Harford County’s largest public school employee association will not sign onto a memorandum of understanding that is crucial to the Maryland Department of Education’s application to win a $150 – $250 million share of new federal education funding known as Race to the Top. Harford County Education Association President Randy Cerveny told The Dagger on Tuesday that he would not sign the MOU in its current form, because it is in conflict with an education reform bill passed by the 2010 Maryland General Assembly.
Cerveny said the MOU and the new Education Reform Act were in conflict in several areas, including the process for developing a new evaluation framework for teachers; the timetable for providing mentors for at-risk teachers; and the proportion of teacher and principal evaluations that will be tied to student growth.
Cerveny said his organization, which represents approximately 3,000 public school teachers in Harford County, would reconsider signing the MOU if changes were made to comply with state law. The Education Reform Act, which has passed the state legislature, is still awaiting a signature by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.
Harford School Board Agrees to Sign MOU
Upon a recommendation from Harford Schools Superintendent Robert Tomback, the Harford County Board of Education voted 6 to 1 to sign the MOU for Harford County at a board business meeting held April 19 in Bel Air. Cerveny said he informed Dr. Tomback and several board members of HCEA’s decision not to add his name at this time (please see related story: http://www.daggerpress.com/2010/04/20/school-board-scratchpad-worth-racing-to-the-top-in-harford/)
A provision of the MOU allows the local school board to opt-out, if the local school system finds that it can’t fully comply with the Race to the Top Plan, which is still in draft form. But Cerveny said there was no such opt-out provision for the local teachers’ union. Without that flexibility, Cerveny said “It’s a no win for us.”