Teachers rate principals, union digs into the findings

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Now that some 9,000 CPS teachers and support staff have passed judgment on their principals, the Chicago Teachers Union is attempting to see if the ratings correlate with school performance.

Robert Bruno, an associate professor of labor and industrial relations at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is comparing results of the union’s Principal Performance Survey to 10 years of school data, including staff attrition, student test scores and student turnover rates. Results from the new analysis are expected to be released in June.

The CTU hopes to use the study to “identify areas of concern and use the scores as indicators of serious problems,” says CTU President Deborah Lynch. “We are trying to elevate discussion on the qualities of school leadership,” she adds.

However, the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association considers the survey invalid, claiming there is no way to know if it is representative. “Basically, we think it’s garbage,” says association President Clarice Berry.

Surveys were sent to 24,273 teachers and support staff who work full time in a single school. The response rate was 34 percent.

The survey asked teachers and educational support personnel to grade their principals on 28 measures, including instructional leadership and allocation of resources. It also asked them for an overall grade. About 49 percent gave their principals an A or B, 17 percent gave them a C, and almost 34 percent gave them a D or F.

The union published school-by-school results on its web site, www.ctunet.com, for schools that had a response rate of at least 15 percent.

“There’s certainly been an impact on public awareness that wasn’t there before that has generated discussion on what’s happening in schools,” says Bruno.