District Trendline

TR3 Trends: Chicago Teachers' Strike

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In this special edition of TR3 Trends, NCTQ's newsletter for school district officials, we compare Chicago to the nation's 50 largest school districts.  We take a look at issues that have been sticking points in the current contract negotiations: compensation, recall rights and evaluations.
The data we use in TR3 Trends comes from NCTQ's TR3 database, which contains teacher policies from 114 school districts, including the 50 largest districts, the largest district in each state, Broad Prize winners, Gates investment districts and members of the Council of the Great City Schools.  

Here's what we found when we took a look at our Chicago data: 

-> Last year, Chicago had the 2nd highest starting salary for new teachers with BAs ($49,159) and the 7th highest maximum salary ($92,227) among the 50 largest districts.

For the 2011-12 school year, the starting salary for teachers with bachelor's degrees in Chicago was second only to New York City.  Meanwhile, the maximum salary in Chicago last year outpaced all but six other districts, including New York, Montgomery County in Maryland and Fairfax County, Virginia. 

Click here to view interactive graph

-> Chicago teachers had one of the highest hourly pay rates in the country last year, and with the proposed 3 percent cost-of-living increase for 2012-13 and a longer school year and day, they'll still have one of the highest hourly rates.

When we compared hourly rates for first year teachers with BAs, Chicago came out on top.  Last year, at $39/hour, these teachers in Chicago had the highest hourly pay rate when compared to peers in the 50 largest school districts.  Teachers at the maximum salary made $72/hour, the 4th highest hourly rate in the nation for maximum salary earners.

With the longer school year and day for 2012-13 and proposed 3 percent cost-of-living increase, Chicago teachers' hourly rates will drop to about $36/hour for first-year teachers with BAs and $65/hour for teachers at the maximum annual salary.  These rates are still both well above the average ($28 and $55, respectively), and the first-year hourly salary would be second only to New York if compared to last year's numbers.   

-> At least 33 of the 50 largest school districts offer teachers recall rights if they're laid off.

"Recall rights" generally refers to the ability of laid off teachers to move into openings without having to go through an interview process as long as they have the appropriate credentials.  Allowing laid off teachers to have "first dibs" prevents districts from hiring teachers new to the district until all recalled teachers are placed.

Thirty-three of the 50 largest districts give recall rights to teachers, including Los Angeles, Denver, Miami-Dade, Detroit, New York, and Philadelphia.  Chicago and six others districts explicitly deny teachers recall rights in contracts or board policies.  These six are: Dekalb County and Fulton County in Georgia; Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Guildford County and Wake County in North Carolina; and Houston

-> Twenty-nine out of the 50 largest districts factor objective measures of student achievement into teacher evaluation ratings - or will soon be required to do so by state law.  Thirty-two of 50 states require some consideration of student achievement as a part of teacher evaluations.  

Illinois state law says that student growth must be a "significant factor" in evaluation ratings, but "significant" is not defined, meaning Illinois districts--including Chicago--have to hash out a definition at the bargaining table.  Other states are more stringent: Tennessee requires results from value-added models to make up 35 percent of the evaluation rating, and 15 percent to come from other measures of student achievement.  In Colorado, 50 percent of teachers' evaluation ratings must be based on student growth.

Houston and Washington, D.C. are two districts that require more than 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation rating to come from objective measures of student achievement.  Houston uses a value-added model as well as four other measures of student achievement and growth.  In D.C., 35 percent of a teacher's evaluation rating comes from value-added scores and 15 percent comes from other measures determined by the teacher and principal.  

Go to TR3's custom report page to access all the data we use in TR3 Trends and to compare teacher policies in 114 school districts nationwide. Send feedback to gmoored@nctq.org.