A new questionnaire that probes the “soft skills” needed be a teacher has resulted in what critics call the “blacklisting’’ of hundreds of potential Chicago Public School teachers — including some who already had job offers, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.
Graduates of the Academy for Urban School Leadership’s teacher training program touted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel have, in effect, flunked the test. So has a winner of a prestigious Golden Apple scholarship. Likewise a special-education major who made the dean’s list at Michigan State University and was described as a “dream candidate’’ by a CPS principal who wanted to hire her.
Of the 3,900 CPS teacher applicants who have taken TeacherFit since June, 30 percent have scored low enough to be excluded from hiring...
The candidate — and many others — said she thought she was merely taking a survey when she filled out TeacherFit. She had no idea her career would rest on her answers, she said.
“Had I known, I might not have been as honest,” and instead given the answers she thought test evaluators were seeking, said the candidate, who asked to remain anonymous.
The CTU’s Lewis said the union complained about some questions during the TeacherFit development process because some seemed to probe for people who were “willing to work for free.’’ One current question asks candidates “how do you feel about a job that would require you to regularly work after hours?”
Other questions ask candidates to recall how frequently they did something — such as help their peers with a difficult task — over a 10- or five-year time frame. A 10-year span would take a 21-year-old teaching candidate all the way back to age 11, one education professor noted.
TeacherFit co-author Neal Schmitt, a psychology professor at Michigan State University, said many of the questions involve “personality or attitude’’ items that try to get at the “soft skills’’ needed to be a teacher — student focus, planning and organizing, results-focus, perseverance and self-initiative.
Development of the test was paid for by the Chicago Public Education Fund, which counts as a board member Bruce Rauner, a wealthy venture capitalist and close ally of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Rauner was a driving force behind the sweeping school reform bill that Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law last month.
Hat tip to NewsAlert for this story.