Kudos to Baltimore

The Baltimore Teachers Union (affiliated with the AFT) approved the proposed contract, just one month after the rejection of a similar contract. The new contract, along with a few other exemplars (i.e. Colorado) should become national models for contract negotiations. The quality of implementation of the conditions will test the meaning behind the language, but the fact that the new contract changes some of the long-standing practices truly changes what is possible. Now, some of these practices need to be incorporated into state code for the states that don’t have local collective bargaining.

Stephen Sawchuk of EdWeek discusses some of the details, “There are a lot of new details in this plan, but arguably its newsiest feature is that it restructures the base-pay system for teachers, which in nearly every district in the country is based on credentials and longevity. There won’t be any more automatic “step” increases each year in Baltimore; raises will be based on collecting achievement units from good evaluations and participation in professional development… One [graduate] credit is just one achievement unit, while a superior evaluation is 12. So getting good evaluations is a much faster way to increase one’s pay. Teachers can also advance up a career ladder, taking on additional roles as they earn good evaluations and pass a peer review. The contract is important in the larger national conversation about teacher pay, too, because to date most experiments with pay have been with additive features, like bonuses, rather than changes to the base-pay salary grid.”

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