The public teachers of Chicago are on strike! The Associated Press reported today that, “For the first time in a quarter-century, thousands of Chicago teachers walked off the job Monday, escalating a bitter contract dispute over evaluations and job security and forcing parents to scramble for somewhere to send idle children.”
Both sides went back to the bargaining table around midday, hours after the walkout began when the two sides failed to agree on a contract before a midnight deadline. The strike affected nearly 400,000 public school students and their families in the nation’s third-largest district. http://entertainment.verizon.com/news/read.php?rip_id=%3CDA16TVOG3%40new…)
The primary disagreement appears to be teacher job security in the wake of a new program that evaluates teachers based on students’ standardized test scores. Chicago Teachers Union board member Jay Rehak called the idea “data-driven madness.”
As many as 6,000 teachers could lose their jobs under the evaluation system, according to Lewis, who called the system “unacceptable.” The mayor’s office, the city of Chicago, and school officials have questioned that job loss figure. http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/10/us/illinois-chicago-teachers-strike/index….
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis stated,” “This is no way to measure the effectiveness of an educator,” Lewis said Sunday. “Further, there are too many factors beyond our control which impact how well some students perform on standardized tests such as poverty, exposure to violence, homelessness, hunger and other social issues beyond our control.” http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/10/us/illinois-chicago-teachers-strike/index….
President Lewis has made an excellent point. Every child does not score well on standardized exams for many reasons beyond what Lewis claims. One particular reason may be test anxiety which can occur across all socioeconomic classes. Should an excellent teacher lose their job when they have no control over a child’s ability to control their anxiety?
Teachers should be evaluated based on more than standardized tests. In fact, many researchers have argued that these tests are culturally biased http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=35935. What happened to evaluating teachers based on a child’s social development and grades?
Get ready substitutes because this could be a long drawn out strike!