Teachers union challenges 'Race to the Top' application

Maryland State Education Association cites legal, fiscal concerns with proposals in state's application

May 07, 2010|By Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun

The Maryland teachers union is challenging the proposed reforms outlined in the application the state will submit as it vies for up to $250 million in federal Race to the Top funds.

The Maryland State Education Association, which represents teachers in all jurisdictions except Baltimore, also said Friday that the state has failed to collaborate with the association on the application, which is due June 1.

Clara Floyd, the union's president, outlined in a handwritten letter to the Maryland State Department of Education concerns about proposed changes to teacher evaluations, which will be tied to student performance, and new programs slated to be implemented under the Race to the Top program, according to the association. The union raised legal concerns and said the state's proposals on teacher evalutions "usurp the authority granted to local boards of education through the Education Reform Act and existing collective bargaining statutes."

Bill Reinhard, state education department spokesman, said that the Race to the Top draft application was a product of collaboration with the Maryland State Education Association and other teachers unions. He also said the state is open to changes, and that "anything you're preparing for, you make it better by refining it as time goes on."

egreen@baltsun.com

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