Baltimore City Ends Seniority-Based Teacher Pay and Steps

A September 28 Baltimore Sun article discusses the tentative agreement reached between the Baltimore City school system and its teacher unions to end the practice of linking teacher pay to years of employment.  Instead, teacher pay will be determined by a performance-based system.

Experts in teacher compensation said Baltimore was poised to become one of only a handful of places in the country, including Washington, D.C., New Haven, Conn., and Pittsburgh, that have moved toward paying teachers for performance as a way to improve the quality of education in their schools. The Obama administration has been pressing for such changes.

The agreement is tentative and is subject to a ratification vote. But a source with knowledge of the negotiations said district and union leaders have agreed to “do away” with paying teachers based solely on their years of experience and the college and university degrees they have obtained, meaning automatic pay increases known as “steps” would be eliminated.

The source said what was remarkable about Baltimore’s new pact was that the district did not force it on teachers but collaborated with the union. The union was one of only two in the state that supported the reforms proposed in Maryland’s winning Race to the Top application.

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