Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today a new, comprehensive way to evaluate Chicago public school principals, including the creation of a $5 million pool of money from charitable organizations to boost the pay of the city's best-performing principals.
What constitutes the city's "best-performing" principals has yet to be decided, but Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard said it will encompass student performance in core subjects, testing, quality of management and teacher mentorship, and the overall climate of a school.
The specifics of this new "contract" with principals have yet to be drawn up, raising concerns for some that the district's benchmarks may not be a true indication of the quality of the principal or the challenges placed in front of him or her.
"Right now we are cautiously going to take a look at this," said Clarice Berry, president of the Chicago Principals Association. "We're not endorsing anything at this moment. We want to see what is there."
Berry said principals have yet to sit down with Brizard or the mayor's office to develop a framework for the contract. Brizard said principals stand to earn annual bonuses of between $5,000 and $10,000 if they meet the contract's achievement guidelines.
Along with performance pay for teachers, Emanuel announced the creation of a new training and leadership academy for current and prospective CPS principals, combining elements of several existing training programs under a singular measurable program. Emanuel touted it as "the most comprehensive" principal recruitment and training program of its kind anywhere.
"We're going to be the first school system in the country to deal with principal training, performance and accountability in a comprehensive way," Emanuel said.