88 local academics oppose CPS teacher evaluation tied to test scores

UPDATE: CReATE press release:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                              Contact:  Kevin Kumashiro
March 27, 2012                                                                                                                                          312-996-8530


“The proposed changes not only lack a sound research basis, but in some instances have already proven to be harmful,” concluded CReATE, a volunteer group of local education professors and researchers, about a new system the City plans to implement this fall to evaluate teachers and principals in at least half its 600 schools.

In January 2010, the Illinois Legislature approved inclusion by 2016 of “student growth” as a significant portion of teacher and principal evaluation.  CPS successfully lobbied for permission to begin four years earlier than most other districts in the state.

“Over a year ago, we began issuing reports to contrast CPS’s approaches to school reform with the research,” noted Kevin Kumashiro at a recent news conference on the University of Illinois-Chicago campus, where he is a professor.  “These messages similarly frame our open letter about teacher evaluation,” signed by 88 faculty members from 15 area universities and delivered to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and the Chicago School Board.

CReATE called upon school authorities to first pilot the new system – as New Jersey did for several years with ultimate success. Tennessee did not, with disastrous results.  Assured Kumashiro, “There’s no need to rush.”

Several speakers referred to “large-scale educational testing” as a relic of the industrial revolution.  “In today’s globalized, information-based economy, ‘student growth’ must be more meaningfully defined and assessed,” stated Isabel Nunez, associate professor at Concordia University Chicago.

Nunez considers “frightening” the current misapplication of assessment instruments and criticized the new CPS evaluation system for “breaking some of the most fundamental principles of measurement.”

Active in several local and national parent groups focused on education, Julie Woestehoff reported grassroots support for resisting the federally funded push to tie teacher jobs and compensation to test scores.

“Teacher evaluation is not just a contractual issue,” Woestehoff reminds. “It is an issue of educational quality that will have just as much impact on our children as it will on their teachers.  The experts are warning us today that CPS is moving in the wrong direction.”

For more information, visit www.createchicago.blogspot.com.

I will be speaking  Monday at the CReATE press conference:


March 23, 2012





CReATE, a volunteer group of local education professors and researchers, will detail their concerns about a planned Chicago Public Schools evaluation system at an 11:00 a.m. news conference Monday, March 26, at the Hull House Museum, 800 S. Halsted St.

They will present a letter, signed by nearly 100 academics from 15 area universities, delivered to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and the Chicago School Board.  It calls the evaluation system scheduled to begin in the 2012-2013 school year flawed and in need of piloting.

The Illinois State Legislature approved In January 2010 an amendment to the Illinois School Code, known as the Performance Evaluation Review Act (PERA), which requires districts to include “student growth” as a significant portion of teacher and principal evaluation.  While most of the state does not have to implement a new evaluation plan for teachers until 2016, CPS successfully lobbied for the law to permit an earlier September 2012 date for at least 300 of its schools.

“The new evaluation system for teachers and principals centers on misconceptions about student growth, with potentially negative impact on the education of Chicago’s children,” the educators say.  “We believe it is our ethical obligation to raise awareness about how the proposed changes not only lack a sound research basis, but in some instances have already proven to be harmful.”

CReATE conducts, reviews, and distributes studies to address the needs of students, parents and schools, as well as promotes citywide learning and dialogue about educational issues through free public events.  Members have previously expressed concerns about CPS choosing directions with little to no evidence of effectiveness.

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Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.
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