The excerpts below are from the Montgomery Blair High School Silver Chips Online newspaper article, ‘Raising the standard for MCPS in ongoing contract negotiations‘ (November 13, 2019).
This Halloween marked the end of a momentous teacher strike that lasted 11 days in Chicago, causing chaos for 300,000 students and their families under the public school education system. For two weeks, classes came to a halt as teachers refused to show up in classrooms until Chicago’s mayor conceded to higher educator, social worker, nurse and librarian salaries. In response to the recent uproar, educators across the nation have been discussing teachers’ working conditions and the plausibility of striking.
While the system in Montgomery County is far from perfect, striking doesn’t seem to be on the horizon, as it is forbidden in teachers’ contracts and against Maryland law. “Teacher strikes are illegal in Maryland, and while that sometimes has not stopped teachers, we’re not going to strike,” Blair math teacher David Stein says. “We’re better than a lot of states in terms of state funding, but we have a long way to go.”
Stein serves as Blair’s representative for the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA), as well as a member of the Political Action Community Engagement (PACE) committee, where he works on the bargaining team. “We’re working on creating a new contract for teachers,” Stein says, referring to the annual contract negotiations. “We have a team and MCPS has a team and we meet once or twice a week,” he says. “Right now, we’re in the process of making proposals.”
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