Vote No on Baltimore Merit Pay Contract.
The negotiations have been completely opaque. The merit pay system is hurting students and driving good teachers out. WE MUST VOTE NO!
Attention Baltimore teachers, students, parents, and all those concerned about public ed in this town: City Schools teachers and staff will, this Thursday, be called upon to sign a new version of our merit pay contract. WE MUST VOTE NO! The negotiations have been completely opaque--we hearn almost nothing throughout the 7 or so months of negotiations. Now, we're being bribed with a 1% "stipened" and scared with the threat of working without a contract.
Teachers in Baltimore are not so easily fooled! This contract does not represent the needs and desires of the rank and file members of the BTU. We must vote no, and demand that the new round of negotiations be open for all to see what is being done at every stage of the process.
Let's take our time to find the right solution, and not be forced to jump up in one week and sign a contract we were only made privy to today.
Spread the word! Let us help each other vote our conscience, not our fears!
The Baltimore teacher's union has negotiated a contract that kills the membership and students and this group of teachers passionate about their profession are standing up. STAND UP FOR TEACHERS AND STUDENTS is a Facebook group that I encourage all to check out. You don't have to have a FB account and will not be tagged for just looking. They are referencing the most recent contract that was announced before the union membership had even been shown the terms and have not voted to accept the contract. This is what the group means by ......'this is not how a union works'.
Tentative Agreement 2014www.docdroid.net
TENTATIVE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE BALTIMORE TEACHERS UNION, AFT LOCAL 340, AFL-CIO AND THE BALTIMORE CITY BOARD OF SCHOOL COMMISSIONERS
'This letter is all wrong. Isn't it supposed to say "While of course we can't guarantee anything in negotiations, we are commited to fighting for the best contract for Baltimore's teachers. If the contract does not pass, we'll open the process to input from our rank and file members, the backbone of our union." They're so confused about what a union is'. --
Let's start with the premise that Maryland intends to privatize all public education, having done so with higher education and now they are going after K-12. Let's continue the premise that Baltimore is building the privatization structure that privatizers need to expand this system across the state and this is why Baltimore is filled with charters, school choice, online classes, and tons of Teach for America and graduates of privatization education administrators. This is why you do not hear teacher's unions in Maryland and Baltimore shouting out against these policies....half the teaching staff are hired to replace public education structures. Maryland State Education Association is used by O'Malley as supporting these policies as I speak with these union members with MSEA I hear Baltimore and other teacher's unions say this state union does not speak for them. It is indeed captured as I spoke with officials at MSEA who are silent.
WOW YOU SAY! INDEED, BALTIMORE IS ONE GREAT BIG CAPTURED EDUCATION SYSTEM.
This is what I tell teachers and teacher's unions in the state....which is why I know MSEA is captured....
THE GOAL OF RACE TO THE TOP AND EDUCATION PRIVATIZERS HERE IN MARYLAND IS TO END PUBLIC EDUCATION AND SCHOOLS BY FORCING THEM TO ATTACH TO PRIVATE CORPORATIONS FOR SUPPORT. AT THE SAME TIME, THE GOAL IS TO MAKE EDUCATION FOR MOST....90% OF CITIZENS CHEAP AND STANDARDIZED VOCATIONAL TRAINING MEANT ONLY TO GET STUDENTS WORKING. ONLINE LESSONS GIVEN TO LARGE GROUPS OF STUDENTS MEANS TEACHING PROFESSIONAL ARE NOT NEEDED.....ONLY EDUCATION TECHS THAT ADMINISTER ONLINE LESSONS NEED APPLY. CHARTER SCHOOL LAWS ALLOWING UNIONS IN CHARTERS WILL DISAPPEAR AS WILL TEACHER'S PENSIONS IN THIS COMING CRASH.
So, I asked this MSEA representative if the goal is to get rid of teachers and to get rid of unions......WHY WOULD A MARYLAND STATE TEACHER'S UNION SUPPORT IT FOR GOODNESS SAKE?
I asked if they understood that this was the goal and indeed they did. If you ask Baltimore Teacher's Union leader English why, while all across the country teacher's unions are leading the fight against this, she and leaders will say that too many teachers and administrators have been loaded into the system by Alonzo and now his surrogate. THAT IS WHAT ALONZO'S TENURE WAS ABOUT...BUILDING THE PRIVATIZATION STRUCTURE THAT NYC'S BLOOMBERG AND WALL STREET HAVE PLACED IN NEW YORK CITY FROM WHERE ALONZO CAME. See why Maryland needs all these independent contractors brought into the state to tell us what we need to do?
As we know already, Baltimore has a long history of underfunded and under-resourced schools and teachers in the city had all they could do to keep discipline in the classroom with underserved students having many behaviors needing attention and learning skills needing to be developed. So, there was no way existing teachers these few decades could have addressed the problems of achievement in the schools and Johns Hopkins and Baltimore's school privatizers know this. THE PROBLEM IS FUNDING AND RESOURCES AS CLASSROOMS NEED AIDS AND PARENTS HELPING THESE TEACHERS AND MULTIPLE SKILLS DEVELOPMENT AVAILABLE IN EACH SCHOOL. This is what Baltimore City School teachers need to be successful. They instead had Alonzo pass the rule of tiered funding that has underserved and special needs students funded less per pupil than performing students.....they are doing the opposite of what needs to happen. Tying these students to these online lessons with very little interaction and with all the emphasis of reading and math to the detriment of all other subjects places these students and their teachers at extreme disadvantage. IT IS CLEAR THAT THIS IS THE CASE AND IT IS DELIBERATE.
You see, Baltimore's privatizers do not want strong teachers, they want education techs and Teach for America temporary teaching -----people coming and going-----as they did with adjuncts at university level. When you keep schools filled with people not from a community....you lose yet another cornerstone of democracy and people's voice and place to grow politically.....which is the point. So, this is why Baltimore is going full court in moving these policies forward with teachers, students, and parents silenced by the threats of lost jobs, lost ability to get into schools, and captured writing of public policy. WOW.....YOU CAN SEE THE PROBLEM WE HAVE IN MARYLAND AND BALTIMORE!
What the rest of Maryland needs to know is all of this structure will be expanded to your neck of the woods. It is not only for Baltimore, or for underserved students....it will become the only kind of public schools your children will access in Maryland if you are middle/working class or poor. Don't think that cute and fuzzy charter in your community will remain as such. These charters will be handed to national corporate charter chains that are Wall Street through and through. Profit-driven education means that 90% of people will not be deemed worth having liberal arts and humanities that do nothing but build good citizens. Chinese-style K-college does not bode well for anything other than autocracy.
SHAKE THE BUGS FROM THE RUG AND GET RID OF MARYLAND'S NEO-LIBERALS.....THEY ARE NOT DEMOCRATS AND DO NOT WORK FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE.
Large number of city teachers receive unsatisfactory evaluations
Teachers believe it is attempt to avoid pay raises, but system says it is effort to help them become more effective
February 07, 2012|By Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun
A significant number of Baltimore teachers — in some schools as many as 60 percent of the staff — have received unsatisfactory ratings on their midyear evaluations as the system moves to implement a pay-for-performance contract that's considered a bellwether for a national movement.
Teachers contend that the high number of "performance improvement plans," which can be a precursor for dismissal, is an attempt to avoid paying raises. But city school officials say that putting teachers on such plans is part of broader efforts to help them become more effective in the classroom.
Baltimore is one of a handful of districts at the forefront of a national debate on how to root out the worst teachers and reward the most effective. The city has joined a growing number of districts looking to implement new evaluation systems that link teacher ratings and pay to students' academic progress.
"Nationally, it is indisputably true that the teacher evaluation system is broken, that teachers have not gotten meaningful feedback, or the respect to be given clear standards and expectations," said Dan Weisberg, vice president of policy at the New Teacher Project, a national nonprofit that trains teachers.
Baltimore's school system declined to say how many teachers have been placed on PIPs because of unsatisfactory evaluations. But school and union officials confirmed that in some schools around the city, more than 60 percent of teachers received one.
Tisha Edwards, chief of staff for the school system, said the recent spate of PIPs doesn't mean that more than half of the teachers in certain schools would be fired. However, she said, given the low student test scores around the city, some teachers should expect their jobs to be in jeopardy.
"We do have schools where that should be a reality," Edwards said.
In 2013, every teacher in Maryland will be evaluated based on student performance, as state education leaders continue to hammer out on a new evaluation system that will base 50 percent of teacher evaluations on student achievement. Baltimore was the first locality in the state to include pay for performance in a contract.
PIPs have traditionally represented an agreement between a teacher and a principal on areas of improvement. If a teacher fails to meet the goals, the district can begin taking steps toward dismissal. Edwards said the evaluation process in the past has lacked consistency, feedback and a paper trail of efforts to help teachers improve.
"We have more people on PIPs, and we're proud of it," she added. "We're not saying we're going to fire everybody, but we're using PIPs the way they were supposed to be used, but never were: to communicate where we need to develop, and get better about documenting the development of our people."
But the new approach has spurred backlash from city teachers who feel vulnerable under a contract that, now in its second year, has yet to be fully fleshed out. Union and district officials are still hammering out the most critical piece of the pact: how teachers will be evaluated.
Educators for Democratic Schools, a group of 85 who opposed the contract, believes the district's strategy of giving a large number of teachers an unsatisfactory evaluation midway through the year is intended to make it harder for them to be rated proficient at the end of the year.
Teachers who are rated proficient receive an automatic pay raise under the Baltimore Teachers Union contract, ratified in October 2010.
"We thought it would be great if we all made 80 grand, and we think there are lots of teachers who should, but we never believed there was enough money to support that," said Iris Kirsch, spokeswoman for the group.
Kirsch, in her sixth year as an English teacher, was placed on a PIP along with several teachers at Heritage High School.
"We always said this contract is going to make the evaluation process into a much bigger deal, where personal attacks can turn into pay cuts and threaten people's job security, and that seems to be exactly what is happening," she said.
But Edwards dismissed claims that the new strategy is a cost-saving measure. District officials have maintained that the city can afford the contract, estimated to cost $50 million over three years, though they have never detailed where the money would come from. In other districts, like Washington, D.C., private funds had to be solicited to afford a similar merit-pay pact.
Edwards said the new PIP strategy reflects that "things matter today that didn't matter yesterday."
A national issue
National experts say that the mere increase of PIPs in a school district undergoing such reforms shouldn't raise red flags because they can provide critical information to teachers.
I'm telling you Maryland, this is already used in Baltimore!
Having a corporate-run school system that uses pre-K testing to track your child into career paths is not democratic education and it has no goal in achievement other then giving that child the skill for one job set. This is not simple vocational training classes we used to have the last few years of high school. THIS IS ONE LONG K-COLLEGE VOCATIONAL TRACK.
Below you see one good source in what is happening with school reform----this one in Philadelphia----THE NOTEBOOK!
YOU KEEP VOTING FOR THE POLS ALLOWING THIS!!!!! RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE
Philadelphia School Partnership pushes for private management of student placement
by Helen Gym on Oct 24 2013 Notebook
For months, the Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) has been working to put in place a new citywide process for placing students in schools. Most troubling is that PSP wants this process to be run by an outside, private entity that is created by PSP and could eventually charge a per-pupil fee from participating systems.
“Universal enrollment,” as it is called, would match students to either a District, charter, or parochial school whenever they decide to transfer, move, or transition to another school level.
The PSP proposal would not only take the current student-placement program out of the District’s hands -- unprecedented in any other city -- it would also include parochial schools and coordinate the selection process with the availability of scholarships, which are now often provided through two controversial, voucher-like business tax subsidy programs in Pennsylvania.
PSP’s audacious plans were unveiled at a briefing before City Council last month. I spoke with several attendees at the briefing, including a member of Parents United for Public Education, and received a copy of PSP's PowerPoint presentation.
PSP, which describes itself as a philanthropic organization interested in the movement of students into "high performing" seats, had aimed to launch a pilot universal enrollment effort this year with parochial schools and some charters. Since the briefing, PSP has now decided to delay the program until next year, when it proposes to assume enrollment responsibilities for all District schools, including special admission schools as well as charter and parochial schools.
The program raises serious questions about students' privacy rights, church-and-state separation, and public disclosure issues. It also potentially weakens the guarantee of a neighborhood school option and removes from District control a central mission and function – all without any meaningful public disclosure, discussion, or oversight.
District officials are distancing themselves from PSP’s independent effort. Spokesperson Fernando Gallard told me the District is using its own enrollment process this year.
“There has been no decision made regarding the high school selection process for future years,” Gallard wrote in an email. “The use of a third party and the per pupil fee is a question that should be answered by PSP since we are not part of that effort.”
Lobbying council on universal enrollment
PSP introduced its independent universal enrollment program in a briefing before City Council on Sept. 18. According to attendees, the presentation sparked controversy, leading to a pointed back-and-forth between a number of Council staff and PSP leadership.
The briefing was led by PSP’s executive director Mark Gleason, a one-time publishing entrepreneur and former South Orange-Maplewood, N.J., school board member. Gleason identified PSP’s chief consultant in the project as Ramsey Green, a real estate investor and consultant from New Orleans, where a similar program has been criticized by a number of public education advocates.
Sources told me that Gleason promoted the new process as a way to “outsource the enrollment and placement” of all students in the city’s District, charter, and, in a surprising twist, Catholic schools. In most cities with a universal enrollment plan, the effort has focused on the public sector, presumably to avoid First Amendment conflicts.
At the Council briefing, Gleason announced that the District in August had pulled out of the universal enrollment process for this year, saying officials have "a lot on their plate right now.” As a result, he said, PSP would take on the effort unilaterally by setting up a separate nonprofit called PhillySchoolApp.
PhillySchoolApp will be overseen by a private entity, the Compact Working Group, whose members represent the Great Schools Compact, a body that includes District and charter school leaders, and which PSP also staffs. Gleason said PSP was already interviewing applicants for the executive director position of PhillySchoolApp.
Private philanthropy would cover the effort for the first three years, after which PhillySchoolApp would charge a per-pupil fee for participating schools. When asked about the potential cost by a Council aide, Gleason said it could be in the range of $10 per student, according to several people who were at the briefing.
According to the PowerPoint presentation made at the briefing, PhillySchoolApp would run a “centralized lottery and school matching service” that would assign each student only one option for a school.
Under the current system, students at the high school level are assured a neighborhood school option, can be admitted to as many as five District schools, and can apply to as many charter and private schools as they want. Under PSP’s proposed system, students would be matched to a single school. Students would have a right to refuse that school, but would lose their opportunity in the selective first round, then bump down to a second- and third-match round, where fewer schools are offered.
The PowerPoint said PSP had intended to secure the participation of “50-plus charter and Catholic schools” this year. Students assigned to Catholic schools would be matched "only if it was determined that scholarship assistance would be available." The tax-credit programs, Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) -- often deemed similar to vouchers -- are increasingly the most common means of scholarship assistance.
Attendees at the briefing said at least one staff aide asked a question about potential church-and-state conflicts.
“The question was asked, but it felt like it wasn’t taken seriously,” said one attendee. “They [PSP] just shrugged it off. They said there was no real conflict and started talking about the nature of the process, and how involved they were, and so on.”
Kristen Forbriger, communications manager for PSP, told me last week that, although the effort has been delayed till next year, the Compact Committee has “developed a common application,” which has been made available to District, charter, and Catholic schools. District officials said they are using their own application that is completely separate from an application through the Compact.
“The goal is to introduce the full system [“PhillySchoolApp”] in the future, hopefully by next year,” Forbriger wrote in an email.
One attendee at the briefing said Gleason asked Council members and staff to support the effort by putting their name behind neighborhood meetings to promote PhillySchoolApp. Forbriger explained over email that the purpose of the Council briefing was to “ensure Council members and staff were fully briefed on the program should it have rolled out this year, so they could share information with families.”
Susan Gobreski, executive director of Education Voters PA, said her organization had supported a common enrollment process, which could deal with inequities. For example, some charters have been flagged for complicated application processes that create "barriers to entry" for some students.
But Gobreski expressed surprise at PSP’s newly forged, independent role.
“While we support the implementation of some form of common enrollment for high school students with an eye on equity, I am very concerned about it being run by a private entity,” Gobreski said. “School placement for public education must be the function of a public entity and changes to our current process need to be thoroughly examined in a public manner with an opportunity to raise questions.”
An untested experiment in school choice
Universal enrollment is another untested reform initiative coming from the Gates Foundation, which has a history of funding experimental, and often controversial, ideas in K-12 education (requiring student test scores as a major part of teacher evaluations, for example) and higher education. The most established universal enrollment programs are in New Orleans and Denver. Newark and Washington, D.C., recently announced they intend to introduce universal enrollment in 2014-2015.
Karran Harper Royal, a New Orleans parent advocate, shared her concerns with me this week about how the universal enrollment program has rolled out in her hometown. Harper Royal said that, in New Orleans, parents are handed a long list of school names with letter grades, which give little information about the quality of school services. Parents have raised concerns that universal enrollment actually limits choice options by directing families into a single computer-generated selection. Parents no longer have the guaranteed option of their nearby neighborhood school, even if it is a few blocks away and desired.
One mother, who lived on the West Bank of New Orleans, only listed schools on the West Bank, which were all full “according to the computer,” Harper Royal said. That parent was assigned to an “F”-rated school on the far east side of New Orleans slated for closure the following year.
“I’d be concerned that this is just another tool to segregate schools and steer some families to some schools and other families to other schools,” Harper Royal said. “This isn’t an informed choice that families are making.”
In New Orleans, where more than 70 percent of students are in charters, the “OneApp” (as it is dubbed) is a daunting 20-page package requiring two to four written pages per child. Notably, PSP’s PowerPoint presentation before City Council included a sample application form from the New Orleans OneApp. One report said that more than one in five families simply don’t participate in the process.
Tomika Anglin, a leadership member of Parents United for Public Education who attended the City Council briefing, said she was concerned that universal enrollment would “further starve already emaciated neighborhood schools.”
“This is another way of telling people to get out of the public schools, and then blaming people if they don’t,” she said.
Anglin said she was most alarmed at the role of a private entity formed by PSP controlling the enrollment process.
“How can parents be assured that this is about my child and not the agenda of PSP?” Anglin asked. “They are creating a process that, once implemented, will render the District and participating schools dependent – and then the bill will come. They have created their own source of profit, and the city’s schoolchildren will be held hostage.”
PhillySchoolApp will have unrestricted access to private student data in order to mine student information to facilitate their placement. A “central database can integrate with every school’s student data system,” one slide of the PSP PowerPoint shows.
Student data systems contain highly sensitive information, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, grades, test scores, race, students' economic status, special-education status, disciplinary status, and much more. They can also contain information that is appropriate for a school but may not be appropriate for third-party vendors, such as reasons for leaving a school or parental status (custody rights, foster care, etc.). Granting access to such information to a third party outside the School District could violate the confidentiality of such information.
New York City parents, for example, have launched a major battle around privacy rights against a private contractor, which collects student data and has the right to sell that information, recently highlighted in a New York Times article.
Privacy and First Amendment concerns aside, providing meaningful choices to Philadelphia’s families will take more than a clever computer algorithm. Choice advocates make a mistake in presuming that parents have real options when there is a dysfunctional school system that reformers largely refuse to improve.
Harper Royal, in New Orleans, said: “They’re not talking about leveling the playing field. They’re not talking about providing transportation, or dealing with school fees, or addressing quality of services, especially for students with special needs."
“They have hijacked the word choice. This is not choice. It’s the illusion of choice.”
Part 2 coming soon: “Public money, private gain: Philadelphia School Partnership's expanding role in political lobbying”
Helen Gym is a founder of Parents United for Public Education and a Notebook blogger.
If you look at New York City and their teacher's union website and Chicago Teachers union website and PURE, a parent group and as you see, from Seattle and Portland, Los Angeles to San Francisco, Chicago to NYC.....everyone knows these reforms are bad. We need to strengthen our public schools with funding and resources and accountability is not bad if done fairly. We are finding that all of the stats these education privatizers are using are later found false or skewed as happens in Maryland.
Washington with Michelle Rhee and the privatization crowd are the same as O'Malley and the Maryland/ Baltimore School Board crowd. We simply have media that report discrepancies and EDITORIAL STAFF that provide the accolades.
The District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) is still haunted by policies from the failed Michelle Rhee era, this time with the revelation of flawed IMPACT scores, a teacher evaluation system that relies heavily on standardized tests.
DCPS is telling us there are two different errors in the way the District has calculated IMPACT scores: some teachers who got high scores weren't that good, and some teachers who received low scores weren't that bad. In other words, we now know that IMPACT’s flaws are even worse than we feared. As AFT President Randi Weingarten said following the revelation of these miscalculations, it should be clear to all now that you can’t simply take data, apply an algorithm, and use whatever pops out of a black box to judge teachers, students and our schools.
We cannot let this pattern continue. Write Chancellor Kaya Henderson and Mayor Vincent Gray and urge them to change the high-handed way DCPS operates and to involve teachers and parents in the decision-making process.
These miscalculations have created a significant problem for everyone in the community—teachers, students and parents--because IMPACT scores determine which teachers are retained, rewarded and even fired. Nearly 600 DCPS teachers have been fired in recent years, most because of IMPACT scores. And, this latest arithmetic mistake appears to have affected 1 out of 10 teachers whose evaluations include student test results.
DCPS needs to work with teachers and parents—not with technocrats and bean counters—to figure out how we can help provide better schools for all children in D.C. Write Mayor Gray and Chancellor Henderson today.
We believe in D.C. public schools, and have worked with this mayor in many constructive ways, including on the district's very successful pre-K program. But there's something very troubling when the district continues to reduce everything about students, educators and schools to a nameless, faceless algorithm and test score. This was clear in the Rhee era and led to widespread allegations of cheating. And now we see it with the troubling news that teachers' evaluation scores were miscalculated—with a tremendous impact on the employment and wages of teachers and on our schools and students.
If we are going to reclaim the promise of public education for all children, Chancellor Henderson and Mayor Gray must change the high-handed way DCPS operates and involve teachers and parents in the decision-making process. Write them today.
Washington Teachers' Union President
P.S. Read our full statement on the flawed IMPACT scores here.
IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE THE ARTICLE BELOW ABOUT OREGON RELATES TO CONDITIONS HERE IN BALTIMORE.....THINK AGAIN.
Teachers across the country are being held captive by neo-liberals who hold pensions and union rights over their heads as these Race to the Top policies are forced on schools. Fearful of jobs, parents fearful of getting their children into limited schools.......COMMUNITIES MUST SHOUT OUT AGAINST THESE PRIVATIZING ISSUES AND SUPPORT YOUR TEACHERS AND PRINCIPALS!
THIS IS NOT GOING TO STAY IN POOR SCHOOLS.....IT WILL TAKE ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS!
AlterNet / By Aaron Cantú
High School Students in Portland Protest on Behalf of Their Teachers As Portland Public Schools try to lift limits on class size and reduce benefits for teachers, students are joining the fight.
January 15, 2014 | High school students from Jefferson High School in Portland, Oregon are joining their teachers in the fight against a reduction in benefits and worse working (and learning) conditions.
The campaign began with a walkout of about 200 students from the high school on last Friday, January 10th, and continued with a forced interruption of a meeting convened by Portland Public School district (PPS) on Monday evening.
"If you strike, we do too," chanted a group of students and parents outside of the building, in solidarity with the teachers. The district meeting was quickly cancelled, and school board members moved into a closed-door executive session.
The protesters had gathered out of fear that PPS was going to ram through a contract that would have eased limits on classroom sizes and made it more difficult for teachers to secure health insurance through the district. Currently, the school district is hoping to uncap the current limit of 180 students per teacher for six to seven classes, and let it rise all the way up to 50/1 per class, as has happened in nearby Beaverton school district after officials removed such limitations. Furthermore, the changes to the district's health insurance policy may end up costing each teacher about $11,000 more in coverage over a four year period.
Oregon teachers currently take on about 35% more students per class than the national average, and the state has ranked among the five worst states in the country in staffing cuts.
Jefferson High School has been villified by education "reformers" in Portland as a failed school, and more K-8 schools in the Jefferson "cluster"--the group of schools that feed into Jefferson--have been closed than in any other clusters in the district.
Compounding the pressure are federal funding initaitives tied to President Obama's Race to the Top campaign that have sapped money from Jefferson because of students' low marks on standardized tests. As the money has dried up, students have left the school in droves, and those left behind have had to make-do with fewer resources, programs, and teachers.
Said Jefferson High School sophomore Mikey Garcia, who attended the protest last Friday, to Socialist Worker:
"I'm here because I love my teachers, and I love my school. But you know what's not fair? It's not fair that there are 43 kids in my anatomy class. It's not fair that my teachers don't have prep time to prepare lessons for me. It's not fair that the district is trying to take these things away, not give them more."
As of now, the haggling between PPS and the Portland Association of Teachers continues, with a resolution no nearer than it has been during the last nine months of negotiation.
We do not want to lessen minority and special needs students as they work their way through school and graduate..but we need to correct the statistics because if allowed to stand, then sub-par education programming will gain hold. O'Malley has a history of fudging stats and this is one. The problem is that the Baltimore Sun allows these articles to go out without question. So, you will see this headline in O'Malley's 2016 campaign which is what this article is for.
We have had numerous articles, government watchdogs, parents and social justice advocates shout that the underserved and special needs are being warehoused and given horrible education opportunities since Race to the Top and O'Malley ended Brown vs Board of Education equal access and opportunity. How is that for a headline? Does it sound like the one on this article? Of course not. The tiered funding/use of charter schools to segregate and vocationalize the underserved in Balt is horrendous and the definition of what can be termed high school graduation has been watered so that off campus classes in non-profits that do not meet standards..even going as far as sending students to PA for graduation is absurd.
These students are encouraged to stay home for state/national tests so MD will look higher in stats than it is. We are spreading the word!
I have friends in BAltimore taking their children out of special needs schools and homeschooling because conditions are so bad now for Baltimore students it is unacceptable.
Students are sitting in front of canned computer lessons checking boxes with no attempt to make learning interesting in many schools. So, if you are going to create a tiered system of education warehousing the underserved and special needs....you need to state that so people do not confuse MD with states giving equal opportunity and access public schooling!
Md. excluded large number of special-education students in national test Scores on NAEP were likely inflated
Maryland's scores on a national reading test may have been inflated because the state's schools excluded a higher percentage of special-education students than any other state, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education.
Maryland students show no significant gains on national tests Major progress seen in other states on nation's report card
By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun 10:10 a.m. EST, November 7, 2013
Maryland students scored slightly lower in math on a national test of skills compared to two years earlier, however, the state's pass rates still remain above the national average in both math and reading.
So, if you look at the headlines Maryland is leading the nation with all kinds of achievement yet as we see above......there is never any achievement when testing and data is looked at by national groups. That is because Maryland skews all data and media gives the headlines and all of it is false. Ask any parent of children with high school students and they will tell you education is atrocious. Students are being given watered-down testing and rule changes identifying high school graduation have been expanded and lowered so much so as to move students on. THIS IS HOW GRADUATION RATES ARE INFLATED. Now, for parents of children being exposed to such a poor quality of schooling, having their child graduate under these conditions is not an achievement, it is a disgrace. Special education families find Baltimore so bad for their children they are taking them out of the system and homeschooling. That's one way to reduce cost and inflate grades.
All of this is done to make it appear these reforms are working.......BUT CONDITIONS ARE FAR WORSE IN THE CLASSROOM AND WITH ACHIEVEMENT.
Maryland graduation rate rises to 85 percent More African-Americans, special-education and Hispanic students graduated in 2013
By Liz Bowie and Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun 8:26 p.m. EST, January 28, 2014
Maryland's high school graduation rate has been climbing steadily for the past four years and reached nearly 85 percent — far above the national average — this past June, according to data released Tuesday.
More students from every corner of the state are staying in school to earn a diploma, but the increases were most pronounced among Hispanic and African-American students.
State education officials credited the passage of Maryland's Dream Act, which gave hope to Hispanic students who want to attend college in the state, as one of the factors for the 2.5 percentage point increase in the graduation rate for Hispanics.
The Dream Act, which offers in-state tuition to undocumented college students, "has given a level of hope and possibilities for the future," said state school Superintendent Lillian Lowery.
The use of technology and online classes in helping students catch up as well as a general sense among parents that a high school diploma is necessary for any job have also helped boost the graduation rates, officials said.
Statewide, the graduation rate is up 1 percentage point from last year, to 84.97. In addition, the dropout rate has fallen to 9.3 percent, the lowest on record.
"The challenge now is: What is it going to take to get everyone to 90 percent or higher, and can we do that any quicker than 1 point a year," said Robert Balfanz, co-director of the Everyone Graduates Center, which researches and analyzes national graduation and dropout trends. "There is no job to support a family in the 21st century without a high school diploma. We need to be preparing at least 9 out of 10 of our students for that reality."
Balfanz said Maryland's upward trend in the last three to four years mirrors the nation's.
The national graduation rate for the class of 2010 was 78 percent, the latest data available. Vermont graduated 91.4 percent of students, the highest rate in the country.
Balfanz said Maryland's increases in the rates for minority and special education graduates were particularly encouraging.
The graduation rate for African-Americans rose nearly 2 percentage points to 78.3 percent, and the rate for students who are economically disadvantaged was 75.8 percent.
Baltimore, Baltimore County and Howard County had some of the largest increases in the graduation rate. Howard County increased its four-year graduation rate to 93.25 percent, up nearly 3 percentage points. Baltimore and Baltimore County rose 2 percentage points and 2.5 percentage points, respectively.
After he arrived 18 months ago, Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance made a strategic plan to help students catch up who were just a few credits shy of graduation and to address the dropout rate. City officials said they have spent the past two years focused on improving instruction, adding a more demanding curriculum and encouraging more students to go to college.
At Overlea High School in Baltimore County, which has a high percentage of minority students, the graduation rate rose from 75.4 percent to 81.2 percent in one year.
Overlea Principal Marquis Dwarte said the district made sure every school had a committee that met regularly to focus on how to help students who were in danger of dropping out and "engage families and students in a conversation saying they are not on track to graduate."
Baltimore County's graduation rate increase was the largest single-year gain in four years and a jump of nearly 5 percentage points in three years. Only three of the county's 24 high schools didn't see gains, and two of those already have rates over 98 percent.
Nearly every demographic group saw increases in the county, and the gap between the percentage of white and black graduates narrowed to less than 3 percentage points. There were large jumps for students whose second language is English, as well as special education students.
Mark T. Bedell, assistant superintendent for high schools in Baltimore County, has taken the charge personally, going to schools to tell students his own story of growing up the eldest of eight children among "a lot of poverty, neglect and abuse."
He has encouraged students to stay in school and said he hopes to make a home visit to a student who dropped out just one credit shy of graduation to support a new baby. He would like to persuade the student to come back and finish.
Bedell said the school system has successfully spread its use of online classes to students who have fallen behind. For example, a student who enters senior year having failed some classes can catch up by taking online classes during school hours. In addition, teachers have worked in small classes after school and on Saturdays to teach students concepts they were lacking so they could catch up.