Why I'm not embarrassed by the Baltimore teachers' vote
By Arne Duncan
The Oct. 18 editorial “An education setback in Charm City” suggested that I should be red-faced about the union vote against the proposed Baltimore teacher contract.
I am never embarrassed when efforts by local educators to drive change fall short. The greatest crime in education is accepting the status quo, and Baltimore Superintendent Andrés Alonso and the Baltimore Teachers Union deserve a lot of credit for crafting this bold proposal. I have every hope and expectation that teachers in Baltimore will embrace the contract after they learn more about it.
I also disagree with your conclusion that the Baltimore proposal is not ambitious. Eliminating the salary schedule and tying evaluation in part to student achievement is hugely significant. These are the kind of reforms we are rewarding through Race to the Top and the kind of reforms we will showcase at our upcoming conference on labor-management relations. Furthermore, we regularly highlight the new D.C. teacher contract as a national example, and we will continue to do so at the conference.
Progressive labor agreements like the ones in D.C.; Hillsborough County, Fla.; New Haven, Conn.; and elsewhere show us how collective bargaining agreements can become vehicles for reform. While there is no single model that will work in every district, all of these models have to much to offer.
The writer is the U.S. secretary of education.
| October 20, 2010; 12:01 AM ET
Categories: Baltimore, HotTopic, Maryland, schools
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