Cheryl Bost: This Is the Beginning

New labor movement aims for wins for students, educators, and schools

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words still ring true today, “The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress.”

Leading thousands of educators, parents, students, education advocates, and elected officials in the March for Our Schools from Navy Stadium down Rowe Boulevard towards the oldest capitol dome in the United States is the proudest moment of my educational career. Thousands of voices rising up for our children was just the beginning of the new labor movement educators have ignited in Maryland — one that is moving us to hope and progress.

Looking out at a beautiful sea of red and handmade signs, hearing chants of “our kids can’t wait” and the words from education advocates from parents and students to state delegates and a U.S. senator on March 11 at our march, was truly inspiring. Young, old, Republican, Democrat, educator, parent, student, taxpayer, elected official, superintendent, rich, poor…no matter what our background or status in life, we came together with one common goal: to get the full funding our schools need to provide our kids with the education they deserve. We showed legislators our true colors by staging the largest march and rally Annapolis has seen in a decade.

Photo © Stephen Cherry

Our movement has brought about success in the legislature and in our locals. The General Assembly passed the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future that adds $1 billion to our schools, moves the Kirwan recommendations forward, and sets out the guidance for budget commitments for FY21 and FY22. Initiatives included in the Blueprint will put needed programs in our schools and help to increase salaries. It’s something to celebrate!

We know there is much work still to be done at the state and local levels. Local association members are already showing up at board of education and county commission meetings wearing their red “I Love My Public School” t-shirts and sending postcards to county executives asking them to do their part. They’re right — we have every reason to celebrate a huge victory for Maryland, but now it’s time to keep our momentum going so we can make the most of these opportunities for all of us.