Mediation Begins on Monday, August 15th, Some Input Needed

Mandatory mediation is scheduled to begin in four more days. TAAAC is preparing some exhibits that will contrast Anne Arundel County’s treatment of salaries and wages of certificated public school educators with those of most other Anne Arundel County government employee bargaining units. For those who may not already be aware, teachers have not been treated at the same standard; and it’s not just TAAAC’s bargaining unit that has received disparate treatment. There are two other bargaining agents on the school system side of the ledger that have reached impasse as well.

But off the topic of salary, one of the Board’s best and final offers involves another expansion in the use of selected Unit 1 personnel in the observation and rating of Unit 1 colleagues. The following is proposed by the Board:

All department chairpersons and select Student Services Teacher Specialists assigned to central office shall conduct observations of Unit 1 employees and participate in the evaluation process within the department in accordance with the following guidelines (note the absence of department-wide voting):

  • The chairperson and select system-based Teacher Specialists must be trained in classroom observation.
  • The involvement of the chairperson in the observation process must be by mutual agreement of the department chairperson and the principal.
  • This program will be reviewed in the summer of 2017by a jointly appointed committee. Recommendations from the committee will be reviewed by the negotiation teams during a special session. Program expansions and revisions will be made upon mutual agreement.

It might be helpful for TAAAC to show the mediator comments made by non-department chair (and non-specialist) Unit 1 employees regarding their being observed and rated by Unit 1 colleagues. It might also be helpful to hear from impacted Unit 1 department chairs and student services teacher specialists. Issues for all concerned would include the impact on the collegial relationships and workload.

Input on this matter was requested about a year ago and much of the response was critical. Over the course of this year, however, involvement of department chairs in observations has increased. The question is being asked again so we can ascertain to what extent objections have been overcome or yet remain. Please provide what direct input you have by close of business tomorrow, August 12, by email to BJones@mseanea.org.