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Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sun Sep 26th 2010, 12:23 PM
It seems Chicago's laid off teachers were told to apply online instead of with individual schools. It was said to be more efficient that way.

About half of the teachers have had their applications marked "not recommended" or "recommended with reservation", and they had no idea why.

More from the Chicago Public Radio site.

Some laid-off teachers applying for jobs in Chicago Public Schools have complained they can’t get hired. Maybe a secret rating system has something to do with it.

PRICE: Just recently on Monday, I went for an interview at a school, and the principal was going to the online application. When she pulled it down, she said, “Mmm. Something’s wrong.’ She said, ‘Williette, I need to let you see this.’ On my application—online application— there was ‘not recommended.’”

That designation was put there by a teacher Price doesn’t know, who’s never seen her teach or looked at how well any of her students has done in the past.

Chicago Public Schools says it’s using 30 reviewers—all top-notch, National Board Certified teachers—to look over its online teacher applications. They’ve so far reviewed 4,000 applications and added a designation to each one. Winckler said reviewers are trained and are using a rubric developed several years ago by CPS and The New Teacher Project. That’s a national group dedicated to getting high quality teachers into needy schools.

The New Teacher Project? Let's talk about that a minute. That's the group that was founded by Michelle Rhee.

The New Teacher Project (TNTP) is a United States non-profit organization founded by Michelle Rhee.

The New Teacher Project (TNTP) is a national nonprofit dedicated to closing the achievement gap by ensuring that high-need students get outstanding teachers. Founded by teachers in 1997, TNTP partners with school districts and states to implement scalable responses to their most acute teacher quality challenges. Since its inception, TNTP has trained or hired approximately 37,000 teachers, benefiting an estimated 5.9 million students nationwide. It has established more than 75 programs and initiatives in 31 states and published four seminal studies on urban teacher hiring and school staffing.

NYC has paid that group a lot of money to recruit teachers for them...while all the while they were laying off experienced teachers. From earlier this year:

The city may lay off 8,500 teachers, but education officials still want approval for a contract of up to $5 million a year to recruit even more teachers.

The agency's Panel for Educational Policy will vote later this month on the hefty contract, but already critics are questioning the need to spend money to recruit during a time of layoffs.

"We should put a freeze on any spending related to new hiring. We should not even be going through the expense of negotiating a contract now," said Patrick Sullivan, the panel's Manhattan representative.

Since 2000, the New Teacher Project has contracted with the city to recruit New York City Teaching Fellows. For this school year, the group received $2.8 million for recruiting 705 teachers.

Just imagine! A city can hire teachers for free by interviews at the local level. It boggles my mind how they get away with paying groups like New Teacher Project or Teach for America such huge amounts to hire teachers.

Now we find out this group had developed a method in which teachers are able to rate other teachers, yet the other teachers don't know who is doing it.

The Chicago Public Schools tried to explain the new rating that was catching teachers and their union unaware.

CPS Explains Secret Teacher Rating System

Chicago Public Schools started a new online application system for teaching jobs this year… in the past teachers have applied to individual schools. CPS says that’s inefficient, and it often leaves principals in the poorest neighborhoods with few candidates to choose from.

But teachers applying in the online system say they had NO IDEA they would be graded based on the online application. That application asks for basic information about education and experience, and poses four open-ended questions about teaching.

The district paid 30 of its best teachers to review 4,000 applications in their off hours. Ten percent of the applications received the lowest grade—"Not Recommended." Some receiving that designation have taught in CPS for years but were laid off this summer in budget cuts.

Here is a comment after the last article by one of the "evaluators" supposedly. Sounds like there has been a lot of game-playing going on by officials of the CPS.

Saturday, September 25, 2010 @ 5:57 PM

I was one of the evaluators. The records we accessed included the following: 1) Resume. 2) Answers to 4 application questions: a) Why are you interested in urban education and/or Chicago Public Schools? b) Please describe a lesson you have taught or observed that was extremely successful. How was student achievement measured? Please be as specific as possible. c) Describe a time when you were not successful in the classroom or at another job. What went wrong? How would you approach the situation differently next time? d) Describe your experience working with students with special needs. Please provide a specific example where you differentiated your instruction. CPS informed us we would be evaluating *new* teacher candidates and that our evaluation was intended to assist principals in identifying promising candidates from a huge pool of applicants. We had no idea these preliminary ratings would be utilized after teachers were interviewed and offered jobs. That is a completely inappropriate use of these most basic ratings. The process reminds me a bit of the high stakes testing that takes place in schools right now: no one really knows what will be on the exam, but we're supposed to prepare for it anyway. The rubrics we used to evaluate candidates were not made available to the applicants. That also is inappropriate. These candidates should have been informed of how they would be evaluated, but they were not. The intent of these evaluations is reasonable: help principals prioritize when confronted with a massive quantity of applications. That process would have taken place one way or another. But, as is often the case in CPS, the implementation and real world application of that strategy was twisted and manipulated and the Board failed to be honest and up front with both the evaluators and the candidates. I feel duped.

I can guarantee to that evaluator that teachers who have taught for years, then laid off, then find out a secret method has found them "not recommended".....are feeling "duped" big time as well.

Some extra special teacher that never even saw them teach, never came into their classroom....just pronounced judgment on them from on high.

These underhanded tactics are being allowed to occur and grow because of the new atmosphere formed nationally toward public school teachers by the guy who started all the reforms in Chicago...Arne Duncan.

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