Betty Weller: Your Voice Must Be Heard

On funding, testing, privatization, and more

Too often in education, we pinball from one thing to the next. New technology initiative? Here today, gone tomorrow. Mandatory training on a new best practice? Never heard about it again. We know that there are no silver bullets or quick fixes. The most stubborn obstacles usually require months if not years of work to overcome.

And as education advocates, it’s easy to get caught up in the next, biggest, baddest fight and keep moving from one fight to another. But the issues we’re facing right now are too big to solve overnight.

Thanks to your advocacy, we just won two huge victories during the General Assembly session — preventing the DeVos/Hogan school privatization agenda from coming to Maryland and reducing and capping the amount of instructional time that can be used for mandated testing.

That’s a lot of progress — yet the laws we passed man­date that educators will have a seat and a voice at the table for this work. Your voice must be heard because we have to put an end to top-down plans that impede the progress we can make with our students.

We’re also ready for the big fight: substantially im­proving public school funding, equity, and the support that educators and students receive.

A recent report found that Maryland public schools are underfunded by $2.9 billion, and right now the Kir­wan Commission is meeting in Annapolis to develop a new funding formula to address this shortfall. We need to make sure that school funding gets a substantial boost and — once we’re successful on that front — make sure that money goes where it’s needed most.

These are big jobs with big consequences. We’re in it for the long haul, and we’ll need to be strong, loud, and united to make sure we win on these issues for our students and our profession.