The following resolution was adopted without amendment at CTU’s April 3, 2019 House of Delegates meeting.
WHEREAS, the School Quality Rating System (SQRP) is used in Chicago Public Schools to rank and sort schools with a color-coded numerical system that has direct harm for schools with low rating; and
WHEREAS, SQRP was implemented to undermine neighborhood schools and promote “choice” and privatization policies. It encourages a Hunger Games mentality of competition, not collaboration, within the district; and
WHEREAS, the SQRP rating system has a disproportionate impact on schools that are a majority African-American, especially in low-income Black neighborhoods; and
WHEREAS, SQRP relies on metrics (test scores, attendance, school culture surveys) that directly harm our most vulnerable students including students in poverty, students in unstable housing arrangements, students with disabilities, and students learning English; and
WHEREAS, the SQRP system incentivizes schools to “push out” students who could potentially bring down the SQRP scores. Principals often do not accept students with significant special education needs, significant emotional/behavioral needs, and/or low test scores or engage in otherwise unethical behaviors (i.e., encouraging parents to take their children elsewhere) in order to improve SQRP ratings; and
WHEREAS, by using metrics like the “My School, My Voice” Five Essentials Survey as part of a high-stakes decision, the SQRP warps the responses. School staff and communities are pressured to lie or misrepresent their schools in order to artificially improve SQRP scores, rendering that data useless; and
WHEREAS, schools and entire networks are mandating absurd “Attendance Challenges” that incentivizes kids come to school sick, taking away valuable time from teaching; and
WHEREAS, schools serving higher numbers of vulnerable students are often punished for lower SQRP school ratings. Schools are labeled “on probation” and the network comes in to micromanage, harass, and bully the staff at these schools instead of offering more resources. In addition, Local School Councils are stripped of their democratic ability to hire/fire a principal or control their budget-based on this SQRP system; and
WHEREAS, schools with lower SQRP ratings often struggle to staff their schools as well as to find substitute coverage; and
WHEREAS, schools with lower SQRP ratings struggle to attract enrollment, even when the school offers quality programming and teaching, sending the school into a downward spiral as the school loses funding under Student-Based Budgeting; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Chicago Teachers Union will launch a comprehensive campaign to abolish the SQRP system including the numerical, color-coded rating system. Data on CPS websites including test scores, attendance rates, and the Five Essentials Survey will not be used for any high-stakes ranking and sorting system within the district; and
RESOLVED, the CTU will devote resources including, but not limited to, conducting a research analysis of the impact of the SQRP on schools and students. A research report and press release will be issued around the impact of the SQRP on schools in high-poverty neighborhoods and around schools with large percentages of special education students, homeless students, or refugee/recent immigrant students. The report will also examine staffing and budgetary concerns in schools with low SQRP ratings; and
RESOLVED, the CTU will collect data on which networks and network chiefs are using bullying and shaming tactics to harass schools to be shared publicly and with the Board of Education; and
RESOLVED, the CTU will conduct listening sessions/townhall meetings/panel events/social media work as appropriate to draw attention to this flawed, racist, ableist SQRP policy; and be it finally
RESOLVED, the CTU will incorporate the demand to abolish the SQRP with the district school contract fight.