Chicago CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett threatens teachers and parents on opt-out #stopcommoncore

Fred Klonsky -

Letter from Chicago CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett

Dear Teachers,

As a former teacher and principal, I understand how important it is to maximize our instructional time with students. But I also know that rigorous, high-quality assessments are valuable in measuring student progress. Our challenge, then, is to strike a balance between the two.

This year we reduced our number of required assessments from 25 to 10, allowing schools to focus on the measures that are most critical to student learning.

This year’s ISAT will be more aligned to the Common Core. Some claim that this test will not count for anything as the state moves toward PARCC, however, I believe it is still an important exam as it is an additional opportunity to understand the increased expectations of a Common Core-aligned test.  In addition, ISAT – like PSAE for high schools – is still a measure used to determine AYP.

NWEA MAP is also an important measure of student knowledge aligned to the Common Core.  Already a part of the Promotion Policy, teacher evaluation, principal evaluation, and the new School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP), NWEA MAP will also be used this year as the screening test for selective enrollment eligibility.

Students must score at or above the 24th percentile on NWEA MAP to qualify to take the selective enrollment exam.  I know that questions regarding opting out of NWEA MAP have been raised, so let me be clear: CPS students without an NWEA MAP score will not be eligible for selective enrollment or promotion in grades 3, 6, and 8. In addition, SQRP ratings will suffer for test participation rates of less than 95%.

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