BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Working together. It’s a theme that city teachers and school leaders don’t use often.

But as Gigi Barnett reports, city school leaders and union leaders are receiving national attention for a major feat.

It’s a sight some Baltimore teachers rarely see: City Schools CEO Dr. Andres Alonso and the Baltimore Teachers’ Union president Marietta English sitting side-by-side laughing, without a divisive issue to discuss.

But they’ll do much of it this week. They’re at a national conference in Cincinnati which looks at the ways school leaders and unions work successfully to get a job done.

“Teachers’ Unions are not an obstacle in the way of student achievement. We want to be held accountable, we want to have students achieve,” English said.

English and Alonso were invited to the conference because of the approval of a teachers’ contract back in 2010.

The agreement was groundbreaking. It changed the way Baltimore City teachers are evaluated and paid, making them the highest-paid teachers in the state.

Teachers voted in record numbers against the first proposal. Then, months later, approved it.

“It should be about the kids and it should be about student outcomes. That to me is less about unions or management,” Alonso said.

More than 100 teachers’ union representatives and school leaders are at the conference this week. Alonso and English will address the group. They will talk about how they’ve seen a spike in recruitment since teachers approved the new contract.

“As soon as the contract was announced, we got a huge increase in applications for positions,” Alonso said.

So this week, they’re representing Baltimore together. Next week, both say, it’s back to business.

The two-day conference also features Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and participants will also focus on career development for teachers and getting more technology in classrooms nationwide.

More than 600 teachers have applied to work in Baltimore City schools since the passage of the new contract two years ago.


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