“Colleagues, It’s Been an Honor”

Betty Weller on her tenure as MSEA president.

MSEA President Betty Weller

Colleagues — it’s been an honor.

It’s been an honor to have been your president over the last six years. I’m so proud of the work we’ve done togeth­er — with our students, with our communities, and with our voices.

We’ve had tough conversations — whether on improving the faulty implemen­tation of new standards and testing, how underfunding affects our students and professions, or on the focus of our latest issue of ActionLine — identifying and combating implicit bias. The diversity of opinions and experiences that you’ve brought to the table during these conversations has made our union stronger and laser-focused on the issues that impact you and your students every day.

But strength isn’t a permanent condition, it requires constant maintenance. With the attacks that unions are facing — from the Supreme Court, from wealthy corporations, from out-of-touch politicians — we must work constantly to educate and organize one another, and to stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of the threats and opportunities that face us.

MSEA is in good hands with President-Elect Cheryl Bost, Vice President-Elect Doug Prouty, Treasurer Joe Coughlin, and most importantly — yours.

I believe that in the next decade, together we will completely eliminate the $2.9 billion annual underfund­ing in our Maryland public schools. I really do. I am much more confident in the passion and activism of MSEA members and the supporters of public education than cynical about what’s politically possible.

We will face unprecedented attacks on our rights to organize in the next few years — make no mistake about that. But we are better prepared to take on those challenges than any generation of educators that has come before us.

I am hopeful about our future because of the support you have shown me during my time as your president. Thank you for the honor of a lifetime, to march, speak, rally, phonebank, knock on doors, hand out Apple Ballots, and yes, even grade a paper or two beside you.

Now go, fight, win!