Inside MSEA: Build Power, Get Stronger, Organize

How far will you go to ensure our students get what they need to succeed?

MSEA Executive Director David Helfman

Here’s the good news: according to a recent Gallup poll, unions have their highest approval rating in nearly two decades.

Here’s the bad news: the far right realizes our effectiveness fighting on the front lines for the working class and against income and social inequality. In state after state, they’ve introduced — and sometimes passed — legislation restricting the power of unionized employees to organize, mobilize, and even exist. Legal attacks are coming as well, all the way up to the Supreme Court.

But we can’t shrink in response to these attacks. The better response is to build power, and to get stronger, not weaker. We must organize.

Maryland’s upcoming revision of the school funding formula through the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission, and the 2018 elections are two important opportunities. The key to success in both of these areas is shifting the conversation from what we have to what we need for our public schools. That takes influence and resources.

You’ll hear and see evidence of our new organizing cam- paign — This Is Our Moment — at your school or worksite, in ads on your computer screen, and in your email.

And in the coming months, we’ll be connecting with every public school educator and as many communities as we can reach to ask what schools need and how to get it. The expectations, ideas, and aspirations from those meetings will help guide MSEA in our recommendations for the Kirwan Commission. But we need support. What will you do to get what you need? You’ll be asked to seize the moment — to lobby vigorously, and without apology, for what you want.

We’ll build on this autumn campaign not only during the legislative session, but also to organize around electing

pro-public education candidates who will support our schools and students. As you know, candidates are already gearing up for these critical 2018 elections and, as local associations and MSEA members interview candidates to endorse, I can promise one question that will be asked of each: “How far will you go to ensure our students get what they need to succeed?”