An early experience speaking up taught me that I have a say in what happens to me.
Like many students, I took a bus to middle school. When I was in 8th grade, the city’s proposed budget included an increase of student riders from two students per seat to three. The proposal saved money but we cared about the limited space and the longer ride because our bus had to make more stops.
A couple of classmates and I decided we needed to speak up about the issue. We measured the seats on the bus and the average width of ourselves and classmates (with their permission of course!). My parents drove me to the city board of education budget hearing and, in front of the board, parents, community activists, and cameras, I testified as to why it was wrong to change the seating arrangement on buses. I remember having a say in what was being decided for us.
While I may have had the ability to speak up as a student, not all of our students today have that luxury. Some need to head straight home to take care of younger siblings or an after-school job. Some simply may not yet be comfortable speaking in public.
It’s up to us to help empower them. It’s something we do every day as education activists. We fight for the schools all students deserve.
I’m excited to see thousands of educators and parents at the March for Our Schools on March 11 in Annapolis. We’ll call for an end to the underfunding of our schools and tell legislators that our kids can’t wait for adequately and equitably funded schools.
And I’m excited to see the students who will march with us. I want legislators, reporters, and Marylanders to hear their voices and see their passion. I want them to always remember an afternoon in March when they came to Annapolis, stood with educators, and learned about the power we have when we speak up for what we know is right.