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CPS Teacher Coaches/Mentors Apparently Do Exist– and Can Be Verified Via Vendor Number

July 30, 2017

In 2016, Louisiana state superintendent John White purported to have been a teacher coach and mentor for Chicago Public Schools (CPS):

JW ed leader cert

However, White has never been hired by CPS. Teach for America (TFA) was, but not White. White worked for TFA. In, um, creatively reframing his TFA experience, White was apparently trying to pad his years of experience as a teacher. (For comprehensive details on this saga, see this post.)

Nevertheless, even though John White has never been hired by CPS to be a teacher coach and mentor, the position of CPS teacher coach and mentor apparently does exist, according to this commenter, who refers to him-/herself as “Reteach 4 America.”

This individual offers insight into how being a CPS teacher coach and mentor actually works– including the assigning of a vendor number to those independently contracted to work for CPS.

Whereas the commenter does not include his/her name, the fact that he/she can readily produce two independent contractor vendor listings from CPS for two of the years that John White reports being a teacher coach and mentor lends credibility to the comment, which I include in full below:

I was a CPS Teacher Coach/Mentor for a few years, including one of the years that White claimed to do the same. Those without Illinois certification but who had other relevant training and experience could be hired as Independent Contractors, for which they are given a vendor number. In Arne Duncan’s approval letter to TFA, a vendor number for TFA is provided, not one for White. The CPS Department of Procurement is required to report all expenditures to vendors annually and, as you can see here, TFA is listed on the reports, but not John White:

2005: http://www.csc.cps.k12.il.us/purchasing/uploadedfiles/solicitations/vendor_info_2005.html
2006: http://www.csc.cps.k12.il.us/purchasing/uploadedfiles/solicitations/vendor_info_2006.html

Without IL certification, an Independent Contractor cannot serve as a teacher in charge of a classroom of students in public schools. For White to have been qualified to do that under the TFA vendor number, I believe he would have to have been like any other TFAer, enrolled in a graduate program leading to a master’s degree with certification and gotten a provisional certificate to teach from the state. If he had been given a provisional certificate, the state would have a record of it.

I don’t think White could have been hired as a TFAer tasked with coaching and mentoring veteran teachers though, because there is very high regard for Teacher Coaches/Mentors at CPS due to their extensive training and experience, while TFAers are known to be novices.

At any rate, if White had really been a Teacher Coach/Mentor for CPS, he would have known that we provided guidance and supports to teachers, both inside their classrooms and out, and while we might have modeled some effective teaching practices for them, we did not take over their classes and teach in place of them for a couple years!

If, indeed.

Thank you, Reteach 4 America, for this useful information related to independently contracting with CPS.

No vendor number, no contract.

jackalope 2

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Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

5 Comments
  1. I hadn’t thought of that. It’s the same in Louisiana. When LDE used to support National Board Certification they paid us stipends to mentor prospective NBCTs via a vendor contract. JWs claim of mentoring TFA instructors, had he in fact done it, would have been totally independent from CPS unless he had a vendor contract – which really, we know is a bogus argument. It seems to me that if White is asked, or required to substantiate his claim, the burden of proof would be on him.

  2. LA Educator permalink

    It sure would be great if someone, like BESE (no chance) or maybe the Governor, held him to account for this. It is so hard to get the truth out to the public when there are so many (local business community & local media – public & private) willing to lie to promote privatization of education and its proponents. But this looks like irrefutable evidence, so we shall see. Thanks for your tireless research, Mercedes.

  3. Abigail Shure permalink

    You go Mercedes! I commend you for your tireless, painstaking research.

  4. Christine Langhoff permalink

    Whoop! Whoop!

  5. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    Another nail… when, if ever, will there be enough?

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