teacher recruitment and hiring programs, identifying the obstacles that school districts face to hiring the best teachers possible, partnering with school districts to optimize their teacher hiring and school staffing functions, and developing new and better ways to prepare and certify teachers.
Since 1997, TNTP has recruited, prepared or certified approximately 23,000 high-quality teachers, worked with over 200 school districts, and established more than 40 programs in 23 states. TNTP has also published two major studies on teacher hiring and school staffing in urban areas: Missed Opportunities: How We Keep High-Quality Teachers Out of Urban Classrooms (2003) and Unintended Consequences: The Case for Reforming the Staffing Rules in Urban Teachers Union Contracts (2005). Among others, TNTP´s clients include the school districts of Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Memphis, Miami, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC and the states of Louisiana and Texas. For more information, please visit www.tntp.org.
About the Joyce Foundation
Based in Chicago with assets of $935 million, the Joyce Foundation supports efforts to improve the quality of life in the Great Lakes region. It invests approximately $8 million annually in work to improve public education in the Midwest, especially by improving the quality of teachers in low-performing schools.