BTU rally against changes to evaluation scoring

At the urging of Educators for Democratic Schools, the Baltimore Teachers Union held a rally in front of school district headquarters at North Ave to protest the unfair changes to teacher evaluations that were recently imposed. EDS members Nick McDaniel and Tom Smith spoke at the rally. EDS also hosted a continuation of the Common Corenival with games and information tables in conjunction with the rally. 


Photos from Common Corenival

Despite monstrous weather earlier in the afternoon that forced us to postpone some of our games and activities until Monday’s BTU rally, dozens of teachers, students parents and community members still came out on Friday to raise awareness about the attacks on public education that are going on in Baltimore and all over the country. Let’s finish what we started: Come to the mass rally on Monday, June 16 at 4:00 PM at 200 E. North Ave!

At the urging of Educators for Democratic Schools, The Baltimore Teacher’s Union has called for a mass rally on Monday, June 16th at 4:00 PM at the School District central office at 200 E. North Ave. This rally is a protest against the last-minute changes to the scoring of teacher evaluations. North Ave made these changes without the consent of the union. BTU is filing a grievance to overturn North Ave’s actions, but we need teachers, students and community members to come out to this rally on Monday and speak out against this injustice. Let Tisha Edwards and everyone else know that regardless of the outcome of the court case, we will not take this outrageous attack on teachers sitting down!

Common Corenival

Join us Friday, June 13th at 4:00 PM outside BCPS Central Office at North Avenue and Calvert Street for a rally and carnival in support of students, teachers and the movement for fairness and democracy in our public schools!

BTU files grievance over evaluations

EDS is fighting North Avenue’s attempt to unilaterally downgrade our evaluations at the last minute. Contact us at to get involved!

The following figures are the results of a survey sponsored by Educators for Democratic Schools (EDS). This survey was taken by over 200 BCPS teachers in late 2012 and early 2013, via both an electronic and a paper version. Although this survey is not scientific, efforts were made to ensure that the survey was given to a broad cross-section of teachers that would be representative of the varied opinions present among teachers. (For example, the survey was explicitly offered to the entire teaching staff of several schools and to entire rooms of teachers at systemic Professional Development workshops.) EDS stands by the accuracy of these results and believes that the overwhelming consistency of teachers’
responses presents clear evidence that many teachers are deeply dissatisfied with the current contract and want a contract that protects the rights of school employees, provides clear and reasonable expectations for all staff, sets firm limits on total student load and eliminates the failed merit-pay system of “AU”s. In response to these survey results as well as an internal poll of our members, EDS has made the following six demands for the new Baltimore Teachers Union contract that will be negotiated this year:

1) Abolish AU’s, abolish the current “merit” pay system, and abolish the Joint Governing Panel. Return to a pay system with steps according to years of service. No one will move backward in pay, and those with banked AU’s will be remunerated for them.

2) 7% pay raise – added to each person’s current salary – each year for the next 2 years.

3) Maximum Total Student Load (TSL) of 100 students for those with 5 classes, 60 for those with 3 classes, and 20 for those with one class.

4) The right to grieve or appeal the content – not just procedural violations – of ratings and write-up’s for observations and evaluations.

5) Reasonable case-load maximums for counselors, social workers, and other teacher -level service providers, so our students can be better-served.

6) An observation and evaluation tool for teacher-level staff – who are not regular classroom teachers – based upon criteria that truly reflect their actual responsibilities. Similarly – if the Model pathway still exists in the new contract – a process for achieving placement on the Model pathway that truly acknowledges the specific services provided by each category of teacher -level staff that are not regular classroom teachers.

Among the findings of the survey:
*  Only 11% of respondents said they would vote for the current contract again.
*  84% of respondents support putting a limit on total student load in the next contract (which would have the effect of lowering class size).
*  Only 17% of respondents support having their pay tied to their formal evaluation.
*  96% of respondents believe they should have the right to grieve/appeal the content of their observations and evaluations.

“This new contract is so slanted in favor of the administration that it is pathetic.” declared Joan E. Gardiner, an English teacher at Carver Vocational-Technical High School. “How the union can possibly defend it is upsetting to me.”

“We are calling upon the school district and the leadership of our union to take these priorities to heart”,  said Mike Pesa, a history teacher at Patterson High School and a member of EDS who worked on the survey. “We need a contract that respects our educators for the hard work they do every day and that benefits our children by lowering class sizes. The future of public education in Baltimore depends on it. ”

School Board Meeting
Tuesday, April 24 — 6pm

Two important issues under discussion!

1. A demand for smaller class sizes: advantageous for students, parents, & teachers.


2. The impending firing & deportation of our hardworking immigrant colleagues. 

           All teachers, as well as all students, have benefited from the hard work and dedication of the immigrant teachers from Africa, Jamaica, and The Philippines. These women and men were recruited in their home countries and agreed to come, in many cases, to the other side of the planet to teach our children. They have done an exemplary job and are being repaid for this work with recurring misrepresentations about sponsorship for Green-cards. Now, many face not only the loss of their jobs but the loss of their way of life.
             The struggle is not over, and there are still many ways BCPSS can remedie this before it’s too late. Imagine your school without our immigrant colleagues, and then come join us at the School Board meeting!

Please come support your schools at the meeting!