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Student Performance Part of Superintendents' Contracts

The contracts for the newly-appointed school leaders in Los Angeles and Chicago include performance goals tied to specific academic targets

John Deasy, who was appointed superintendent of the 672,000-student Los Angeles district in January, will be evaluated on broad district goals, like improvement in the graduation rate, student proficiency and attendance. But he also has the opportunity to earn up to $30,000 in bonuses if the district sees an 8 or more percentage point increase in 3rd-grade scores on the state's reading test, the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced in 9th-grade algebra, and the four-year-graduation rate.

(Deasy's base salary is $330,000, though he said he would decline the increase and keep the same $275,000 salary he had when he was L.A.'s deputy superintendent.)

Jean-Claude Brizard, the chief executive officer of the 409,000-student Chicago schools, will be evaluated on such performance measures as: increasing the percentage of high schoolers who graduate within five years from 55.8 to 60 percent; improving from 27 to 35 percent the share of high schoolers who earn at least a 20 out of 36 on the ACT college entrance exam, and increasing the percentage of students passing the state standardized test for 3rd-grade reading from 57.8 to 70 percent, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune.

Brizard's contract is also unique in that it is the first offered to a leader of the city's school district since mayoral control started back in 1995. Brizard's goals will play a part in whether he gets a raise when his $250,000-a year contract is renegotiated.

Using specific performance measures in superintendent contracts is an interesting parallel to what we see happening now with using test scores as part of a method to evaluate teachers. The one difference, of course, is that the penalties for teachers may be more severe; these superintendents are looking at losing bonuses, while teachers who don't make the grade could lose their jobs.

For more information on the overhaul of teacher evaluations, check out this article from my colleague, Stephen Sawchuk.

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