School Information System
Newsletter Sign Up |

Subscribe to this site via RSS: | Newsletter signup | Send us your ideas

February 20, 2010

Maryland Governor O'Malley proposes changes in tenure, test rules for chance at federal funds

Nick Anderson & Michael Birnbaum:

The lure of $4 billion in federal funding at a time of fiscal peril has driven state after state toward school reforms long considered politically unlikely, undoable or unthinkable. This week, Maryland provided the latest surprise: Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is seeking union support for reelection, proposed tighter rules for teachers to qualify for tenure and opened the door to broader use of test scores to evaluate them.

Many teachers view such policies with deep skepticism despite a national movement to overhaul public education's seniority system. Until recently, there was no reason to think Maryland would join the movement because the state has high-performing public schools and strong unions. O'Malley (D) initially hesitated to propose any changes. But the governor shifted course, hoping to boost Maryland's chances at snaring as much as $250 million in President Obama's Race to the Top competition.

"Who fights money?" asked Clara Floyd, president of the Maryland State Education Association, a teachers union.

The contest has catalyzed action from coast to coast to expand charter schools, lay the groundwork for teacher performance pay, revise employee evaluation methods and even consider the first common academic standards. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), also seeking reelection, said it added up to too much federal intrusion in local affairs and pulled his state out of the competition. But O'Malley aims for Maryland to apply in June.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at February 20, 2010 1:52 AM
Subscribe to this site via RSS/Atom: Newsletter signup | Send us your ideas