Can MDUSD and MDEA join the reform movement like Baltimore?

Wednesday Baltimore City teachers voted almost 2 to 1 to pass a contract that will change the way teachers are valued and compensated.

The Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) has six of the 188 lowest performing schools in the state and are at an impasse with two of their non-teacher labor unions. MDEA (the teachers union) and MDUSD have yet to even sit at the negotiating table. Do we have any hope of seeing sweeping change in this district? Is the California Teacher’s Association so strong in this state that our legislators will never have the political will to do what is right for our students and change the Education Code? I would strongly argue that reform would be good for our dedicated and effective teachers as well as for our students.

Here are excerpts from the Baltimore Sun:

“Baltimore is now one of a handful of cities that is leading the nation in innovative contracts and making teachers real partners in reform,” U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan said in a statement.

Under the new pact, teachers will no longer be paid based on step increases, which are automatic raises based on tenure or the number of degrees acquired. Instead, they will climb a four-tier career ladder, which will see an elite corps of teachers earning six-figure salaries. Teachers will also have the opportunity to vote on working conditions at their schools, such as longer school days.

In addition, in the last two years of the contract, teachers’ pay will be based on an evaluation system not yet drafted by the Maryland State Department of Education that would tie a proposed 50 percent of student performance to teacher evaluations. The contract could also serve as an example to other districts as the state works to reform how teacher evaluations are conducted.
Baltimore Sun 11/17/10

The Baltimore Sun’s editorial board salutes the city teachers who recognized that this contract — which establishes a new way of doing business by evaluating teachers more on their abilities and their students’ performance than on years of seniority — represents the wave of the future and launches our city into the forefront of the national school reform movement. Well done, Baltimore educators.
Baltimore Sun 11/17/10

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Senator DeSaulnier Opposes Teacher Tenure Reform Bill – Opportunity to meet the Senator and ask him why?

In April, I reported to you that the Education Committee in the State Legislature had just passed a bill through their committee to allow school districts greater flexibility when laying off teachers and to take into consideration subject need and ability.  In addition, the bill would increase the number of years it takes for a teacher to obtain tenure.

Senator Mark DeSaulnier, the senator from our district, met with the California Teacher’s Association, one of the most powerful teacher’s unions in the country, and decided to oppose this bill.  Senator DeSaulnier chairs the labor committee and if the bill goes to his committee we should be concerned that it will go no further.  Senator DeSaulnier is holding office hours on July 17th in Clayton from noon to 3:00pm.  Anyone who is interested in this bill, SB955, should plan to attend the meeting and speak to the Senator.

Original April 2010 Post