Inside MSEA with Sean Johnson

fight for the promise of the blueprint

MSEA Executive Director Sean Johnson.

Our educator voices must thwart the attacks on the Blueprint!

Have you heard any elected officials, local superintendents, local board of education members, or candidates for office complain about the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future? I suspect a good number of them are the same people who routinely oppose any new investment in public education. The name of the funding formula may have changed, but the political posturing against such investments has not. As advocates, we must be mindful when we raise concerns and objections about implementation that they are not misconstrued as broadside attacks on the fundamentals.

We must be at the forefront of pushing back against the scapegoating of the Blueprint. Our voices must be reminders that the Blueprint is the reason aid for education is increasing to record levels. It is the reason Maryland is leading the country in starting teacher pay, the reason we are seeing the fastest expansion of community schools anywhere in the country, and the reason more students have pre-k, dual enrollment, and options for both college and career readiness with more career technical education. It is the reason ESP, administrator, and teacher locals are seeing strong settlements on salary improvements across the state.

None of that is to say the Blueprint is perfect. It leaves out too many educators from certain goals and outcomes. It shortchanges some of the professional degrees that teachers and non-teachers hold. And it implements some policy pieces too quickly and others too slowly. All of that is true. And while some of that might require policy fixes or timeline adjustments or more funding to cure, none of those are reasons to allow naysayers to go unchecked in their opposition.

We must use our voices to advance the needs of all students, but especially those historically left behind. We must use our voices to defend and champion equity. And we must use our voices to thwart the attacks on the Blueprint and instead lead authentic conversations about how the Blueprint is changing Maryland education for the better and focus our critiques on what needs to change or improve to deliver for even more students and educators.

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