More than 200 Baltimore teachers said goodbye to their students for the summer Monday and headed for the district’s headquarters on North Avenue to protest last minute changes in the way they are evaluated.
Many wore yellow, union t-shirts and waved signs that read, “Be Fair” and “Evaluate CEO” as rush hour commuters blew their horns in support.
The evaluation method that angered them, announced this month, relies almost entirely on two classroom observations and it increases the score a teacher must get to be rated highly effective. That could hit some teachers in the pocketbook. “I was brought down from highly effective to effective, complained teacher Kevin Okun. “It’s one bump in the salary. I could’ve got two bumps if they would’ve followed the rules.”
Marietta English, president of the Baltimore Teachers’ Union, said the union “did not agree to any changes” in the evaluation method, which violates their contract. “We want to go back to the original,” she said.
District officials denied union claims they made the changes to save money. They said lowering the scores for teachers to be rated highly effective would be “a grave disservice” to good teachers and students.