So much for the “everyone-hates-change” cliché. A new University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research report reveals that teachers and principals in Chicago remain upbeat about a new evaluation system—despite the fact that REACH (Recognizing Educators Advancing Chicago) represents a profound change in the way teachers are observed and rated.
In a survey of 19,000 teachers and 800 principals, a strong majority of Chicago educators agree that REACH will help them do their jobs better, despite the fact that it requires a lot more time and effort and has resulted in lower average ratings for teachers.
According to the report summary:
About two-thirds of teachers agreed or strongly agreed when asked if REACH will lead to better instruction and improved student outcomes; and an overwhelming majority (89 percent) of principals agreed or strongly agreed.
However, while the majority of teachers (62 percent) reported being satisfied with the evaluation process at their school, this is a decrease in satisfaction from the first year of REACH, when over 70 percent reported satisfaction with the process….Teachers and principals (also) report REACH is changing practice, improving communication, and encouraging collaboration.
Yes, many teachers don’t like the student growth measures included in the new system; a majority think student growth is weighed too heavily or that the assessments do not accurately measure student learning.
And yes, both teachers and principals report that the system is creating additional stress and anxiety. But it is interesting to note that even with these concerns, teachers haven’t given up on a better evaluation system.
They know REACH is making them better professionals. That says a great deal about teachers’ willingness to embrace even difficult change.