Wednesday, January 7, 2009

5% at CPS earn 'master teacher' grade

Five percent of Chicago's 23,727 public school teachers have achieved the master teacher status that can sweeten their paychecks and improve student performance, Mayor Daley disclosed Tuesday.

Daley welcomed this year's record class of 328 teachers with National Board Certification, which dwarfs the 129 master teachers in Los Angeles and 10 in New York City. It brings Chicago's total to 1,191 master teachers, up from just 11 in 1999.

"If we're leading the way, God help the rest of the country. I feel sorry for them. You wonder what has happened to public education in the rest of those cities," Daley said at a news conference at Juarez Academy Community High School, 2150 S. Laflin.

National Board Certification is earned after a yearlong assessment. It includes student work samples, classroom videotapes and analysis of classroom teaching and student learning.
The bar is set so high, more than half can't get over it in their first year of eligibility.

The payoff for teachers includes a 10-year, $3,000-a-year state stipend, a $1,750-a-year annual bonus and a one-time $3,000 payment from the Chicago Public Education Fund.

The reward for students is even greater. Chicago high schools with teams of master teachers have twice as many students who meet or exceed national standards. At the elementary level, schools with master teachers have 12 percent more students meet or beat standards.
For good news like this there are stories of waste. And why does CPS need a cappuccino machine?
One Chicago Public Schools manager must have really been jonesing for a cup of coffee when officials say she spent nearly $70,000 of the district's money to buy 30 cappuccino/espresso machines for a high school program.

But five months after the machines were purchased, 22 remained unopened, one disappeared and three were being used at two schools—though not in the culinary arts program for which they were intended, the district's inspector general said Tuesday.

Officials in a department dealing with work-school programs allegedly separated the purchases to make them appear they came from 21 different schools and were under $10,000.

By doing so, the purchases did not have to be competitively bid or win school board approval, said Jim Sullivan, the district's inspector general.

As a result, he said, the district overpaid for the coffeemakers by more than $12,000.
The designate for US Secretary of Education had these comments...
DUNCAN: I love this because it’s a very, very high bar. It’s a national standard that our folks have to meet. So you can’t spin it, you can’t PR it. It’s our guys doing the hard work every day. Intuitively I knew years ago that if your best teachers are getting better, good things are going to happen for kids.

This I'd like to see...
Chicago now faces the task of making sure these top teachers work in the toughest schools. Compared to Los Angeles, far fewer of Chicago’s nationally board certified teachers end up in schools that need them the most.
In my old high school, I'm not sure a master teacher would want to teach there. I would hate to subject a teacher to discipline problems that unfortunately can't be easily handled. In handling a problem student they could be spending more time being a master teacher.

All stories via CapFax morning shorts!

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