ANNAPOLIS -- Maryland teachers and the State Board of Education struck an agreement yesterday that would permit teachers to have a greater say in the setting of educational and other standards for their profession in Maryland.
The deal is reflected in a House-Senate conference committee agreement on legislation approved by the General Assembly establishing a new 25-member professional standards board that would include among its members at least nine teachers.
Similar legislation was vetoed by Gov. William Donald Schaefer last year, but the governor's chief legislative officer, David S. Iannucci, said this year's version might not be vetoed.
"I am told the Board of Education has worked out a compromise with teachers. If that is the case, it is unlikely it would be vetoed," he said, but he added that the bill remains "unreviewed, unevaluated and undiscussed" by the governor.
As originally proposed, the bill would have given the new professional standards board broad authority to set standards for teachers, authority that now resides with the Board of Education. To provide a check to the new board's power, the compromise gives the Board of Education veto power over actions taken by the professional standards board with a vote of at least three-quarters of the Board of Education's 11 members.
If the Board of Education does not exercise its veto power within 60 days, rules or regulations promulgated by the professional standards board would go into effect.
"I think it is a very important concept that the people who are in the profession have a major say in who comes in," said V. Thomas Gray II, lobbyist for the Maryland State Teachers Association.
"I think it is analogous to doctors who put pressure on medical schools [to set standards for doctors], or the ABA [American Bar Association] to put pressure on law schools," he said.
In addition to the eight public school teachers and one private school teacher who would sit on the new professional standards board, the other members would include: six faculty members from teacher colleges; four administrative or supervisory staff of public schools; two administrative or supervisory staff from private schools; one member of a local board of education; two chosen from the public; and the superintendent of schools.