CPS-CTU Contract Q&A 

How does the new contract benefit CPS students?
This is a contract that puts students and their academic success first. Elements that support students and their academic achievement include:

  • A full quality school day—a 7 hour day for elementary students, and a 7 ½ hour day for high school students—that provides all students with a high quality school day that is well-rounded, with more time for reading, math, science, world languages and enrichment such as arts, music and physical education. Additionally, all elementary students now have a full lunch and recess, giving them the time they need to reboot and return to the classroom ready to learn.
  • A full school year with 10 additional days of student instruction, ending one of the shortest school years in the country.
  • A new teacher evaluation system designed by teachers and built to support teachers. The new system provides teachers with the tools and support needed to improve their practice and student achievement.
  • Empowering principals to hire high quality teachers they believe will best meet the unique needs of their students and support their growth.
  • Expanding high quality school choices for parents including STEM schools, International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, charter schools and selective enrollment.

 

Does the new contract include raises for teachers?
Yes. This contract recognizes and respects the hard work of teachers. Teachers will receive a fair pay raise each year with COLA, lanes and a modified step system reformed to incent retention of more experienced teachers. Further, the board will continue to fund 7% of the required 9% employee pension contribution for teachers.

 

How is the compensation system different? 
The compensation system will continue to recognize teaching experience and advanced teacher education, certification and training. The system has been adjusted to encourage more experienced teachers to stay in the system, while also allowing for short and long term savings.

 

Will teachers need to pay more for health benefits?
No. Members will continue to get the same health care coverage and their contribution rates will be frozen. Like the nearly 40,000 City employees and all CPS employees who have already signed up for the Wellness Program, members will join the program at no cost.

 

How will teachers be supported during maternity leave or illness?
For the first time ever, the Board will offer short-term disability to all CTU members at no cost to the employee, which will include paid maternity leave. Members will no longer need to use sick days to take time off needed for the birth of a child, or for scheduled surgery or other major illness.

 

Why do we need a new teacher evaluation system?
CPS’ teacher evaluation system is one that has remained unchanged for the past 40 years. We heard directly from teachers that this 40 year old checklist of items was not serving their needs as educators, or providing them with meaningful feedback and support needed to improve their practice. If there is not a rigorous evaluation system in place, CPS can’t provide teachers with the tools and supports they need to better support their professional development and ultimately student achievement.

 

How was the new teacher evaluation system created? 
The new teacher evaluation system is a system that was designed by teachers, and built to support teachers. To ensure this system is one that will truly support teachers, our first step in designing it was to gather the input and feedback of over 2,300 CPS teachers. Over the course of 90 hours of meetings with the Chicago Teachers Union, we developed REACH Students, a new comprehensive teacher evaluation system that would provide teachers with the tools and support needed to improve in their practice.

 

How will teachers be evaluated?
Teachers will be evaluated based on:

  • Principal observation of teacher practice that allows teachers to engage in the observation process. In year one and two this will represent 75% of a teacher's rating.
  • Multiple measurements of student growth, including standardized assessments and performance tasks created by teachers. In year one and two this will represent 25% of an elementary teacher's rating (the minimum required by state law), with 15% based on standardized assessment, and 10% based on performance tasks created by teachers. Student growth will increase to 30% in year three, 35% in year four, and 40% in year five upon reaching agreement by a joint CPS/CTU committee.
  • Student feedback through student surveys. Surveys will be administered in the first two years, and will count toward a teacher’s rating in year three, pending agreement by a joint CPS/CTU committee.

 

How will the teacher evaluations be used?
Teachers will be given one of four ratings based on their evaluation: Excellent, Proficient, Developing, Unsatisfactory. These evaluations will help principals recognize and reward their great teachers while delivering individualized support or teachers where needed.

 

This system will not penalize teachers who need improvement. Feedback from evaluations will help to identify areas where teachers can use additional help and provide them with the tools and support needed to improve.  We are confident that the supports provided through this new evaluation system will help them grow into proficient and excellent teachers. Tenured teachers who do not move out of unsatisfactory over a period of 90 school days will be dismissed.

 

What is the Quality Teacher Initiative?
For the first time, CPS will have hiring standards for teachers that have earned credentials beyond a certification to teach.  This initiative will create hiring standards to ensure all candidates meet minimum requirements to raise the bar on the quality of our teachers and to ensure that all teachers across the city meet these minimum expectations. With this initiative, for the first time, principals will be able to choose from a pool of already-vetted high quality teachers for their school.

 

This initiative will also ensure quality teachers impacted by layoffs are given an opportunity to remain in the system. Under the initiative, tenured quality teachers (those rated Proficient or Excellent, or the top two categories of the current system) who are impacted by layoffs will be guaranteed interviews, where qualified, for open positions across the district.  Once a teacher is deemed qualified, they will remain eligible for this opportunity for two years. Where teachers are not hired, the principal will be required to offer a written explanation. 

 

Will principals still have the authority to hire teachers they think are best for their school?
Yes.  Principals will continue to be the ultimate decision makers when it comes to who works in their school. To ensure good teachers stay in the system, we have set the goal of filling 50% of open positions with highly qualified tenured teachers (Proficient and Excellent.) However, principals will maintain the right to hire teachers they think are best for their students. On average, more than 60% of displaced teachers are hired back into the system each year, so we're confident this goal will be met.  However, if the goal is not met, we will place the number of teachers needed to meet the 50% threshold in a teacher pool that allows them to be deployed to schools as substitutes.

 

What opportunities for re-hire are available for teachers that have been impacted by layoffs?
Highly rated (Excellent or Proficient) tenured teachers impacted by a school closing, consolidation or phase out will have the opportunity to “follow their students” to the newly consolidated or receiving schools if there is a vacancy they are qualified for that has been created to accommodate influx of students. Highly rated (Excellent or Proficient) tenured teachers impacted by changes in enrollment are eligible for recall to positions in the same unit for one school year.

 

To help ensure good teachers stay in the system, we have also set the goal of filling 50% of open positions with highly qualified tenured teachers, while ensuring principals maintain the right to hire teachers they think are best for their students.

 

Further, the Quality Teacher Initiative will guarantee interviews for highly rated (Excellent or Proficient) tenured teachers for open positions that match their qualifications across the district. Once a teacher is deemed qualified, they will remain eligible for this opportunity for two years. Where teachers are not hired, the principal will be required to offer a written explanation. 

 

 

Page Last Modified on Monday, August 25, 2014