We’ve Never Experienced a Back to School Like This

We’ve never experienced a back to school like this—and we hope we never will again. We saw, yet again, that educators are rock stars and rarely get the appreciation deserved. After a chaotic spring, you took time to learn new curriculum, technology, and procedures. You set up schedules for your home classroom and for your children, and assisted colleagues and families—all while navigating a pandemic and continued threats and violence against the lives of Black Americans. We’ve also faced increased attacks on public education and educators by state and federal leaders and unfortunately some parents and community members. But we worked harder than ever to make this return to learning fun and engaging for students.

Then, shockingly, after months of the state telling local systems to develop their own reopening plans, Governor Hogan and Dr. Salmon just days before the new school year began publicly chastising local districts for the hard decisions they made. Dr. Salmon caused even more chaos by proposing new scheduling requirements and timelines for in-person learning, once again showing extreme disrespect for the work and voices of educators and the realities of public education.

We call on all leaders and stakeholders to join us in securing the funding our public schools so desperately need. We need federal public education stimulus funds and federal and state action to expand connectivity and devices for all students and educators. The General Assembly must override Governor Hogan’s veto of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future and ensure long-term funding for our schools.

We all want to be back where we belong, but only when our health and safety is assured. That can’t be done through edict or on the cheap. We must lead for what is right. I’m all in and I hope you are too!