BALTIMORE — On one of their last nights before returning to the classroom, a sea of yellow shirted teachers were out to fight a policy.
They gathered at the Tuesday's school board meeting for the vote on unannounced formal observations of teachers.
Currently principals can come in at any time for an informal observation which is used for coaching and development.
The Baltimore City Teachers Union was against the potential policy change that would allow principals and administrators unannounced formal observations.
“It’s going to put a major strain because we already feel like we’re not seen as professionals," said Teachers Union President Diamonte Brown. "We’re not seen as the experts, were not trusted. This will create a great strain between front line staff and management and administration.”
The district claims that the observation system in place doesn’t reflect a teacher’s day-to-day performance.
80 percent of principals believe there should be unannounced formal observations.
“It gives us an authentic picture of what’s going on in the classrooms and than we’re able to give authentic feedback to our teachers,” said Monique Debi, Principal of Fort Worhingron Elementary Middle School.
The new policy would have made it so those unannounced observations would have effected teachers salaries and certifications.
“Right now we do not have the best system in place for coaching and development of teachers," Debi said. "If a teacher does get an ineffective rating it’s directly tied to them maybe losing their job or certification. But they don’t get the coaching and development they need to develop their teaching practice.”
The policy was changed a bit to include only one unannounced formal visit per school year and would require that there is an announced visit before and after.
In addition, if a teacher received a bad rating, they could request another evaluation or a different evaluator.