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Baltimore teachers pass groundbreaking contract

By Katy Murphy
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 at 8:45 pm in school reform, teachers.

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.

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  • Jessica Stewart

    Wow, this sounds excellent – motivating for teacher to have access to a career ladder that includes more than just becoming a principal.

    I would love to see some of these ideas incorporated into the new contract that is being worked on between OEA and OUSD.

  • Jessica Stewart

    It sounds like the process of getting to this agreement was very different than how negotiations currently work for many districts and unions:

    “The contract took union leaders and Mr. Alonso eight months to hash out, with each side bringing its ideas to the table and negotiating a deal that is good for teachers and also in the best interests of city schoolchildren. That degree of cooperation hasn’t necessarily been evident in other cities that have tried reform — most notably, Washington, D.C. — sometimes with disastrous results. Although the contract gives up the kind of uniform pay raises that have long been a hallmark of union contracts, it’s clear that teachers stand to benefit.”

  • winnipeg nancy

    GO BALTIMORE!!!

  • livegreen

    Indeed. Never happen here. It’s important to protect failed teachers & successful teachers alike. After all, they all pay the same dues.

    Should failed teachers who get rotated around OUSD from school-to-school really have to pay more for the extra services they get from the OEA for having to perpetually defend them & OUSD having to manage the extra personnel costs?

    Of course not…That’s why successful teachers join a Union. To help protect the unsuccessful ones.

  • The real issue

    To be honest, money has never been the issue for a lot of teachers that I know. Most of them want more prep time built into their days so that they can actually get work done and get it done well. Money is important, but not as important as having a job that is sustainable and feels like you aren’t being taken advantage of.

    If you are in front of kids for 7 hours a day, that only leaves you 1 hour. That’s 5 hours or 300 minutes a week to plan, grade papers, make phone calls, tutor students, etc. If you have 7 classes of 30 kids, that is 210 students in all. So according to the way the school day is currently set up, if we didn’t have to create lesson plans, we would have about 1.5 minutes per student per week to grade papers, give them extra help, and call their parents. Unfortunately we still need to create lesson plans which takes a good 20 minutes per class period if it is done well. I don’t blame most teacher’s for not spending the time. Since many teachers have more than one course to plan for, you are looking at about 200 hours of planning time needed per week.

    Teacher’s are constantly expected to give up their time because it is “for the kids.” Why doesn’t the public find a way to rework the school day so that teachers have the time to be effective. After all, isn’t it “for the kids.” I bet you would have more highly effective teachers if that were the case.

  • JR

    What the taxpayers need to re-work is the education system itself that has entrenched teachers who are not very capable, in short ” you either hack it or pack it” just like in the real world. No hearing or grievance, just gone. The problem is that the unions are trying to force us to keep people who can’t do the job, because they do pay the dues(actually its the taxpayers that pay for it all). Then there is the issue of useless redundant overpaid bureaucrats who siphon off money that should be going into the classroom(increased teachers salaries,supplies,material etc).

  • JR

    Real issue,
    The teachers are expected to do their jobs(there is no need to over-dramatize,teaching is hard but it is not complex, there are plenty of airheads doing it) and in this free society if they are unhappy with their work they have the freedom and choice to look for another occupation. It is what it is.

  • cranky teacher

    As usual JR, you are wrong. Teaching well is extremely complex, regardless of how many “airheads” do it.

    Real Issue was not overdramatizing at all. In fact, the only issue I took with his depiction was the idea that a good lesson plan can be done in 20 minutes. Perhaps for a veteran, or somebody hewing very close to scripted or textbook curriculum. But to make a lesson plan that is truly scaffolded, differentiated and carefully maps out each minute of the period — essential for “highly spirited” classes — it can take a new teacher an hour or two. And many new teachers are saddled with 3-4 different courses to teach.

    I am intrigued by the Baltimore contract and will read more.

    Livegreen says “never happen here” — why? Baltimore and Oakland actually have a ton in common. I couldn’t watch “The Wire: Season Four” set in a Baltimore school because it was just like going to work.

  • JR

    Cranky,
    Sorry to disagree with you but most teachers are taken from the lowest third of college grads(that’s a fact). If you are tenured and you want to coast, you can and there isn’t much that anyone can do the way contracts are written. You want more proof of lack of complexity?

    This is an excerpt from the
    “There appear to be important gains in teaching quality in the first year of experience and smaller gains over the next few career years. However, there is little evidence that improvements continue after the first three years.” (p.449)

    http://edpro.stanford.edu/Hanushek/admin/pages/files/uploads/teachers.econometrica.pdf

    “most of the gains in achievement associated with teacher experience occur in the first two years of teaching with an effect size of 0.0503. Though the estimated coefficients rise to a peak of 0.0617 for a teacher with 21-27 years of experience, none of the coefficients for additional years of experience differ statistically from the coefficient for 1-2 years. Thus we conclude that novice teachers in the sample are less effective than teachers in the sample with some experience, but beyond the first couple of years, more experienced teachers are no more effective than those with a couple of years of experience. One interpretation of this pattern is that there is little or no additional learning on the job after the first few years in teaching.” (p. 18-19).

    If you want more evidence just let me know.

    Teaching is not rocket science, but it can be hard, and on the other hand it does not have to be that hard.

    I’ll be waiting for your unbiased evidence.

  • Katy Murphy

    Here’s Ed Week’s blog post on the new Baltimore teachers contract:

    http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/teacherbeat/2010/11/baltimore_teachers_ratify_cont.html

  • Ms. J.

    Yes, just like in the real world, where executives get paid millions and millions of dollars while their companies lose money–that’s really hacking it.

    JR, I know you claim that you are not attacking all teachers, just the bad ones, and that if we aren’t bad we shouldn’t feel defensive upon reading your posts, but I have to say that your words always feel very personal and bitter to me. Your tone is so relentlessly sarcastic, as if you really don’t expect anything but nonsense from anyone who disagrees with you.

    Now you present the fact that ‘teachers are taken from the lowest third of college grads.’ I’m willing to accept that statistic, for what it’s worth (did you know that 36% of statistics are made up?), but so what? Teaching is a rigorous, demanding profession and it’s amazing to see a gifted teacher at work, but that does not mean that teachers have to be academic stars. I always felt in my ed program that there was too much of an attempt to justify us academically. Teaching is a craft, honed by experience but helped a great deal by empathy and intuition; it has taken me years to learn what I’ve learned as a teacher. I have learned it in workshops and in observations of other teachers, in reading books and in listening to criticism of my techniques.

    Teaching is not a purely academic discipline but that does not mean it is not a complex job.

    I think this Baltimore plan sounds very promising. It thrills me when I improve my practice, and I look forward to working with others to make this a possibility for Oakland teachers too.

  • JR

    Ms.J,
    It’s interesting that you should bring up the fact that the “lowest third stat” is made up, I checked it out after Gordon Danning(I believe) first posted it, and sure enough it’s true. I also happen to believe that many teachers perform well outside pure academic boundaries and change the world for the better by teaching our kids to the greatest extent possible, unfortunately not all teachers do this. Having a teacher who is not up to par is not the same as a bad doctor or bad lawyer(you can walk away from those people)children cannot walk away from the class they are assigned to and are stuck the teacher they have(like it or not until they decide to move on or retire).

  • Donna

    The Baltimore system sounds intriguing, but the devil is in the details. How will it be implemented since Baltimore obviously has teachers at various steps in the current pay scale and in various lanes due to master’s degrees, etc.? And does this also mean that a teacher’s pay can go down due to poor evaluations?

  • Betty Olson-Jones

    Indeed, the devil is in the details. I have nothing against career pathways for teachers so there are more choices than going into administration. But why does this mean seniority-based “steps” need to go? Minneapolis has an interesting system that allows teachers to move by columns across the salary schedule based on providing professional development to their colleagues, without giving up step increases. Why do people like JR automatically seem to assume that anyone with any years of experience is automatically suspect? Ms. J is spot on — teaching is a craft, honed by experience, and it depends on plenty more than good grades in a good college.

  • Hills Parent

    I don’t assume that just because someone has been teaching a long time that they are a good teacher. Some of the best teachers I have come across – enthusiastic, driven, hardworking, committed, smart, caring – have been young and within their first five years of teaching. I have also come across some wonderful veterans.

    But two of the worst teachers, one of which should no longer be teaching, are educators who have been in their profession in excess of 20 years. Clearly time has not helped them to learn or hone their craft and it’s time they moved on.

  • Turanga_teach

    It is a fact, perhaps a somewhat unsavory one, that a recent McKinsey & Co study states that only 23% of teachers came from the top third of their college class and 47% came from the bottom third.

    It is not a “fact”, JR, that 47% is “most”.

  • JR

    Turanga,

    You’re a teacher so you should know if you are dividing by thirds then 47% is the biggest part of the three(or most).

  • JR

    Hills parent,
    I have been saying that for a while, but never as well as you just did. Good post……

  • TheTruthHurts

    Well, Ms. Olson-Jones, since you opened the door, why must seniority STAY? Baltimore teachers seem OK with what they got. Why would that not work in Oakland? Why isn’t that better for Oakland’s kids? Is there something wrong with these good folks in Baltimore? Have they missed the boat on some essential criteria for successful students and teachers? The article says there’s more emphasis on performance for pay increases. Seems to work work in the private sector. Seems to work in higher education. What are we missing? Please enlighten us all. Inquiring minds want to know.

  • Turanga_teach

    JR, you stated:
    “Most teachers are taken from the lowest third of college grads(that’s a fact).” This implies that the majority (I’d go farther and say when we say “most”, we’re talking eight out of ten or so) of teachers were in the bottom third of their graduating class.

    That is demonstrably untrue. As “a teacher”, I also question whether your 47% is the bigger-part-of-three-hence-MOST statement would stand up in a fifth grade math class or a three-option ballot measure, but that’s a bigger tangent than we need here.

  • JR

    Turanga,
    47% in the bottom third
    23% from the top third
    30% from the middle third

    Not enough for you? Three percent does not make it look any better,trust me.

  • JR

    Truth hurts,
    Good questions, but I doubt the answers would stand up to scrutiny. Taxpayers need some good explanations from the public sector employees.

  • sue

    It seems to me that the attacks and burdens of change are being focused solely on teachers. While I do agree that the teaching profession and its relationship with Teachers union’s are a problem- no one has touched on other factors.

    School Boards: Who are the members serving? It appears to me that many serve as an extension to unions, while other use it as a platform for political careers. Why is it that the same board (for the most part) that sunk OUSD into the 100 million dollar bailout in 2003 still serve? Something needs to change.

    Parents: Shouldn’t parents be held to a more accountable program? Its time to eliminate the soft gloves and stop hiding behind color, racist and socio economic posturing and tell ALL that if they do not support their kids education- there will be consequences. Good schools for those that want it- good luck to those that do not care. America needs to stop sacrficing the wholoe for the few.

    In the meantime- generations will continue to be set up fora dismal future.

  • Katy Murphy

    Actually, four of the seven Oakland school board members didn’t join until 2005 or later: Alice Spearman in 2005, Chris Dobbins in 2007, and Jumoke Hinton Hodge and Jody London in 2009. Gary Yee and David Kakishiba started their first terms in 2002, a few months before the fiscal problems started to surface.

    http://bit.ly/cUNoKQ

  • JR

    Sue,
    Parents(for lack of a better word)are a big problem. You’ve got young undereducated baby-mamas having kids they cannot support, and you’ve got irresponsible, uneducated baby-daddies making genetic reproductions of themselves(GOD help us all)multiple times with multiple females. These poor children are brought into this world with no hope,no guidance and most likely no good future. I hate to make things political but the free love,choose your own morality, welfare, nanny state have brought us to the brink.

    You blame these parents, but yet you(all liberal leaners) have enabled their irresponsibility to begin with.

  • Hills Parent

    Right on, Sue! In most cases, teachers aren’t the problem. It’s the parents! If kids come from an environment where they are prepared to enter school and are supported at home throughout their years as a student, then we wouldn’t have the problems we have today.

    When I come across a student who is academically behind, in most cases they come from less than ideal home situation. Many of the behavioral problems come from a similar environment. Even the best teachers usually aren’t able to overcome a deficient home environment (the only thing that seems to work on those cases are really expensive programs like Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children Zone that offer support far beyond academics).

    If you are going to have children, they you also need to be responsible about raising them and creating an environment that will promote success.

    However, there are teachers who should not be teaching due to poor performance etc. If schools or school districts had the ability to shed the bottom 5-10% of teachers, then parents would no longer have any ammunition to blame the teachers because the deadweight would be gone.

  • teacher.

    Ms. Olson Jones,

    I have 6 years experience and have consistently received positive evaluations from superiors and peers alike. I attend PD with my own money, work over the summer, and work 11 hour days during the school year. I was a union rep at our site and have been on the SSC for 4 years.

    The gym “teacher” at my old school had 30 years experience but was woefully inadequate. He showed up late everyday and left at the bell, and burned his sick days at either end of a long weekend. He sat on a bench while kids ran rampant, got hurt, and drank behind the gym. His peers filed multiple complaints with admin and they attempted to “evaluate him out” multiple times.

    The union protected him every single time.
    He makes almost twice as much as me for doing probably a hundredth of the work. His colleagues tried to check his behavior, because he clearly made the overwhelmingly hard working and effective staff look bad. But you (the union) wouldn’t allow it. He is the baddest of the bad apples, and not even union members could convince you otherwise.

    And you wonder why folks criticize the step and column salary schedule. You (our union) should take the responsibility to hold your members to a high degree of professionalism so they (district, public) don’t have to. Stop protecting the small minority of folks working in this district who make the rest of us look bad. Then and only then will you have ANY credibility.

  • Cranky Teacher

    This last post raises a key problem in the current “Waiting for Superman” attack on unions for protecting “lemons” — what is the process where a union can decide who merits protecting based on contract language and who doesn’t?

    It is completely unrealistic to expect the union’s handful of paid officials to evaluate and police thousands of teacher — especially when you consider that hundreds of administrators seem completely overwhelmed by the job.

    Reality: Only the students really know what goes on every minute in classrooms and gyms.

    So, given the problem, what is a VIABLE solution? Shall peers be allowed to vote on each other’s performance to decide the level of advocacy the union provides? Students?

    Remember, too, that we live in a litigious society — a union could probably be sued for not providing by-the-book protection for members.

  • TheTruthHurts

    @Teacher, you’ve really said it all on this topic.

    @Cranky, there are many unions in the private and public sectors that actually believe they are in a PROFESSION that needs to be protected from forces on the outside and the INSIDE that would demean that profession. They support contracts and policies that uncover and swiftly (with due process of course) address poor performance. They actively try to counsel out bad performers as a protection against the demeaning of their profession. Poor performers are discouraged from running to the union for cover.

    There are now some unions that even recognize the importance of having incentives (not necessarily monetary) to encourage strong performance and discourage poor performance.

    In contrast, it appears to every rational observer that Oakland has accepted mediocrity. Teacher leaders have encouraged contracts and policies that foster mediocrity (ie., you do not reward excellence and you do not remove incompetence).

    While I’m sure the poor attendance at the strike vote had many causes, I suspect hopelessness regarding the entire situation was one of them. That’s sad. Both the district and the union need to find a better way to have teachers feel empowered, respected, rewarded and engaged.

    The post from Teacher (post 27) should be the poster child (pun intended) for how things go wrong and should not be allowed to continue. That situation points out how you demean teachers, demean kids and demean the profession all at the same time.

    When will Oakland wake up?

  • JR

    Teacher,
    Bravo, and I am fairly certain I had that same exact P.E. teacher. Betty O.Jones needs to look out for the best interest of her members and profession as a whole by weeding out the incompetent. This wont fix the problems, but it is a good start in the right direction. Most teachers are hardworking, caring individuals who do not deserve to have their profession maligned because of a certain percentage of incompetent teachers(so don’t stand in the way so much). As for unions they have a lot in common with politicians, and both believe in the credo ” if you are getting run out of town, convince them that it is a parade and “YOU” are leading it.

  • Hills Parent

    Teacher, I could not agree more with your post and I’m so sorry that your school has someone like that too. There is at least one teacher at my child’s school that falls into that category, though not quite as bad as what you described, and it’s dragging everyone down. Every year the children and parents who are in that class face the same challenges with this teacher and the children end up woefully behind at the end of the year.

    The fact that this person is still teaching is a disgrace and it’s completely not fair that they are being compensated at a higher level (due to seniority) than the dozens of other good to great educators at the school. If I were a teacher, I would want every one of those bad apples to be driven out so it would raise the standard of the entire profession.

    Why a union would defend poor performance is beyond me. Betty, I would love to hear a response! That’s the single biggest reason why I could not support the union, in spite of the fact that the majority of teachers are wonderful and deserving of greater compensation.

  • JR

    Hills Parent,
    I too would be a union supporter if not for the abusive seniority, tenure system.

  • JR

    On second thought I don’t like the way the union forces people to pay “agency fees” whether or not you join. they are like a legalized mafia protection racket, and doesn’t this guy look the part?

    http://www.businessinsider.com/head-of-nj-teachers-union-got-paid-over-twice-as-much-as-the-governor-2010-9

  • JR
  • Harold

    OEA doesn’t fire or hire Teachers in Oakland. Asking the union leadership to “get rid of” a Teacher, shows how little you know about the process.

    The union is not one person. Berating someone (publicly) who only has her one vote, also shows how little you know about the process.

  • JR

    Harold,
    Like it or not taxpayers are beginning to wake up and learn about how the union works, and they don’t like what they are seeing. Once again OEA by contract has set the rules by which teachers are hired,disciplined and fired. What is it about that statement that you do not understand? You are a teacher so your comprehension should allow you to understand it.

    http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/education/article_a0afe6e4-e839-11de-b3d7-001cc4c03286.html

    http://www.edweek.org/login.html?source=http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2005/11/16/13teach_web.h25.html&destination=http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2005/11/16/13teach_web.h25.html&levelId=2100

    Knowledge is the great equalizer and taxpayers need to know how their money is spent.

  • JR

    Harold,
    Maybe the real reason you object is that “truth hurts” is right and OUSD has indeed accepted and embraced mediocrity, and people are shining some light on that. You want “business as usual, and keep those checks coming” but taxpayers are saying “Whoa, its way past time to show me some results and hard work”.

  • Harold

    I pay property taxes. My son is a student in the OUSD. I am heavily invested in this school district. I want it to flourish too!

    Do you REALLY believe OEA has a say in who is hired in the OUSD? I had ZERO contact with OEA when i was hired. I believe, the requirements are set by the federal and state government.

    If OEA had a say in who was hired … please tell me how all of these charter school Teachers (who are not OEA members) were hired. Also, tell me how OEA has anything to do with them being fired if/when that happens?

  • JR

    Do I really believe OEA has a say in who is hired and fired? Yes its covered in the union mandated contract.There are strict guidelines on how the process is carried out(which is why most principals don’t even try.

    http://www.educationsector.org/publications/understanding-teachers-contracts

    I don’t know why you diverted the question to charters but they are free to hire and fire who they like, and at what rate because they are not unionized, but this link explains that too. If you don’t know how it works you should read these links.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-teachers3-2009may03,0,5765040,full.story

  • Harold

    Union mandated contract? We are under imposition. They do what they want. Someone mentioned that the district is refusing to honor the “Obamacare” provision (children covered till 26 years of age).

    There are charter schools at every level in Oakland. Send your kid to one if you don’t like the schools that are unionized. Good luck!

  • JR

    Harold,
    We private sector taxpayers who pay the bills(public sector employees money is entirely from taxation) are going to set the agenda, and we will decide how the public sector works. The public sector has shown that it cannot manage its own financial well being(tax money is not limitless) and the public pension debacle will crush this state if something is not done.

  • teacher.

    OEA doesn’t have a say in who is hired. But they do have a say in who the defend. The time and effort they put into defending teachers who should just be let go could be put into much more productive arenas….like negotiating our contract.

  • JR

    Teacher,
    My mistake, that should read re-hired.

  • Works at high school

    Every day as part of my job, I sit in a high school classroom with a couple of my students. This classroom has a nice teacher who has been teaching for a long time. She is also disorganized and takes an inordinate amount of time to get the class started on the lesson – the other day it was 30 wasted minutes collecting the homework. She seems to be afraid to tell the misbehaving students to be quiet and sit down, instead asking them if they would like to be quiet. Kids talk back to her regularly. I just wish she would stop being so nice! I feel sorry for the kids in the class who want to learn because not a lot of learning goes on in that classroom.
    I also sit in a classroom with a brand new teacher – 2nd year- who has a really good command of her classroom and has no wasted time. The kids are learning in her class. She sometimes misses the earbuds in the ears but deals with the noisemakers. It would be a travesty if due to teacher cuts, she were to be let go and the first teacher retained.
    If the first teacher could have someone help her by giving her tips on how to organize and control her class, then her class would be better but I don’t think that will ever happen. I have to wonder if throughout her teaching carer her classes have been like this and no one has ever said anything.

  • JR

    Works at High,
    The system that we have in place right now is set up to reward both the effective and ineffective teachers as if they were equal(although if you have seniority you have wonderful protection), what could be more fair than that? The alleged big winners are the kids who can get passed on without learning much of anything(some in JR. and SR. high are functionally illiterate). This has been standard for decades now, although the districts and schools with motivated parents and students do well irregardless.
    I have been thinking about the claim that tenure enables teachers to be advocates for kids,and say whatever needs to be said to help kids succeed. Why then are so many kids falling through the gaping chasms? why isn’t the tenured teacher demanding that the child gets intervention, and parental support(is it too much trouble or is it just easier to babysit)? I know a junior teacher who phones the parents and asks them to sit in on class,repeatedly holds meetings tells parents in no uncertain terms what they must do and also has parents check homework and sign it off. This teacher does these things even though it allegedly put her in a precarious position. She is a shining example of someone trying to change the world a few kids at a time. She is one of the best teachers that it has ever been my privilege to know. Unfortunately she gets non-elected every year, and we are saddled with many veterans who don’t even come close to her ability.

  • JR

    A few more things about this teacher, she gets results, at every school that she has been to, even with some of the lowest kids in the district(far below basic and below basic)these kids improve a level or two. The parents see the improvement in their kids but we never know if she will have a job and if so where she will be placed. Its a shame, it really is.

  • livegreen

    I agree w Sue, JR & Hills Parent: Parents that don’t help their children study, that let their kids watch hours of TV (or put them there), or worse & r otherwise non-participatory in their child’s education (& often lives) r a BIG part of a problem. & How is a teacher supposed to overcome families who, starting in K-1, don’t do homework & help their kids learn to read or do elementary math?

    Our Elementary has less of these parents (who r predominently poorer) but we still have some and I’m sure there r schools who have a lot more. Do any schools have in place a system to help bring these families into the process, and work to increase family participation in their kids lives?

    Because the kids, the schools, and all of us ARE being affected.

  • Works at high school

    I think in order for a teacher to effectively handle discipline problems the way she /he like to – by really cracking down on noisy, rude students or students who just won’t obey the no electronics rules, they have to have an administration that is willing to back them up. In my years of working at schools, I have seen teachers get in trouble because they tried to do the right thing and come down hard on unruly students, only to have the admins be afraid of the parents and not back up the teachers. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – often the rudest children have the rudest parents and they intimidate the admins. What is needed are principals and VPs with cojones.

    I also think teachers are afraid to give too many failing grades to students who deserve them, for fear it will reflect badly on them. I see huge numbers of students who come to class late, don’t do the do-nows, classwork or homework and then expect to pass as if it is their God-given right. At one of the “best” middle schools, they pass everyone, even those with GPAs in the 1.0 range. What a joke. The kids know they don’t have to try because they will pass anyway so it makes it harder on the teachers to have any leverage.

    Until Oakland schools actually enforce their rules instead of just paying lip service to them, the schools will continue to have the kind of problems that make parents send their kids elsewhere.

  • livegreen

    I think the lack of administrative support for teachers working with kids problem-absantee parents who aren’t upholding their responsibilities at home (doing homework, reading, etc) at a young age leads into the lack of support by administrative support with disruptive kids once they’re older.

    In other words, schools that put in place a way to help younger kids with challenged parents will then have a platform to deal with dicipline issues with the older kids.

    Such a platform should b shared District wide.

    & definitely in the PK-8 “alignment” outlined in the Strategic Plan.
    (Now if only the Disrict would b clear about how the PK-8 is going to align,
    since the new Regions in the Map don’t match the current feeder network)…

  • Hot r

    And police and firemen who make $100,000 plus a year are from the bottom 30 percent of junior colleges, and George Bush and John Kerry graduated with C- averages from Yale, and Steve Jobs dropped out and Jennifer Lopez when asked what she got on the SAT said “nail polish.”. Oh yeah, your plumber makes more than your kid’s teacher and so does the prison guard who is a high school graduate. Did I mention your mechanic?

    some of those teachers struggled through college because they themselves were the first in their families to go to college, working extra jobs just to get by. Do they really have to apologize to you for their college grades? Let’s just keep that class warfare going JR.