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Cleveland Metropolitan School District Threaten to Strike Over Teacher Evaluations

photo of CMSD strike

Teachers at the Cleveland Metropolitan School District will strike starting Sept. 1st, unless the district and the union can come to an 11th-hour deal on a new contract. The Cleveland Teachers Union voted to authorize a strike.

The breakdown in negotiations stems from a disagreement with the way the Cleveland public school teachers are evaluated.  Based on rules in The Cleveland Plan -- a 2012 law to reform the city's schools -- teachers' pay is linked to performance.

CTU President David Quolke says test scores are weighed too heavily in a teacher's evaluation. He wants to see a better balance between test results and student -classroom performance.

"Our notion is that the closer those numbers get together, the fairer they are. So, that's what we're looking at (is) not to eliminate it, just to make it fair."

Cleveland schools CEO Eric Gordon says performance-based pay is unique in Cleveland, making the negotiations nuanced.

"We don't get to look to other school districts and say, 'How did you do it?' because we're really at the cutting edge, and that makes these much more complicated issues for us to solve."

Both sides say they hope to come to a deal before the end of the month.