The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) voted Tuesday to end its seven-day-old strike, and the teachers were back in the schools yesterday. The strike, at the nation’s third largest school district, received quite a bit of attention across the nation, with coverage on major media outlets. There were a number of contentious issues in the negotiations between the CTU and the Chicago Board of Education, but none was more vigorously contested than that of teacher evaluations.
How to effectively assess teacher performance has been hotly debated in educational policy – and research – circles in recent years. Historically, at least in those school districts around the country that were unionized, there was relatively little formal teacher evaluation and assessment done once a teacher had been tenured, which generally occurred within the first four years of his or her career (disclosure: while I have never been a member of a teacher’s union, my wife has been in the past).