Educators at Maryland High School Cry Foul, Plea For Help
When Free State science teacher Angela Ross accepted a job at Annapolis High School (AHS) roughly a decade ago, special bonuses then available to teachers who were willing to work at that troubled institution were a critical factor in her decision.
As Cindy Huang of the Capital Gazette, Annapolis’ principal newspaper, reported in March, the AHS educator bonuses were the result of a “state approved plan by former Superintendent Kevin Maxwell to make dramatic improvements in a school” struggling to make academic progress.
Soon after the plan was rolled out, student achievement at AHS did indeed begin to improve.
Unfortunately for AHS teachers, as well as for the students and parents who depend on their services, soon after Ms. Ross was hired, education officials began caving in to teacher union boss pressure to whittle away the AHS incentives.
And early this year, union officials prevailed upon school authorities to scrap the remainder of them over the next two years.
Union Bosses Insist Only Seniority, Paper Credentials Should Determine Teacher Pay
Compared to other high schools in the Anne Arundel County Public Schools system, AHS has, to quote Ms. Huang, “a large population of students struggling with poverty or learning English.”
Unless such schools are able to offer experienced teachers special incentives to educate their students, they tend to be staffed almost entirely by less experienced teachers.
That’s why Mr. Maxwell sought and obtained authority to offer teachers bonuses for taking a job at AHS, for helping students reach certain standards, and for staying on.
But government union bosses like Bill Jones, chief of the National Education Association (NEA)-affiliated Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County (TAAAC) union, insist teacher pay differentials should be based exclusively on seniority and paper credentials.
That’s why it’s not surprising Mr. Jones and his TAAAC cohorts began working to water down the AHS incentives and ultimately eliminate them almost as soon as they were implemented.
This year, as Ms. Huang reported in early May, “tensions have been rising between” AHS “teachers and union [officials] because of pay disagreements.”
Pleas From Dozens of AHS Teachers Were Ignored
Dozens of AHS teachers pleaded in writing to the TAAAC brass to preserve the incentives for their school that had not previously been eliminated.
Now that their pleas have been ignored, a number of AHS educators are backing a request by math teacher Robin Schmidt to the Maryland Public School Labor Relations Board.
Mr. Schmidt is asking either that the current officers of the TAAAC union be ordered to resign, or that AHS teachers be allowed to break away from the Anne Arundel County “bargaining unit.”
Speaking of Mr. Jones, the TAAAC director, and his associates, Mr. Schmidt told an interviewer, “They don’t have my back.”
Educators Forced to Bankroll The Very Union Bigwigs Who Engineered Their Pay Cuts
National Right to Work Committee Vice President Mary King observed that what is happening in Anne Arundel County, a jurisdiction located south of Baltimore, is a typical consequence of government-authorized monopolistic unionism.
“Today more than 30 states have laws on the books empowering government union bosses to speak for all public servants who choose not to join their organizations, as well as those who do, in discussions with the employer regarding working conditions,” said Ms. King.
“Many teachers, such as those who are qualified for teaching positions that school administrators normally have trouble filling, routinely get paid less due to union monopoly bargaining.
“And in Maryland and roughly a dozen-and-a-half other states that authorize compulsory union dues and fees in the government sector, educators who get paid less as a consequence of being unionized actually have to bankroll the Big Labor bosses who are cutting their compensation.
“Elimination of union bosses’ monopoly-bargaining and forced-dues privileges is essential for meaningful education reform.”