But they also managed, in coming to the public charter school known as KIPP Ujima Village Academy, to underscore another point: Obama is serious about challenging teachers unions to think differently.
The academy, with 375 students in grades 5 to 8 in the Park Heights neighborhood, is part of a national network called the Knowledge Is Power Program. The school trimmed 45 minutes from its daily class schedule and canceled Saturday classes this fall in response to a pay dispute with the Baltimore Teachers Union. Longer school days and weeks are part of KIPP's formula for raising student achievement in poor urban areas.
KIPP leaders say they had paid their teachers a 20 percent premium to work longer days, but the union had said the school was not paying enough. So KIPP Ujima's school day is 8 1/2 hours instead of 9 1/4 . That's still longer than a regular school day. But KIPP leaders contend that the methods that produced some of the city's best test scores, in a school where most students are from low-income families, have been compromised and that the network might have to pull out of Maryland if the conflict is not resolved.
Pulling out of Maryland is EXACTLY what the Maryland public school system wants! They don't want charter schools at all. In fact, Maryland has the strongest anti-charter regulations in the United States.
Andres A. Alonso, chief executive of Baltimore schools, joined Gingrich and Sharpton and said he admires KIPP but wants all of the city's schools to have autonomy and success. He said the city school system is making progress.
P.S. Again, Democrats show they are the ones standing in the public school doorway!
P.P.S. Check out the BCPS category for more of my rants.