Procedures for replacing teachers

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How much discretion does Chief Executive Officer Paul Vallas have in removing teachers from schools on probation?

Under state law, replacement of faculty members is “subject to the provisions of Section 24A-5” of state law, which spells out the so-called E-3 process that includes evaluation, warning and remediation.

In early October, school officials said that that process would not be necessary for teachers who do not follow their schools’ modified school improvement plans. In those cases, officials said, Vallas and the board could remove teachers directly; the teachers then would go into the reserve teacher pool and have to apply for vacancies in other schools. If no principal hired them, central office would assign them to short-term positions.

By late October, however, the administration’s story had changed. Chief Attorney Marilyn Johnson said, “The statute clearly makes reference to the provision, so it is likely we would follow the E-3 process.”

That’s how the Chicago Teachers Union sees it, too. “Even though I don’t think there will be any wholesale teacher firing, I don’t think they … can remove teachers without the E-3 process,” says spokesperson Jackie Gallagher. “Due process is still there.”

Earlier, Vallas had said teachers should not panic: “There may be only one or two [teachers] at a school that are a problem.”