The Baltimore teachers union approved a contract today that does away with seniority-based “step” raises, and instead creates four “career pathways” — one of which is for highly effective teachers. The contract also allows for teachers and principals of individual schools to lengthen the school day or make other changes. (This September Baltimore Sun editorial provides more detail on the contract, itself.)
The union rejected the same contract earlier this fall. According to the Baltimore Sun and AFT President Randi Weingarten, who issued a statement tonight, teachers felt they needed more time to study these changes.
Here’s part of Weingarten’s statement:
WASHINGTON—With today’s contract ratification, Baltimore joins a growing list of school districts nationwide that are using collective bargaining and collaboration as vehicles for education reform. The contract is a bold step by the Baltimore Teachers Union and the Baltimore City Public Schools to transform the city’s school system and make a difference in the lives of all students. It meshes unique reforms with school improvement strategies that are working in other districts. The BTU and BCPS have shown what is possible when both sides are committed to a collaborative process that is focused on working in the best interests of kids.
The provisions of the agreement establish a foundation for improved teaching and learning. The agreement replaces the conventional seniority system with a new career pathway that allows educators to determine the pace of their career advancement and associated salary increases, depending on additional work they take on as well as training they complete. It also provides for labor-management collaboration on school improvement programs and other education decisions, a process to ensure more reliable teacher evaluations, and increased access to better professional development.