Building Teacher Quality in Baltimore City Public Schools

Emily Cohen, Aileen Corso, Valerie Franck and Kate Keilher
National Council on Teacher Quality
June 2010

Using their comprehensive TR3 database, district data, and interviews from those in the trenches, the authors of this NCTQ report present ten politically lofty but logistically sound policy goals for improving teacher quality in Baltimore. They’re clear which changes depend on what, such as legislative action, an amendment to the teacher union contract, or simply a BCPS policy change. For example, under Maryland state law, only tenured teachers with a satisfactory rating are allowed to voluntarily transfer within the same district; this means that principals might rate an unsatisfactory tenured teacher they’d like to push out “satisfactory,” and that untenured teachers unhappy with their placements might elect to transfer out of the district (or the profession!) rather than wait three years to get tenure. A change in the union contract to let all teachers transfer, regardless of rating or tenure, would reduce the incentive to overinflate teacher evaluations and help with teacher attrition. They conclude that Baltimore is on the right track, but there’s plenty more to be done, especially around teacher retention, teacher evaluation, and teacher compensation. (See what NCTQ has unearthed about the teaching profession in other cities, such as Hartford, Seattle, and Boston.) Read the report on Baltimore here.

Daniela Fairchild
Daniela Fairchild is a Development Manager and Policy Analyst at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute