MCPS teachers protest lack of transparency in negotiations
Montgomery County Education Association members not happy with MCPS transparency in negotiations
October 6, MCPS Superintendent Monifa McKnight claimed in a press release that union teachers at the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA) were delaying negotiations on a three-year contract agreement. MCEA members have said their objections to the negotiations are due to a lack of transparency from MCPS.
In the press release, McKnight asserted that MCPS officials are interested in transparent negotiations and offered multiple opportunities for such engagements. For example, according to McKnight, the school system had previously agreed to pay raises, COVID-19 furloughs and improved employee support.
At a press conference in Rockville outside the offices of the Board of Education on Oct. 6, teachers as well as candidates for state and county office shared their thoughts regarding the bargaining process.
MCEA members disagreed with McKnight, saying there was a lack of transparency from the school system. To change that, union members said they wanted MCPS bargaining sessions to be more accessible to their members and the public.
Democratic candidate for the 5th District County Council seat, Kristin Mink, insisted that MCPS and MCEA members work together as a team to achieve their goals. “[The school system should see teachers] not as an antagonistic entity, but as partners in a joint venture to succeed,” Mink said.
Overall, teacher morale has declined due to dissonance with MCPS regarding negotiations. The number of teachers who resigned or retired in the 2021-2022 school year saw a 130% increase compared to the 2020-2021 school year, from 775 to more than 1,000.
Additionally, Danillya Wilson, a teacher at Wheaton Woods Elementary School, has noticed that many teachers who have not yet retired or resigned are discouraged. “The morale of those left at work is lower than we can ever remember,” Wilson said.
To date, MCEA members and school officials have yet to discuss the three-year contract. Both groups are still working to establish the ground rules for the negotiations.