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October 29, 2010

Time to re-examine who's working in our schools?

Baltimore city school officials have grappled in recent months, with having to explain how employees who fill obscure roles in schools end up facing criminal charges, or how those who have past criminal, civil, or serious allegations aren't red-flagged. 

It started in July, when City College "contractor" Ryan Coleman was charged with sexual assault of a student. Last week, Tyree Miles, a "temporary" employee was accused of attempting to sell a weapon to a school police officer on school grounds. And this week a "volunteer" at a school was charged with egregious allegations relating to sexually abusing a 14-year-old special ed student.

In each case, the school system had some explanation of why each accusee went undetected: each had passed a background check; the hirings were done at the school level, presumably by the principals, who have the autonomy of staffing their schools; in the most recent case, the boy's blind mother requested that her son have the accused mentor in the school.

All of the questions of hiring practices resurfaced last week as we were also reporting that a principal was removed from her school after an investigation into who she had on the school's payroll.

The school has yet to respond to questions of whether their hiring practices and policies need revisiting, and if hiring at the school-based level needs a bit more oversight.

I'd like to know you if our readers think this was just a bad stretch or a call to action for the school system to re-examine who they, directly or indirectly, are allowing to work with children in city schools?

Posted by Erica Green at 4:53 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Baltimore City
        

October 28, 2010

Joe Hairston refuses to be interviewed by Attorney General

Baltimore County school chief Joe Hairston decided not to cooperate with an ethics inquiry conducted by the Attorney General at the request of county legislators.

The story in Friday's paper details the reaction of legislators and suggests there may be a push for an elected school board again next year.

 

Posted by Liz Bowie at 6:44 PM | | Comments (21)
Categories: Baltimore County
        

October 27, 2010

BTU gears up for round two

The Baltimore Teachers Union released Tuesday a revised tentative agreement that it plans to have its members vote on in the coming weeks. I obtained the contract shortly after it was released to building representatives last night. It was nicely color-coded to highlight changes from the original and sections that will now be featured more prominently. The fully revised contract can now be viewed on the BTU website.

There were very few new details in the contract, but union officials did seem to make a valiant effort in providing specifics of the contract's most radical initiatives. But, the provision that was at the heart of the agreement's opposition to the contract--how teachers would be evaluated--still remains incomplete because a new evaluative tool that will be used statewide has yet to be drafted. Reporter Liz Bowie wrote a story last week describing how the state has hit some recent snags in establishing that tool.

The city school board voted to extend the union's contract through Nov. 30, which means teachers will have a month to decide whether the revisions were enough.

Do you think they are?

Posted by Erica Green at 10:49 AM | | Comments (55)
Categories: Baltimore City
        

October 22, 2010

Baltimore County schools budget woes

At the school board's most recent meeting this week, the leadership presented its first look at how tight the budget may be next year. The forecasts aren't good, although it is difficult to tell yet how bad it will be.

The biggest problem ahead seems to be making up for $19 million in federal stimulus funds that won't be there next year. In the worst-case scenario, the county would see a 3.7 percent shortfall, or about $45 million.

The response by school board president Earnest E. Hines was to talk about the need to give the community information.  He said there is a lot of "misinformation out there" about how much money is available.  "There is no fruit in the basket and they are still asking for an air-conditioner," Hines said. 

 

Posted by Liz Bowie at 3:10 PM | | Comments (11)
        

City students to plant trees, host fall festival this weekend

If you're looking for festive and fall-inspired activities this weekend, we received the following notice from the school system about some options.

Join City Schools for a Saturday of Outdoor Fun
Great Kids Farm First Annual Harvest Festival;
Tree Planting with the Mayor

Great Kids Farm Harvest Festival
Baltimore City Public Schools’ own Great Kids Farm is hosting its first annual Harvest Festival on Saturday.  The public is invited to take an edible tour of the 33-acre campus, meet the farm’s goats and chickens, plant vegetables and sip apple cider. Visitors will also be able to enjoy a farm-fresh lunch prepared by culinary students at Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School – all in the place that teaches City Schools’ students to cultivate food straight from the earth. Admission to the festival is free; a donation of $10 per adult is suggested to help cover costs.

WHEN: Saturday, October 23, 2010
  10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

WHERE: Great Kids Farm
  6601 Baltimore National Pike 21228 (Off Route 40/Catonsville)
  www.greatkidsfarm.org

Tree Planting with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Another exciting City Schools event will take place Saturday morning at Gwynns Falls Elementary School where students will join Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and several community partners – TreeBaltimore, Parks and People Foundation, Baltimore Water Alliance and Constellation Energy – to plant trees and help the city increase its overall tree canopy, especially on school grounds. The public is invited to come out and learn about native trees and help plant more than 400 of them.

WHEN: Saturday, October 23, 2010
  9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

WHERE: Gwynns Falls Elementary School
  2700 Gwynns Falls Parkway 21216

WHO:  Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Michael Sarbanes, Baltimore City Public Schools
  Students, Baltimore City Public Schools
  Community Leaders and City Schools Partners

Posted by Erica Green at 2:56 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Baltimore City
        

October 21, 2010

Baltimore reduces black male drop out rate

Black male under achievement has been a national issue for decades, but Baltimore reported some progress yesterday. The overall rise in the graduation rate is bing led by black boys. The data is on the city school webpage.

Posted by Liz Bowie at 1:27 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Baltimore City
        

October 19, 2010

Did 'Superman' defeat the BTU contract?

I joined a group of Baltimore City teachers and educators from around the region Monday at the Landmark Theatre to view the controversial new documentary, "Waiting for Superman," a film whose exposure of longstanding failures in public education has recently spurred a negative discourse in the district.

Last week, Marietta English, president of the Baltimore Teachers Union, cited the documentary, in part, for the defeat of a radical, reform-centric contract that teachers voted to reject. She said the contract was proposed at a time when "fear, frustration and distrust are at an all-time high," adding that "the situation has not been helped by the movie 'Waiting for Superman' and the teacher bashing that has occurred since its release."

In his first public statements about the movie since its release, city schools CEO Andres Alonso said the movie's "fundamental truth is effectively right" in that poor, black and Hispanic children should not be prisoners of their ZIP codes when it comes to access to education. He said that fundamental truth "transcends any other aspect of the movie I might have revisited."

Of the movie's effect on the contract vote, Alonso said: "We should try very hard not to scapegoat anyone. Given how the voter turnout was, we should respect that it was an extraordinary difficult decision to make." 

The viewing Monday was hosted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, which also engaged viewers in a discussion after the movie. Teachers I spoke with did not overwhelmingly think that the movie affected the contract, but many said that while the film raised great points about the state of the teaching profession, they hoped director Davis Guggenheim is planning a sequel.

About a week before Baltimore's union contract vote, Guggenheim, the Oscar-winning director of "An Inconvenient Truth," released the movie nationwide, taking viewers on an evocative journey of five students whose access to quality education was determined by a charter school lottery.

The struggles for those students and their families were undeniably unjust, but how they got to the point of placing their lives in the luck of the draw is not so clear cut.

The film featured education experts, including Johns Hopkins reseach scientist Robert Balfanz, who sounded off about everything from whether public education has failed because of unfulfilled promises from politicians or unrelenting teacher unions, or whether failing neighborhoods are responsible for failing schools or vice-versa.

Emphasis was placed on teachers--particularly in the notion that "if you continue to breathe for two years, you get tenure," and the bad teachers who are so hard to fire, they are simply traded off by principals in a "lemon dance."

Former Washington D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, who recently resigned after an embattled tenure, was arguably the "superwoman" of the movie. You couldn't help but think that those who opposed her tactics--teachers unions and D.C. teachers primarily--were the villains.

Rhee's most humanistic moment in the movie was when the usually unwavering personality sinks in the corner of her car after attending a D.C. teacher union meeting, when officials didn't even allow the membership to vote on a new contract that attempted to do away with tenure. A defeated Rhee mumbles: "Now, I see in a more coherent way, why things are the way they are." 

But city teachers who attended the viewing said the movie didn't coherently explain the complexities of public education, namely, the variables of socio-economic conditions and instablility that infiltrate the classroom.

"I really expected a more balanced presentation in terms of options for public schools," said Candice Abd'al-Rahim, a city school teacher. "According to this movie, the most viable options are charter schools."  

Chris Kosmides, a city charter school teacher, told the crowd that the movie highlighted "how frustrated we feel about the [public school] kids we left behind because we know what we left them with." Still, he compared the movie's premise to standardized tests in that there is always a search for the right answer.

An Anne Arundel County librarian encouraged city teachers to stand up for themselves in the wake of the contract vote: "I have worked with supermen and women everyday, and this striked at the core of everything I've done my entire life. It's imperative for public school teachers to speak up."

Helen Atkinson, a director of a city charter school, compared the documentary to a 1950s propaganda movie. She said the movie "posed the problem as if it were very simple, and the solutions as if it were equally as simply."

As the movie garners the attention of the public in the coming weeks, many will be watching Baltimore as it moves forward in attempting to revolutionize the teaching profession. The timing may be unfortunate, but the dialogue more poignant.

Has anybody seen the movie? Do you think it affected the BTU vote? How do you think the movie will affect the perception of city teachers if the new contract ultimately fails?

Posted by Erica Green at 2:44 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Baltimore City
        

Montgomery County doesn't win Broad

The largest education prize in the nation was just announced and a school district outside of Atlanta was the winner. Montgomery County had been one of five finalists this year for the $1 million prize. Gwinnett County beat out Montgomery County, two school systems in El Paso and a former finalist, Charlotte Mecklenburg. The finalists are chosen from among the urban school districts in the nation that have improved student achievement overall and closing the gap for minority and poor children. As a finalist, Montgomery County will get $250,000 in scholarship money to be given to seniors this year.

Posted by Liz Bowie at 12:51 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Around the Nation
        

October 18, 2010

Former BTU President weighs in on proposed contract

Sharon Blake, former president of the Baltimore Teachers Union and city teacher of 36 years, shared her views last week on the recently proposed and rejected union contract.

Blake, a longtime rival of current President Marietta English, joined the opposition in challenging the contract's long-term implications and even brought up an interesting point not yet raised in the debate about what will become of the union with all the autonomy and career ownership being presented in the new contract.

Blake and English ran against each other three times for the BTU presidency. Blake defeated incumbent English by two votes when the women first squared off in 2000. Blake was president until 2002, when English won the position back.

English most recently defeated Blake in 2008, when Blake tried to recapture her seat. She's stayed off the radar ever since.

Read below, for her thoughts:

Heading into the vote last week, Blake, a teacher at Frederick Douglass High, joined many of her colleagues in cautioning educators against "signing a blank check."

"I think the proposed contract, on its face, is a good contract," Blake said.  "I, on the same token, would caution people, on voting on a contract that is incomplete. The devil is always in the details."

She added that the contract essentially puts teachers in a lose-lose situation by not addressing how they would be evaluated before signing the dotted line. "How do we dismiss the home and the community, and sign on to a contract that says, I am 100 percent responsible for this student's achievement. And then, if we do, as teachers, do we let the home and community off the hook?"

Blake also said the proposed contract--particularly in allowing teachers to navigate their own career path via a new career ladder and allowing 80 percent of teachers to vote on working conditions--could have unintended consequences on the strength of the union.

"The heart and soul, bread and butter of a union is to negotiate wages and working conditions."
She predicted that five to seven years down the road, "teachers could say, what's the use of a union. I can negotiate my own wages and working conditions."

The most that Blake offered that would indicate how she would have presented the contract was to say that teachers needed to be involved in all conversations concerning how to raise student achievement, and that leaders should take as long as necessary to ensure that the details are clearly laid out.

"I certainly think this is a paradigm shift, but it is worth doing right. So, we stay at this until we do it right. So, when we go back to the membership, we say we are going to lead the nation, we are going to revolutionize education in Baltimore City, and this is how we're going to do it."

English and Blake differ in their perspectives on getting ahead of reform.

English has said repeatedly that the spirit of the contract is designed to protect teachers from the unknown, as a storm of reforms will undoubtedly infiltrate the district in the future, and the union is just facilitating a clear path for city educators.

Blake asserts that teachers can't be protected until the unknown is revealed, and asking them to bind themselves to an incomplete contract could put them, and the union, in the middle of a storm they can't get out of.

Who do you agree with?

Posted by Erica Green at 8:51 PM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Baltimore City
        

October 15, 2010

Union and district leaders to regroup, resell BTU contract

The proposed Baltimore Teachers Union contract failed to garner the majority support from the 2,600 educators who voted this week on whether to send it to ratification. Union and district officials said they are confident that once they give teachers more time to digest the contract's radical changes, it will pass with flying colors. 

Our editorial board weighed in, agreeing with BTU  President Marietta English's take that the defeat of the contract, which educators voted on Wednesday and Thursday, was just a "bump in the road."

However, details were murky Friday about how union and district leaders will address the hundreds of teachers who said they not only needed  more than two weeks to comprehend the contact, but more specifics on how its initiatives would be implemented and paid for.

In a follow-up story about the defeat, schools CEO Andres Alonso provided some insight into how much more information teachers may get in the coming weeks. Alonso has declined to speak publicly about the contract since it was presented two weeks ago, saying he did not want to risk violating labor laws by influencing the vote. Union officials said they are looking to hold another vote by the end of the month.

In a Friday morning press conference, Alonso seemed to believe that a combination of more time, more communication and motivating more teachers to vote will lead to victory. He asserted that any teacher who was voting against the contract solely because it did not contain specifics on how teachers would be evaluated is respectfully "shortsighted," and those educators probably wouldn't vote for it anyway.

Union officials agreed, but added that they will spend more time communicating the contract and will take members' suggestions back to the negotiating table for some "tweaks."

I caught up with English at the Quest teacher's conference Friday morning, where she said she planned to use the venue to engage about 1,000 teachers in an impromptu town-hall meeting to discuss the contract. She said she was feeling "positive," about moving forward and ensuring that members' concerns were addressed before the next round of voting.

I'm assuming a stronger, more concrete plan on how to garner support for the agreement will emerge as the two teams go back to drawing board next week.

But, teachers I spoke with Friday said loud and clear that if the district presents the same contract, they should expect the same result.

What do you think it will take to get union members to vote for this contract? 

Posted by Erica Green at 6:28 PM | | Comments (25)
Categories: Baltimore City
        

October 14, 2010

UPDATE: Voting will not be extended on Baltimore contract

UPDATE: The Baltimore Teachers Union said about 2:30 today that it will not extend voting past the 3 p.m. cutoff time. 

Because of unusually high turnout, Baltimore Teachers Union President Marietta English said that the the union may extend voting on the contract past 3 p.m. today at Polytechnic Institute, Cold Spring Lane and Falls Road.

The results are expected to be released tonight.

Posted by Liz Bowie at 1:22 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Baltimore County
        

Baltimore teachers are at a crossroads today

The day has come when Baltimore city teachers will decide whether to accept or reject a radical contract that will overhaul the current pay and evaluation system that has existed in the district for decades.

It has been a rather anti-climatic two weeks leading up to the vote today, which will take place from noon- 3 p.m. at Polytechnic Institute. While vocal supporters and dissenters have publically spoken out against the contract, of the dozens of teachers I've spoken with in the last few weeks, the majority said they'd rather have their voices heard in their ballots.

What the decision seems to have come down to is whether teachers are willing to take a leap of faith that an incomplete evaluation system will complement or hinder the new initiatives and hefty pay-raise opportunities outlined in the new contract.

We have covered the details to the extent they were available. We paid special attention to how teachers will be evaluated, and the safeguards outlined in the contract specifically targeting balancing the power of principals.

We covered the protests (an online petition to delay the vote had 170 signiatures this morning.)

Our editorial board has weighed in, and their support of the tentative agreeement has been dutifully challenged in  our op-ed pages. We have polled our readers on whether the city is moving in the right direction.

I have spoken to many teachers whose voices have been, and will continue to be heard in the coming days and weeks. I am heading over to Poly for the vote, and will post updates via twitter: http://twitter.com/EricaLG

The contract has been the topic of intense debate among city teachers, right up until early voting last night. Hundreds of teachers went to the BTU headquarters to cast their votes, and conversations outside the headquarters varied from, "It's too good to be true," to "It's just that good."

Either way, Baltimore city teachers are at a crossroads today. And despite what our coverage has lent to the discussion--and I have noted the criticisms--a city teacher who is against the contract,  said it best:

"Teachers will have to decide today whether this contract reflects a career they want in Baltimore."

Posted by Erica Green at 10:25 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Baltimore City
        

October 12, 2010

Ehrlich and O'Malley get emotional in debate about city schools

The debate between gubernatorial candidates Gov. Martin O'Malley and Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. that aired on WJZ-TV  Monday night was expectedly heated, as the two prepare for a second showdown in November. Any Marylander with a television has seen the attack campaigns that both candidates have employed, and last night the doomsday commercials were simply played out before a live audience.

But, there came a moment when both candidates seemed to go off script, trembling at times as they argued over the needs and accomplishments of Baltimore schoolchildren.

Ehrlich, a Republican, opened old wounds, engaging Democratic incumbent O'Malley in an evocative debate about the 2006 attempt to have the state take over 11 failing schools from Baltimore City.

The former governor implied that O'Malley, who was serving as mayor of Baltimore at the time and seeking Ehrlich's seat, conspired to block the state's takeover for political gain. Democratic leaders pushed a last-minute bill to halt the takeover. Ehrlich called it a "disgusting episode," and said he had never seen political leaders "protect a monopoly" the way they did.

“You just had to protect those numbers, you couldn’t allow those schools to go charter or private…because it would have been embarrassing in an election year,” he said.

O'Malley went on to take Ehrlich's seat in the race for governor later that year. Ehrlich said meanwhile, children in the city were "being denied their constitutional rights" to quality education, regardless of their race or where they live.

“This is really emotional gov," Ehrlich told O'Malley.

O'Malley agreed, firing back that the 2006 battle over city schools "wasn’t about protecting the monopoly, it’s about protecting the progress.” The governor said Ehrlich emphasizes too much the struggles of the poor, black students in Baltimore in his education platform, and went on to tout the city's gains on the Maryland School Assessments and the district's ability to narrow the achievement gap between city students and their counterparts.

He challenged Ehrlich on naming and visiting the schools he has seen made progress.

“Frankly, I would put our progress up in the city of Baltimore, and our rate of improvement, up against any kids in any major city in America," O'Malley said.

These were the highlights in what turned out to be a sizeable stretch of education debate. You can view the debate in its entirety here. Coveniently, the station has broken down the debate into segments and by topic, so it's easy to find. The Sun's political reporters also provided exhaustive coverage of the first square-off between the two, including a fact-check.

Definitely worth checking out. And of course, we'd love to hear your thoughts.

Posted by Erica Green at 5:54 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Baltimore City
        

Should the vote be delayed on teacher contract?

Today, Erica Green has written a piece that looks at the protest brewing among teachers who want to see the vote on the BTU contract delayed until the details of the teacher evaluation system have been decided.

Posted by Liz Bowie at 10:46 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Around the Region
        

October 11, 2010

Contract designed to balance principal autonomy, union leaders say

A story that ran in Saturday's Sun focused on how the new proposed BTU contract will affect principal autonomy and how the contract was designed to provide safeguards against subjective and arbitrary evaluations by principals, an issue that the union said it has been fighting for years.

There is strongly-worded language in the new contract outlining how the union plans to protect teachers from 'capricious' actions on the part of principals, and union officials said it was on purpose. Personally, it seemed that the contract outlines more directives for principals (such as trainings and professional development) than consequences. But either way, it's clear that this topic was a large part of the conversation at the negotiating table.

Principals will play a key role in the new contract, due to be voted on Thursday, as they will be responsible for not only evaluating teachers in a new way--but those evaluations will carry significant pay increases. Moreover, the contract will give teachers an unprescedented amount of autonomy at the school level with the newly proposed "school-based options."  

I spoke with Mary Beth Britt, a teacher awaiting an appeal hearing on her evaluation, who didn't make it into the story. She appealed her principal's decision to not renew her contract in May and is still waiting for a verdict. She spoke at a recent school board meeting, tearfully urging the school board to investigate principal behavior and to review evaluations. She told the board that her principal issued her non-renewal letter before he had observed her, fudged the dates on her evaluation, and skirted the process.

Of the new contract, Britt offered this perspective:

“It’s just amazing that the old contracts seemed to have protocols, and they have been able to do this anyway," she said. "The things that were done were almost criminal. Principals can take away our right to earn a livelihood. It’s devastating. The new contract, of course, has to be better. The new language can only help."

She ended very poignantly: "But, actions speak louder than words."

Posted by Erica Green at 12:06 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Baltimore City
        

October 8, 2010

Ehrlich would cut school funding, Baltimore to be hit hardest

Our political reporters wrote a story yesterday outlining gubernatorial candidate Bob Ehrlich's plan to cut school funding to offset rolling back the state's sales tax. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake responded to the plan, defending the city school system as an investment worth making for the state. An e-mail to schools CEO Andres Alonso seeking his thoughts went unanswered. Ehrlich's position comes at a time when Maryland school districts, the city especially, are celebrating some landmark accomplishments. It also coincides with the release of a report this week by The Center for Public Education, which outlines how public education funding is in crisis.

Posted by Erica Green at 1:15 PM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Baltimore City
        

October 7, 2010

Teacher evaluation proposal by the New Teacher Project

The New Teacher Project has just put out a paper outlining six design standards for how teacher evaluations might be done. Since Maryland has convened a task force to deliberate a new model that could be used statewide for teacher evaluations, the New Teacher Project paper is timely.

I would be interested in what teachers think of the paper and how the ideas could be used in an evaluation system in the state.

Posted by Liz Bowie at 6:10 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Around the Region
        

Views on teacher contract from outside the city limits

There's a variety of views streaming in about the proposed new contract now being debated by city teachers who must vote whether to ratify on October 14.

First, from the conservative think tank at the Fordham Foundation, Chester Finn, opines on the proposed contract, saying he doesn't think it is all as radical as it sounds. Second, there is a column in the Washington Post that takes the opposing view and compares schools CEO Andres Alonso favorably to leadership to the south of us.

Posted by Liz Bowie at 5:31 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Baltimore City
        

October 5, 2010

BTU deploying reps to answer contract questions, may provide more time before vote if necessary

Officials with the Baltimore Teachers Union said Tuesday that they have deployed field representatives to schools across the city to answer the flood of questions that have been spurred by the recently proposed contract, due to be voted on for ratification Oct. 14.  

The union has also said that if necessary, it would consider pushing back the voting date so that teachers could cast an informed vote. The contract has until the end of the month to sink or swim.

Loretta Johnson, executive vice president of the AFT and longtime city schools union rep, told us today that the union is fully aware that the contract has spurred more anxiety than relief as teachers try to sift out the details. But Johnson said that the union wants as many questions answered as possible.

"We’re out there in the schools trying to explain it," Johnson said. "We want teachers to understand, there’s nothing to hide.”

She said that if there has been some delays in teachers receiving a crash course on the contract, it could be because some field reps have been denied access to schools by school leaders.
But the union notified North Avenue, and schools CEO Andres Alonso alerted principals that they should be allowing field representatives in buildings, and he also released the contract's negotiating team to schools to field questions.

Just a note: I've seen your questions, and am trying to get as many answers as possible. I would encourage teachers to go here and read the contract, as I've noticed many of the questions are answered in the 10-page tentative agreement provided on the Web site.

By the end of the week, I hope to answer the questions I've seen most frequently with information I've been able to track down in the reporting process.

Keep the feedback coming.

Posted by Erica Green at 1:06 PM | | Comments (28)
Categories: Baltimore City
        

October 1, 2010

Suicide of Rutgers student who was bullied

The suicide of a Rutgers student whose sexual encounter was live-streamed onto the internet should make every parent and teacher think deeply about what we teach our children about social media, but even more importantly, about what we say about living your life each day in a way that does not hurt others.

 As parents, perhaps we should stop taking for granted that our children know how to be kind to their peers. Maybe we need to have more pointed conversations around the dinner table. Maybe we need to say each morning when our children walk out the door:"Be kind to others." instead of  "Work hard." or "Have a nice day."

 U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued a statement today about bullying which is worth reading. It provides a reminder to parents, teachers and students, particularly those who hear derogatory statements about gays and do nothing.

Posted by Liz Bowie at 8:50 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Around the Nation
        

BTU tentative agreement is now available

As some comments on the blog have noted, the tentative agreement is now up on the Baltimore Teachers Union website. The contract is so different that it may take some time for members to read and understand it completely. Once teachers have read the agreement,  please keep commenting here. I would hope the blog will allow for a full discussion of both the pros and the cons of the proposal before the vote on October 14th. I encourage both the union and school system leadership to answer questions that appear in the comments to this post.

 

Posted by Liz Bowie at 8:37 PM | | Comments (28)
Categories: Baltimore City
        
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