Proposals to tie teacher merit pay to student test scores and alter tenure policies to make it easier to fire bad teachers are among the most recent education ideas being pushed in Illinois by GOP gubernatorial bidder Bruce Rauner.
The ideas were introduced last week as part of Rauner's 26-page education blueprint and did not offer many details. But school officials and education reform advocates are nonetheless questioning whether the state needs to be immediately tinkering after the passage of other significant reforms in recent years and while education budgets remain tight.
Some note that teacher salaries normally are left to local school districts, while others are concerned about teacher evaluations becoming too punitive.
Rauner, a Winnetka venture capitalist running against Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, has contributed millions to school reform efforts in Illinois. His new plan suggests tying "student academic growth to teachers' compensation." He also calls for changing the way Illinois schools grant teacher tenure and highlighted a Florida practice providing annual contracts for teachers.
The Quinn campaign has criticized Rauner's approach to education overall. The governor's running mate, former Chicago Public School's CEO Paul Vallas, called Rauner "reckless and irresponsible" for pitching reforms that allegedly would cost the schools districts billions of dollars, increase classroom sizes and raise property taxes. Rauner rejects those claims.