Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun
October 14, 2010
Baltimore teachers rejected a contract Oct. 14 that would have provided six-figure salaries for an elite corps but would have tied the pay of all educators to how they perform in the classroom, a vague provision that caused discomfort for many union members.
More than 2,000 educators represented by the Baltimore Teachers Union voted on the tentative agreement, which had been hailed as the most innovative in the nation since its details emerged two weeks ago. However, it proved to be one of the most contentious ever in Baltimore, with its overhaul of how teachers are compensated, promoted and evaluated.The new contract would have eliminated the traditional system of "step increases," under which teachers are paid based on seniority and education degrees. Instead, it would have paid teachers based, in large part, on how effective they are in the classroom and their pursuit of professional development.
On Wednesday and Thursday, 1,540 union members voted against the tentative agreement and 1,107 in favor. The union represents about 6,500 educators.
Marietta English, president of the teachers union, said the results of the vote reflected "frustration and misinformation" about the contract. She said in a statement that the union had been told that "some charter school operators have encouraged their teachers not to vote for this agreement."