Chicago teachers’ test scores worse than Illinois students

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Robby Soave Reporter
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The Chicago Public Schools teachers’ union agreed Tuesday to end the strike and accept some of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s reforms in exchange for pay increases that would bring the average teacher’s salary to $100,000 a year.

Reforms include holding teachers partly accountable for their students standardized test scores.

But according to a 2008 study by Illinois Education Research Council, CPS teachers don’t perform much better on standardized tests than their own students.

In Illinois, all high school juniors and seniors are required to take the ACT test, whether they plan to attend college or not. Public school teachers in Chicago who took the test when they were in high school averaged a score of 19 out of a possible 36 — which is worse than the average median score for all students nationwide.

In fact, Illinois students beat the teachers, scoring a 21 on average, though Chicago-area students only scored in the 17-18 range.

Shouldn’t the teachers know significantly more than their students? Scott Reeder, an investigative reporter at the Illinois Center for Public Policy, thought so.

“I question if the city of Chicago has been recruiting from the best talent pool and getting the very best teachers to teach their youngsters, if the group as a whole has an average ACT score of 19,” he said in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The study also showed that younger, newer teachers tended to have higher test scores.

Unfortunately, when it comes to layoffs, the union often puts the interests of its most senior members first, said Reeder.

“Younger teachers who more recently entered the school system have a bit higher ACT score than those who have been in the district longer,” he said. “That would indicate to me that the younger teachers are a little bit sharper than some of the people who have been their longer. It seems really counterproductive to reduce staff based on seniority.”

The Chicago Teachers Union did not respond to requests for comment.

The current deal between Chicago and the union would boost average teacher compensation into the $100,000 range: A 42 percent increase over the last 10 years that makes CPS teachers among the highest paid in the nation.

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