OUR UNION. OUR MOMENT.
A new year means time to reflect on past battles that have changed our schools for the better in Maryland. It’s also time to anticipate the future needs of public education in our changing world. I believe our union can meet this moment and secure a great public education for students, schools, and communities, as well as a fulfilling profession for our members.
Over the past five years, we focused on numerous priorities: from creating and starting to implement the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, to electing Wes Moore as governor, to transitions and work with different state superintendents of schools, county officials, and school board members. Many of these battles had timelines, goals, and opportunities for member engagement so we planned, we budgeted, we fought, and we won. Yet the lingering effects of Covid have been profound, requiring us to evaluate what we’ve been doing, how we’ve been doing it, and where we’re heading.
This issue of ActionLine covers several ways that our union is meeting this moment, including through our legislative agenda. We’re focused on finding creative ways to both staff our schools and lead the profession through Grow Your Own, an initiative that empowers support staff who are interested in getting their teaching license. And our substantive legislative proposals to end the strict use of biased standardized teacher tests to determine teacher readiness aims to expand and diversify the teacher pipeline.
Every advocate that supports the Blueprint’s goals must also be ready to support necessary adjustments to meet the moment for our students. This is part funding and part policy that supports preK and community schools, college and career readiness, small group instruction, and how we provide the long-awaited supports for students receiving special education services and/or English language learners. Delivering on these student initiatives requires trained, ready, and supported school employees—the foundation of our 2024 legislative agenda to grow and diversify our profession.
This is our moment!