Chris Koch’s severance package and edTPA.


Chris Koch.

I had done a number of posts this summer on this latest Pearson-run testing and privatizing craze that has come to public education. I got Twitter-bombed by those who developed and defend the program.

These people are like a cult.

The edTPA story continued this morning with the Chicago Tribune’s reveal that when former Illinois State Superintendent of schools left his job a few months ago, replaced by Rauner’s pick, Tony Smith, he got one hell of a severance package. So did a bunch of his people. Some of it was above board. Some of it was not so transparent.

Koch walked out the door in the spring with almost $207,000 in taxpayer dollars on top of his regular salary, state records show. He collected the severance plus $118,000 for 138.5 unused vacation days accumulated over the years — a perk that many private employees don’t get.

Several dozen other departing staffers got cash bonuses and payments for unused vacation, sick and personal days as the agency transitioned to a new leader to oversee Illinois public schools, the Tribune found. Those payouts, combined with Koch’s, added up to at least $500,000 at a time when many school districts were struggling with deficits.

And the total is likely higher because not all payouts have been transparent, including for two top ISBE administrators who left the agency in early September but have continued to collect regular paychecks, state comptroller records show.

While Koch was state superintendent he brought edTPA and Pearson to the teacher certification process in Illinois.

After his generous severance package from the good people of Illinois, Koch went to work for the Council for Accreditation of Teacher Preparation, CAEP, which certifies teacher prep programs nationally.

That’s where he is now.

He is spreading the good news about edTPA.

In February of 2012, CAEP announced:

In order to help ensure that every classroom in the nation has an effective teacher, a high profile Commission on Standards and Performance Reporting will develop rigorous accreditation standards for educator preparation that will raise the bar for preparation providers, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) announced today. CAEP is the new accrediting body being formed through the unification of two organizations charged with assuring quality in educator preparation—the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).

The announcement adds:

Support in helping to underwrite the costs of the Commission is provided by Tk20, Inc., Pearson, and Educational Testing Service (ETS). Tk20, Inc. and ETS are providing support for Commission meetings, and Pearson is providing support for outreach.

13 thoughts on “Chris Koch’s severance package and edTPA.

  1. Fred,
    Correct about private employers seldom offering unlimited accumulation of vacation or sick days. They at least cap them. However, it has long been a trick of public employees at all levels. Heard of the fireman/cop/teacher that retired a year early due to cashing in the unused days.
    Could you recap for us what the various unions rules are on unused vacation/sick etc?
    Also note that private industry generally does not have defined benefit plans anu more either.
    Just saying.

    • What do people mean when they say, “just saying”? I have never understood what it means. And what does it mean when folks compare the few benefits to working in the public sector like teaching YOUR kids, and compare them to workers in the private sector who are getting screwed? Why doesn’t Johnnyboy ask, “Hey, public employees are getting these few crumbs. Why don’t all workers get that and more?” Johnnyboy identifies with management because he is one of them or he suffers from Stockholm Syndrome.

    • I’ve lost all patience with trolls like this individual who calls himself / herself “Anonymous.” If “Anonymous” is this person’s first name, surely his or her surname is “Ignoramus.” I’m taking this “little” shot at all the Anonymous Ignoramuses who, out of sheer envy, would love to destroy the incomes and lives of tens of thousands of Illinois’ state retirees:

      Dear Anonymous Ignoramuses,

      The stench of your pension envy is so thick and overpowering that even a gas mask with a respirator is of no use. You benefited from a low state income tax because our lawmakers and governors, Republicans and Dems, in effect, used Illinois’ five pension systems as a credit card to keep your state taxes low in order to pay for the services you demanded over the decades. You ought to be ashamed, you damned hypocrites. You want to deny pensions to people who’ve played by the rules and earned them. You have no clue about how the pension systems are financed; you have no clue about how the pension systems function. You know jack-s*#t. The red-hot iron rods of envy, ignorance, and self-righteousness poked your eyes out and utterly blinded you.

      Teachers and other public employees played by the rule of law as stated in the State Constitution, Illinois’ governors and lawmakers didn’t. Now you want to punish teachers for playing by that rule but let the real “evildoers” off the hook.. “Truth, Justice, the American Way, you damned hypocrites!!! Rules and laws obviously mean nothing to you and you’re willing to violate them because you’re green with blind envy and rage. Damn you!!! 

      None of you had the guts to enter a classroom to become teachers or to become state workers who clean up after your messes because the pay, the prestige, or the working conditions were beneath your dignity. You weren’t envious then. You sniveling, whining, little, envious brats who are now pouncing on teachers and other state workers because they’re getting something that they’ve earned and you didn’t. Your envy eats at you. You’re behaving like whiny, petulant little children — “Johnny has a toy that I don’t have… I WANT that toy!!! Whaaaa… Whaaaa… Grow up!!! Damn you for being so petty and infantile!

      Not you but public employees are the scapegoats and genuine victims in a cruel game perpetrated by your political class, your corporate media, and the millionaires and billionaires, all 30,000 of them in the State of Illinois. Teachers weren’t responsible for the State’s financial mess; nor are they fleecing you. The billionaire class that you worship like golden idols, their handmaidens in Springfield, and the editorial board of the Tribune are not only fleecing you, but pitting you against state workers, while shrieking with deliriously evil laughter all the way to the bank because they can count on suckers like you to do their dirty work.

      It’s called “divide and conquer,” but your blind envy, ignorance, and feigned self-righteousness prevent you from discovering that you’re being played like a fiddle by the power and financial elite of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club and others of their ilk. For reasons I don’t understand, you identify with them, but you’ll never be a member of that exclusive club. You’re not rich enough and never will be if they have their way. You’re just their reliable tools, pawns in their relentless war against public employees. …And you’re falling for it! What do you expect to gain from kissing the lower parts of your billionaire masters’ anatomies?

      Your true enemies are too many of your lawmakers and that King Midas anal orifice that now sits in the Governor’s Mansion with a reported income of a cool $58 million for 2014, his nine mansions, and his $100 thousand buck wine club who refuses to deal with the real Illinois crisis. It’s called “revenue” which means that he may have to pay a little more in taxes, but he doesn’t want to do that. Instead, he wants you to pay the price and to destroy Illinois’ unions, devour you, your family, and the entire middle class, so that he can exceed that $58 million next year. You miserable, ignorant, envious worms are aiding and abetting the Rauners of this world to make your destruction and everyone else’s a fait accompli. Damn you! A thousand times.. Damn you!!!

    • Yes as a teacher I can cash in my unused sick days when I retire for $35 each. Not even close to what Koch pillaged taxpayers for during his short stint. Oh and I have dedicated 30 years of my life to teaching children. So NO not the same as these profiteers who wouldn’t last a day in my classroom.

  2. The benefits my newly employed 23 year old receives in the private sector:
    Starting salary where most teachers retire
    Profit sharing
    Reduced cost stock option
    Matched 401k
    18 paid vacation days to start plus all holidays
    Every 3rd Friday off with pay
    Partial pay transit cost
    $32 monthly medical/dental
    All I can recall though there may be more.
    I understand this is generous but still available to private sector workers.
    Teachers have their pension (maybe) and perhaps the possibility to cash out unused sick/vacation days though many districts gave eliminated this practice. Unless you coach or instruct drivers ed there is no way to make more in education.

  3. Most of the time public employees who accumulate a year of sick days are given credit at retirement for time of service (only). They don’t get paid any sick pay money by “cashing in sick days”. The school district pays the retirement system only what the employee would have paid into the system if they actually took the time off for illness. So if the employee “cashes in” 100 sick days, the employer only pays out about 8 1/2 days pay. Hardly a golden parachute.

    • To be clear, sick days in a contract are a way of boards saving money. They are figured into the cost of a contract but are rarely paid out in full. A sick day is a benefit only if it is used. Anon is right. In some districts sick days can be converted to years of service for retirement credit. But that is a mutual benefit to all concerned.

  4. When teachers are absent, instructional time is forever lost and a substitute teacher must be be hired to – at the very least – supervise the kids. So, incentivizing teachers to bank their sick days is efficient and cost-effective. So, what is the justification for administrators in the state superintendent’s office to also be getting this deal?

  5. Rahm, Duncan, Rauner, UNO, edTPA. Do all the corrupt roads in edu-deform run through Chicago, or only most of them?

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