The Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board Tuesday night discussed teacher performance from two different perspectives and received some good news in the process.

The good news came from a consultant and adjunct professor from DePaul University, Clayton J. Graham, whose practice includes working with school districts on performance issues.

Graham noted that 10 years ago, District 65 ranked 333d among the state’s 800 elementary school districts on student performance measures. Since then, the ranking has improved to 75th, placing it among the top 10 percent of districts.

The district has done even better, he said, in measures of students exceeding district expectations, as it is now 75th in the state, placing it in the top 6 percent.

“Your students are performing exceptionally well,” he said, “when compared with districts in other parts of the state.”

As a mathematician, Graham says he makes performance comparisons adjusting for such demographics as educational attainment of parents, income levels, school attendance, mobility, and English as a second language.

Today’s seventh graders, he noted, ranked 224th in reading when they were in the third grade, but improved to 136th when they reached the seventh grade, leading him to conclude that “the longer you’re in Evanston schools, the better you do.”

Superintendent Hardy Murphy said that the district is attempting to identify the characteristics of teachers with superior performance and to use that information when hiring new teachers. He stressed, however, that quantitative information is supplemented by qualitative measures not discussed Tuesday night.

The other side of the performance coin on the board’s agenda Tuesday was a request from Murphy to accelerate the implementation of the state-mandated Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA), but before they could discuss the issue, Murphy told the board that he wished to change his recommendation.

Under the Act, a district can take up to 180 days to come up with a plan for evaluating teachers and principals, incorporating student growth as a major factor in that evaluation. Otherwise, the district would be forced to accept a model that has not yet been developed by the Illinois State Board of Education.

Because they do not yet know what that default model will be, Murphy said he would rather begin the discussions with the district’s Joint Evaluation Committee on an informal basis rather than starting the 180-day clock ticking on Feb. 1, as he had recommended in his memo that was in the board members’ packet for Tuesday’s meeting.

This brought a negative response from the teachers’ union president, Jean Luft, who told the board that the District Educators Council was disappointed in that decision. Murphy countered, however, that he still wanted to accelerate the PERA implementation, but on an informal, rather than a formal, basis, on the advice of counsel.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

Join the Conversation


  1. Student Performance Adjustments
    Very interesting to see this comment, “As a mathematician, Graham says he makes performance comparisons adjusting for such demographics as educational attainment of parents, income levels, school attendance, mobility, and English as a second language.”

    Did anyone ask Adjunct Professor Graham why race is not included in his adjustments? Could it be that he distinguishes between “causation” and “correlation”?

    Clearly Mr. Graham hasn’t received training from the Pacific Education Group.And hopefully DePaul won’t waste it’s time or money on PEG.


    1. Right On

      TP – right on point. To this day, I am still so disgusted, as a taxpayer in Evanston (property  taxes) that our District has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on PEG's "consulting services." 

      This is a group that is radically leftist, racial and divissive.  Critical Race Theory has no place in our schools and does not solve problems, it only creates divisions and helps to indoctrine students regarding the act of disliking others because of their skin color, aka White Privilege.  Disgusting.

      But, then again it is Evanston, so I guess money well spent for the lefties. 

      1. White privilege

        Why are the words "white privilege" so disturbing to you?  Do you really find it hard to believe that you enjoy benefits based on how you look?  Why do you find this concept "disgusting"?

        1. Why?

          The words are not disturbing, you misread my post (or maybe I was not clear enough).  Sorry about that.

          PEG is disturbing to me with their body of work.   Their use of Critical Race Theory (which includes White Privilege) to "consult" our School District.

          Their approach to consultation is subjective. 

          I would hope ther are other true consulting firms that take an objective view of inequalities and look for solutions, rather than trying instill a theory such as Critical Race Theory as the reason/solution to our issues. 

          Google PEG.  Read all the articles nationwide about other communities, schools, districts divided and in turmoil after working with PEG.

          Heck, one of PEG's consultants called one of the District's Board Members a racist in a meeting.  Get my drift?

  2. I question whether

    I question whether 'mathematicians' applied or pure would include him in their camp [see below] but in any event when you start grading on the criteria he claims, you really call into question the results. 

    Yes identify problem areas and try to assist the student but don't overlook the results.  Affirmative Action has caused many employers to question the real education a person got–it may take years to overcome.  Look at the effect remedial/tutoring has had a students when they have been accepted into schools/programs they are unprepared for. The 'Dream Act' has made high school graduation a criteria—does that actualy mean anything—has 'just passing through' made that worthless or at least questionable. Grade inflation has made GPA very suspect and ACT/GRE more important for colleges/graduate schools.   Students feeling they are the princes/princesses that deserve every break and showering with praise, has made many into laughing stocks when they apply for a job. 



    Clayton J. Graham

    M.A. Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL, Economics, 1968
    M.B.A. Northwestern University (Kellogg), Evanston, IL, Quantitative Methods, Marketing, Operations Management, 1968
    B.S. Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, Economics, Mathematics, 1964

  3. How do you know ?

    How do you know that this person is "white"? Seems like you are making assumptions and inferences that is confirming a prior belief – kind of like stereotyping or prejudice. Maybe you should re-examine the way you view the world.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *