Rahm Touts ‘Merit Pay' For CPS Principals

In an effort to hold Chicago Public School officials more accountable, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday announced a $5 million fund to give principals "merit pay."

It's another checkmark on the mayor's list of ideas he campaigned on and aimed to introduce during his first 100 days in office.

Emanuel said four families, including the Pritzkers, and Chicago-based Groupon owners donated to the $5 million fund for the new program, called Chicago Leadership Collaborative.

Emanuel touted the program as the first in the country to recruit, train and support aspiring principals. He said CPS needs to increase the number of skilled, effective principals in order to transform underperforming schools.

"Between now and 2015 a major turnover is coming for our principals," Emanuel said. "No other system in the country ... [holds] principals accountable for what happens in the building."

Not everyone's in love with the idea.

Ald. Bob Fioretti said merit pay will force schools to become testing factories. Fioretti said those who donated to the fund "are trying to push their reform agenda but don't give any money to neighborhood schools."
Principals could earn between $5,000 and $10,000 in merit pay as part of the program.

"The best gift we can give our teachers," CPS chief Jean-Claude Brizard said Monday, "is a great principal." 

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