New Legislation to Base Evaluation on “Performance” of Teachers

[I guess perform is a good word here.  Like actors perform, trying to make you believe that what you see on stage or screen is real.  Performance is measured by how the students also “perform” — on the high stakes tests which permeate the school year.  Like the actors at the front of the classroom, the students perform in a way to convince you that what they have done in the past period of time is learn.  All the world’s a stage, and all the teachers and students merely actors, and so forth.  In the article in Substance News that follows, George Schmidt traces the source of this new bill  to the Billionaire Boys Club that is set on transforming education into a privatized fiefdom.  Significantly, as the article also shows, City Clerk of Chicago  Miguel del Valle is the first mayoral candidate to speak against this “reform.”  Del Valle was a consistent participant in the movement to elect Harold Washington mayor in Chicago and, as State Senator in 1988, was a architect of the legislation that created the elected local school councils. And guess what?  There is no room for elected local school councils in the privatized fiefdom of the Billionaire Boys Club.  Del Valle’s press release can be found on the Substance News site at the end of the article. — Lew Rosenbaum]

substance: defending the public schools for over 30 years

Opposes ‘scapegoating’ Chicago teachers… Miguel Del Valle becomes first Chicago mayoral candidate to oppose the ‘Performance Counts’ legislation funded in Illinois by the ‘Billionaire Boys Club

George N. Schmidt – December 22, 2010

Chicago City Clerk and mayoral candidate Miguel DelValle has become the first Chicago mayoral candidate to firmly oppose the so-called ‘Performance Counts Act.’ The proposed

Chicago City Clerk Miguel Del Valle (above right) became the first mayoral candidate to reject the union busting legislation funded by corporate school reformers for Illinois. Above, Del Valle answering a question during the mayoral forum sponsored by the Chicago Teachers Union on December 16, 2010, the first day of the two days of hearings on the plutocrats' latest attack on public school teachers in the name of corporate "reform." Seated beside Del Valle above is Carol Moseley Braun, also a candidate for mayor who took part in the December 16 CTU forum. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.

legislation was pushed into the lame duck legislative session in Springfield after House Speaker Michael Madigan created a thing called the ‘School Reform Committee’ to fast track the legislation between now and January 6, 2011. Madigan’s enthusiasm for the latest iteration of corporate “school reform” came after a group called “Stand for Children”, based in Oregon, funneled more than $600,000 into the recent election campaigns between October 1, 2010 and November 2, 2010 (election day).

Stand for Children, which only opened its Illinois office in December 2010, contributed $100,000 each in October 2010 to two Democratic legislators who are now on Madigan’s “school reform committee” — Jehan Gordon of Peoria and Keith Farnham. The group’s funding comes almost exclusively from some of the wealthiest people in the USA, although it claims to have a “grass roots” base, and the money that was poured into Illinois politics in October 2010 came from “Stand for Children” offices in Oregon and Massachusetts. When Substance tried to located the Illinois Stand for Children during the first week of December 2010, directory assistance said the group had no phone number in Chicago or Springfield. It is a “501c4” group, meaning it can distribute money without having to reveal the source of its dollars.

 

Like “Advance Illinois,” which reportedly drafted the proposed act with Stand for Children, Stand for Children claims to be a non-partisan group that’s only interested in what’s best for children. But its ability to make campaign contributions far above anything ordinary teachers might make (Stand for Children was the largest contributor to the re-election campaigns of Jehan Gordon and Keith Farnham) stems from the fact that its money — like the money behind Advance Illinois — comes from millionaires and billionaires.

 

Michael Madigan’s hastily formed “school reform” committee, which held hearings in Aurora Illinois on December 16 and December 17, 2010, featured “reform” groups, which are massively funded by corporations and foundations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “Advance Illinois” and “Stand for Children” were given preferential treatment during the hearings by both the Democratic co-chair (Linda Chapa La Via) and the Republican co-chair (Roger Eddy), while actual grass roots local groups were snubbed and members of the committee (such as Karen Yarbrough) were allowed to launch into teacher bashing and union busting tirades during the hearings.

Chicago City Clerk Miguel Del Valle was interviewed following the Chicago Teachers Union mayoral forum by Steinmetz High School student reporters (left to right) From left, Steinmetz Star reporters: Eunice Dimas, Regina Crawford, Alyssa Sanchez, and Danielle Brumley. The reporters are from the Steinmetz Star, and award winning school newspaper from Steinmetz, a general public high school on Chicago's northwest side. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.

Advance Illinois director Robin Steans (the millionaire sister of State Senator Heather Steans) gave the primary testimony on behalf of the bill on both days of the hearings. On the second day of the hearings, she was aided in her testimony by R. Eden Martin, who has been trying to force the privatization of Chicago’s public schools from his position as chairman of the education committee of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago.  Read the rest of this story and Del Valle’s statement by clicking this link.

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3 Responses to “New Legislation to Base Evaluation on “Performance” of Teachers”

  1. Michael G. Says:

    There is so much teacher bashing in the US atm. Why isn’t there more scrutiny on administrators?

    • Lew Rosenbaum Says:

      There is no short answer to this question outside the flip comment that the fox is in charge of the hen house. The Commercial Club of Chicago has decided that the “business model” is best for education. One of the chief obstacles in the way of achieving the privatization goal is the organization of teachers, the CTU. The most effective way to undermine the power of the CTU is to bash the members of the CTU as incompetent. The most effective way to do that is “performance based” evaluations. You cannot expect the Commercial Club of Chicago to scrutinize the administrators in any other way than to measure how well administration is achieving the goal of achieving privatization. The fox is out to rob the hen house, not to improve the quality of the hens.


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