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.
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."