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The Battle of the Planning Hour Continues

We think the Baltimore Examiner gets it mostly right in today’s editorial on the ongoing slapfight between Baltimore schools CEO Andres Alonso and the teacher’s union.

However, this petty debate really is not about nine minutes a day of planning time. If it were, the union would not be fighting so hard. It’s about who should control accountability. For too long, the union has held the attitude that everything is out of teachers’ control because city students are too poor or their parents are not involved or schools don’t have enough money. Those are legitimate concerns, but they do not absolve teachers and schools from the need to improve graduation rates and instill children with basic knowledge necessary to thrive after school.

The union knows that if it lets this reform pass, more will follow that make it more and more difficult to hide or reward incompetence. Instead of fighting that process, the union should embrace it. The vast majority of teachers already do if the poor turnout at protests can attest to the lack of support for union leadership.

Like so many other jurisdictions, the teacher’s union in Baltimore has long since passed the point of advocating for education for the students upon which that system is inflicted in favor of advocating for the well-being of its membership. There is not a whit of evidence that the teacher’s union cares about education to any extent beyond getting more money for salaries and benefits or is interested in improving the professionalism of its membership.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Alonso has chosen to fight such an important battle over such a trivial issue. Even though is looks like the teacher’s union is losing the allegiance of its members on this issue it is doubtful that gaining control of a 45-minute block of time will lead, as the Examiner hopes, to system wide reform.

It won’t.

It will simply set up yet another battle, this one more carefully prepared by the teacher’s union. And Mr. Alonso will find this has been very much a phyrric victory.






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