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Commentary: Students win when teachers are supported

by jesse sharkey, dan montgomery  |  12/01/2017

When Illinois’ Performance Evaluation Review Act was signed into law in 2010, its supporters promised a more accurate way to evaluate teachers, explaining that it couldn’t possibly be true that, as the previous evaluation system indicated, more than 95 percent of teachers were actually doing a good job.

The Illinois State Board of Education recently rolled out the latest Illinois school report cards, and for the first time teacher evaluation ratings based on PERA requirements have been reported in aggregate. According to the state, 97 percent of teachers across Illinois are rated in the top two categories of “proficient” or “excellent.”

But instead of celebrating this achievement and the hard work that teachers do in tough environments every day, some critics are calling for more teachers to be scrutinized and ultimately fired. It seems far more relevant, however, to focus on the very real problems — social and economic — holding back students in districts from Chicago to Cairo.

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