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Some Md. Teachers Join Fight Against Common Core

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) -- Delayed curriculums and heavy workloads for Baltimore County teachers are the result of a switch to tougher teaching standards called "the Common Core." Now the school board has a grievance on its hands backed by every teacher in the district.

Gigi Barnett explains why.

Angry and upset, parents rallied in front of the state's education building this week. At issue is a set of strict federal teaching guidelines Maryland adopted--along with 44 other states--called the Common Core.

"They don't even want you to question about it," said one protester. "These are our kids; it's our say."

In September, a parent was thrown out of a school board meeting when he questioned the Common Core.

"Don't stand for this. You're sitting here like cowards," he said.

"What we're saying is we need to work on this really fast," said Abby Beytin.

Now it's the teachers' turn to rail against it. The backlash came this week in the form of a grievance from Baltimore County instructors. All 8,700 of them say new Common Core curriculums that should have been in there at the beginning of the school year are late and they're scrambling.

"The problem lies in the curriculum that has not been in their hands in enough time to actually grasp it and be able to do it without spending an unbelievable amount of time," said Beytin.

Abby Beytin runs the Baltimore County Teachers' Union, also called TABCO. Her office filed the grievance. She fears the workload will lead to massive teacher burnout.

But millions of federal dollars are at stake. States that don't adopt the Common Core miss out on funding from the government called Race to the Top.

In a statement, Baltimore County School Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance writes, "We have received a copy of the grievance and we are reviewing it now, so it would be premature to comment on its contents. But it is important to note when we signed on to Race to the Top--which the prior administration and TABCO agreed to--everyone accepted certain reforms."

It could take weeks to resolve the dispute. Teachers have agreed to work with the school board to find a solution. If they can't, the issue will go to arbitration.

**Additional Information***

On Nov. 22, this statement was issued to WJZ from Dallas Dance, superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools:

"I reviewed the grievance from TABCO and look forward to working with its leadership to address concerns and to find remedies and solutions.  Also, after reviewing the original application for the Race to the Top grant, I realized TABCO had not signed onto the agreement as previously stated.

As we continue to implement our strategic plan, Blueprint 2.0, we will continue to collaborate with TABCO and our other collective bargaining units to prepare globally competitive graduates."

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