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. ”