Union leaders bash BCPSS
Jimmy Gittings and Marietta English both bashed the Alonso administration as they were interviewed last night on WEAA's "At Issue" show with George Collins. English, co-president of the Baltimore Teachers Union, described the city school system's new structure giving principals budgetary authority "a train wreck getting ready to happen." Both she and Gittings, the president of the administrators union, called for an elected school board, saying the current board is letting Dr. Alonso dismantle a structure that was leading to higher test scores.
As expected, Gittings railed about not being allowed to speak at next week's back-to-school event for administrators. While Alonso has said he had to shorten the speaker list to make the day one of meaningful professional development, Gittings contends that he was given short shrift because of his public criticism of Alonso and his budget restructuring.
Saying it "hurt me to my heart" when Alonso was named CEO instead of Charlene Cooper Boston, Gittings gave her and Bonnie Copeland credit for the recent increase in test scores. "I am not going to sit idly back and have someone else take the glory from these two ladies and their administration," he said.
Gittings was followed on the program by English, who said several teachers in the city still do not know which schools they'll be working at when classes resume Aug. 25. (This is because several principals eliminated positions at their schools as a result of the budget shortfall and reorganization. On the bright side, officials in the human resources department told me a few days ago, the system is poised to start the new year without the teaching vacancies it normally has.)
English acknowledged that no teachers will be out of a job (other than those who were terminated because they'd had conditional certification dating back to at least 2005). She also acknowledged that it will be a good thing if the system ends up having enough teachers to put two in some larger classrooms. (If there are surplus teachers, I've been told, some first-year teachers might be placed alongside veterans.) She praised Alonso's initiative to create more alternative schools but did not give him credit for it.