Future of KIPP Baltimore charters uncertain
A story in today's paper explained how a threat that KIPP Baltimore made last year to leave Maryland may come to fruition on June 30.
The highly regarded charter organization, which runs 99 schools in 20 states, has set the June deadline for the Baltimore Teachers Union to commit to a long-term agreement that would allow the school to have a 9 1/2 day without having to pay its teachers a large premium, determined through negotiations every year. The school is also looking to invest in a school building in Baltimore, a commitment it doesn't want to make without full autonomy to implement its model.
But the BTU holds fast to its mission to represent all teachers in the district, ensuring that educators are compensated fully and fairly for their time and energy. On the heels of ratifying an innovative teachers contract--designed to pay city educators more for their work and results--union officials say they will not take any steps that would undermine what they rightfully bargained.
The conflict has even made it to the editorial pages of The Washington Post.
But, this issue is not black and white. There is a shade of gray. Her name is Sonya Moss.
I wanted Sonya's background and voice to serve as the bookends for this story, not as a forced anecdote, but because the KIPP Ujima 7th grader could possibly be a voice of reason in what is making for a hostile debate.
The debate appears to have come down to two questions: Is the union driving one of the best schools in MD? Or, is a successful school seeking to circumvent a contract that every other charter school in Baltimore has to adhere to?
Sonya didn't know. Sonya didn't care.
All she knows is that on June 30, her world could change, along with the prospects for her education. She just hopes that when her school's operators meet with union officials to discuss KIPP's future in the district, they also take her future into consideration.