"The Ujima Village Academy is one of the best public schools in
Baltimore and all of Maryland. Students at the charter middle school
are primarily low-income minorities; 98% are black and 84% qualify for
free or reduced-price school meals. Yet Ujima Village students
regularly outperform the top-flight suburban schools on state tests.
Ujima Village is part of the KIPP network of charter schools, which now extends to 19 states and Washington, D.C. KIPP excels at raising academic achievement among disadvantaged children who often arrive two or three grade-levels behind in reading and math.
However, Maryland’s charter law requires teachers to be part of the union. And the Baltimore Teachers Union is demanding that the charter school pay its teachers 33% more than other city teachers, an amount that the school says it can’t afford. Ujima Village teachers are already paid 18% above the union salary scale, reflecting the extra hours they work.Until school choice puts more money and power in the hands of parents, public education will continue to put teachers ahead of students."