Teachers mobilize to change grading policy

Meera Rothman, Editor in chief

Teachers here are joining the countywide teacher union’s effort to challenge mastery grading.

“I’m not against the idea of mastery grading, but the workload that is created without any thought is a concern,” said Maureen Burke, who is the representative here of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County (TABCO). “They sent out the policy, which was 48 pages long, a week before school started. It wasn’t enough time to digest.”

Burke fully supported the letter sent Nov. 21 by TABCO president Abby Beytin. Beytin addressed Superintendent Dallas Dance and Chief Academic Officer Verletta White about TABCO’s concerns with the new grading policy. She asked for an apology about the grading mishaps and a more consistent plan moving forward.

“Never has anyone from BCPS Administration truly owned the lack of consistent messaging, piloting, effective professional development or support that led to the confusion on the part of teachers, administrators, parents and students,” Beytin wrote.

Business teacher and union representative Patrick Holt agreed. He attended the board meeting Nov. 22 at the Baltimore County Public Schools headquarters on North Charles Street.

“If we could have had some input from the start, then we could predict a lot of these problems, because we’re out there every day,” Holt said. “Teachers have a lot to say and have a tremendous amount of knowledge, obviously, since we’re in the classroom every day.”

The TABCO Board of Directors unanimously agreed for their concerns to be included in the Grading and Reporting roll-out.

“[W]e call on you to meet with TABCO leaders and school based members selected by TABCO along with school based administrators selected by CASE, prior to the winter break to develop a short survey for teachers and administrators in order to identify areas of need,” Beytin wrote.