Only 11 percent of Baltimore city teachers would vote for their current contract again, according to a survey released today. Contract negotiations are currently underway between district school officials and the Baltimore Teacher’s Union. The new survey was conducted by Educators for Democratic Schools (EDS), a group that formed in opposition to the current contract when it was ratified in 2010.
According to Iris Kirsch, a founding member of the group, the survey results are indicative of what she has been hearing from teachers over the past three years. “A lot of people are very uncomfortable with this contract,” Kirsch said. “Now that people have lived through it, they’re not going to vote for it again.”
More than 200 of the district’s 6,000 teachers took part in the survey. Although that is a small percentage, Kirsch said she thinks those who responded are a representative sample. Kirsch said she hopes the district and union will take the survey seriously. “We don’t want them wasting their time negotiating a contract that looks like this one and have everybody vote it back down. We want them to take our voices seriously. We want open negotiations this time that involve teachers so we can get a contract that works for all of us,” she said.
In addition to calling for the abolishment of the district’s current pay-for-performance system for teachers, Kirsch’s group is calling for mandatory smaller class sizes. School district officials say they do not comment on contract negotiations but that they have a good working relationship with local BTU and national American Federation of Teachers officials. A local BTU spokesperson said they do not expect a vote on the contract before October.