cpz hb4933SPRINGFIELD – To provide more transparency in the current hiring process for principals in the Chicago Public School system, State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas in collaboration with Chicago Principals and Administrators Association introduced a new initiative to grant Local School Councils (LSCs) access to the universe of qualified applicants for these vital positions—ensuring viable candidates are not overlooked, and underqualified applicants are not chosen over their peers.  The bill also increases protections and clarity for candidates throughout the process.

“Under the current policy, local school councils do not get the full view of eligible candidates for the role of principal—and with a more narrow view, they often miss out on candidates that may be better suited for one of the most important drivers in school success—the instructional leader,” said Senator Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “I am passionate about making systemic change in the currently opaque hiring process to ensure the highest quality of education for our children moving forward.”

With the status quo in Chicago Public Schools, aspiring principals, already meeting rigorous standards to be licensed by the state, must go through a second eligibility determination process. If they pass this additional opaque vetting process, candidates interested in a particular school’s job posting submit their credentials to the entire Chicago Public School system, not the individual schools they are interested in, and are subsequently entered into a universal pool of qualified principal applicants. From there, when a Local School Councils posts a vacancy, CPS sorts and sends interested applicants to LSCs, who then decide on a candidate for the role and often include additional vetting at the school level. However, LSCs do not get to look over the entire candidate pool, and only have access to the group CPS advances, even if other candidates were also eligible. This has led to issues in many schools in the CPS system, including a principal being hired who did not know the language of instruction and unable to evaluate teachers in the language of instruction, when other potential candidates who may be fluent in the language yet not included in the hiring pool given to LSCs.

To address this oversight, this legislation increases transparency for applicants by making public the rubric and scoring threshold for passing each step in the process, allowing for due process when candidates do not advance to the next stage of evaluation, and would give Local School Councils access to the entire eligible pool of candidates. These protections give LSCs a much larger, more diverse pool of candidates to select from—some of whom may be more qualified to be leaders in schools than the narrower pool that CPS may have advanced. Further, it allows greater opportunity for equity by informing candidates of deficiencies and resources for improvement. Senator Pacione-Zayas is confident this change will make the hiring process work better for students, educators and aspiring principals in the CPS system.

“Principals are the primary driver of school achievement,” Pacione-Zayas said. “Students and faculty deserve leaders who are best matched for their school’s unique needs—and that can only be done of the hiring board can review all qualified candidates.”

House Bill 4933 passed unanimously out of the Senate Executive committee on November 30, 2022. It now goes to the Senate floor for further debate.

Category: Press Releases

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