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Another Year, Another Hogan Budget with Education Cuts

January 19, 2018 - 12:50pm
And other legislative updates in MSEA’s Up the StreetFiscal Year 2019 Maryland Budget (photo credit: Erin Cox, Baltimore Sun)THIS WEEK IN ANNAPOLISMore Hogan Education Cuts

Education and trees: that’s what Gov. Hogan cuts. This Wednesday, the governor released the fourth and final budget proposal of his term and continued his record of slashing funding for important education programs. Using his power to propose changes in mandatory spending through the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (known as the BFRA), his plan would cut $17.1 million in FY2019 and $88.9 million over the next five years if adopted. Here’s how it adds up:

· Quality teacher recruitment and retention grants: $5 million cut in FY2019, $20 million cut in FY2020–2023

· National Board Certification Teacher stipends: $2.1 million cut in FY2019, $16.8 million cut in FY2020–2023

· After-school and summer programs: $5 million cut in FY2019, $15 million cut in FY2020–2021

· College readiness scholarships for low-income students: $5 million cut in FY2019, $20 million cut in FY2020–2023

Despite not being able to find room in his budget for these student and educator support programs, the governor did manage to make his BOOST private school voucher program a priority by proposing an increase in funding from $5.5 million in last year’s budget to $8.85 million in FY2019. In response to these backwards values, President Betty Weller released a statement to the media on Wednesday that said in part: “Another year, another Gov. Hogan budget that follows the policy priorities of Betsy DeVos rather than Marylanders.”

The statement resulted in several press stories, including WYPR in Baltimore and WMDT on the Eastern Shore, and was included in The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post, and several other outlets’ overall coverage of the budget.

Gov. Hogan did provide roughly $15 million more than the outdated Thornton funding formula mandates by current law in order to ensure every district receives at least $100,000 more than last year’s budget — but we now know from a Maryland State Department of Education commissioned report that this will still leave our schools with a $3 billion funding shortage. So far, the governor has refused to even acknowledge the work of the Kirwan Commission to draft a plan to address this severe underfunding of our schools.

Major Victory: Maryland’s ESSA Plan Approved

Remember the Protect Our Schools Act (POSA) from last year’s legislative session? The state’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan — which is fundamentally based on the provisions of POSA — received approval from the U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday, allowing the state to move forward on implementing a smarter, more balanced school accountability system than we had under No Child Left Behind.

Maryland is now unique in placing significant emphasis on non-testing related measurements of student success, like access to well-rounded course offerings and educator and parent surveys of school climate, support, and safety. As The Baltimore Sun wrote, “For the first time, schools will be judged not just on test scores but on a whole list of factors including academic achievement, parent surveys, attendance rates and student enrollment in a range of [well-rounded] subjects.”

President Weller was quoted in the story: “This is a landmark moment for Maryland schools. Last year’s passage of the Protect Our Schools Act positioned this plan to ensure that school accountability is no longer based solely on standardized testing, but also on important school quality factors like student attendance, access to well-rounded learning opportunities, and school climate and safety.”

IN OTHER NEWSFight for $15 Launches Campaign in Maryland

Following the pro-worker victory of overriding Gov. Hogan’s veto of Earned Sick Leave last week (one of MSEA’s 2018 legislative priorities), 200 workers from several of the state’s labor unions rallied in Annapolis on Monday night to ask the legislature to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The proposed legislation — sponsored by gubernatorial candidate Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery-District 18) and Del. Shelly Hettleman (D-Baltimore County-District 11) — would raise the wage to where California, New York, and Montgomery County have pegged it, after local officials in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County have been unable to do so. Maryland’s minimum wage will reach $10.10 this July after a series of boosts have been implemented from a 2014 law. MSEA will be supporting its passage to ensure hourly-rate earners in our union get closer to a living wage as a result of the bill.

Maryland Falls to #6 in Education Week Rankings

Continuing to slip away from the five consecutive years (2009–2013) of ranking #1 in the nation for education, Maryland fell outside of the top five for the first time in recent memory in this year’s Education Week state rankings. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the category that Maryland lost points in — and resulted in the second-largest drop in overall score in the nation — is on school funding and finance, as reported by WBAL-TV in Baltimore. MSEA Vice President Cheryl Bost explained how Gov. Hogan’s inaction on Maryland’s $3 billion funding shortage has prevented similar academic growth to what we saw from 2009–2013: “The governor can see where the deficits are and he has the ability to make a difference, and our students and educators are waiting for him to come through.”

Kirwan Commission Chair Updates Legislators

Following the completion of the Kirwan Commission’s preliminary policy recommendations, Chair Brit Kirwan went before two joint legislative committees to update the General Assembly on the Commission’s work. His primary message was one of urgency as he told legislators that Maryland’s performance on education benchmarks is falling back — including on teacher pay, which is 40% behind comparable professions in the state — and that the Commission’s recommendations are aimed at addressing the state’s severe underfunding of schools by focusing additional resources on strategies that have worked in the world’s best performing school systems.

CAMPAIGN 2018Fundraising Numbers Show Wide-Open Race for Governor

With no clear front-runner in public polling and a popular incumbent Republican governor, no single Democratic candidate for governor raised an overwhelming campaign war chest in 2017, according to required campaign finance reports made public this week. Instead, the fundraising numbers leave the Democratic primary field wide-open while GOP Gov. Larry Hogan reported having more than $9 million on hand for his re-election bid in November.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz leads the Democratic field with $2 million on hand, followed by Baltimore-area lawyer Jim Shea’s $1.3 million cash on hand. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and former NAACP President Ben Jealous reported having $695,00 and $643,000 respectively. The other three candidates in the field reported having fewer than $500,000 on hand.

Another Year, Another Hogan Budget with Education Cuts was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

The Kirwan Commission Delivers a Preliminary Report

January 12, 2018 - 8:09pm
And other start of session updates in MSEA’s Up the StreetThe sun rises over the State House on opening day of the General Assembly SessionOPENING DAY IN ANNAPOLIS

The 438th Maryland General Assembly session convened at noon on Wednesday, January 10, 2018. This is the final year of a four-year term for all delegates and senators and an election year for the 188 members of the General Assembly and Governor Hogan. Election-year sessions tend to have more rhetoric than policy, but at the start of the session, everyone involved was aware of the critical work that lies ahead on education, health care, and managing the impact of the federal tax bill on Maryland taxpayers and the budget. There is a lot of work to do, and Up the Street will be here to deliver updates, calls to action, and pathways to victory for students, educators, public schools, and the state of Maryland. Let’s get started!

MSEA LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

Maryland has set ambitious goals to guarantee that students are college and career ready when they graduate. Unfortunately, those standards have not been supported with adequate funding, staffing, or programs to realize this promise for all students. A state-funded independent study acknowledges that Maryland’s current funding formulas are broken and underfund our schools by $2.9 billion annually. During the 2018 legislative session, MSEA will fight for the policy and budget solutions to support world-class public schools that meet the growing and diverse needs of all students. We will also continue to lead the coalition to reject vouchers and public funding of private schools in addition to defending and strengthening Maryland’s charter school law. Finally, MSEA will push several bills this year to strengthen workers’ rights, including union access to workers and worksites and supporting arbitration rights for teachers.

Please review and share MSEA’s legislative priorities 2018 with elected officials, allies, members, and friends.

THIS WEEK IN ANNAPOLISKirwan Commission’s Preliminary Report

The Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (Kirwan Commission) concluded nearly 18 months of briefings, studies, consultant reports, and deliberations to present a preliminary report to the General Assembly. Up the Street will include a link to the final version of the preliminary report next week (the Commission made some changes during debate on Monday and we do not yet have the final draft).

The preliminary report links significant policy objectives relating to early childhood education, high quality and diverse teachers and school leaders, college and career readiness pathways, support for at-risk students, and general governance and accountability issues. Those five policy areas are constructed within nine building blocks for a world-class education system brought to the Commission by the National Center on Education and the Economy. The Commission identified a vision for Maryland schools that, if recommendations are implemented, would:

· Provide affordable full-day pre-kindergarten for all four-year-olds and low-income three-year-olds;

· Create the demand for entering the teaching profession necessary to provide an ample supply of high quality, competitively compensated teachers;

· Provide wrap-around services and mental health staffing needed in schools that serve communities with high concentrations of poverty;

· Give struggling learners and students with disabilities the kind of support that will enable them to succeed by increasing the funding weight for students who receive special education services;

· Significantly reduce opportunity gaps based on income and race;

· Expand career pathways for high school students by making career and technology education available for all 11th and 12th graders

The final report will include recommendations on changing the state’s education funding formula in order to accomplish the policy and funding goals outlined by the Commission. That process will be informed by interim workgroups of Commission members to cost-out priority issues and make recommendations that are both achievable and affordable.

The Commission also recommended a series of bills that can create a bridge to the final recommendations expected later this year. The proposed package of bills includes:

· Extending the life of the Commission through 2018;

· Setting up a career and technical education workgroup;

· Funding the existing teacher scholarship program already in law;

· Increasing pre-kindergarten expansion grants; and,

· Funding after-school and summer programs for schools with high concentrations of poverty.

Earned Sick Leave Finally Passed

Governor Hogan spent the last two years trying to kill, dismantle, or otherwise water-down legislation that will provide 700,000 Marylanders with earned sick leave protections, so they can care for a sick child, family member, or themselves without fear of losing their job and income. The fight included super-majorities in both the House and Senate passing the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act in 2017, only to see Governor Hogan veto the bill. On Thursday, the House of Delegates voted to override the veto, and the Senate followed suit on Friday. This is a long-fought effort and is a significant coalition victory for MSEA and the other members of the Working Matters Coalition.

Hogan Putting His Head in the Sand on School Funding

Earlier this week, while the Kirwan Commission was meeting to discuss real solutions to address the chronic underfunding of our schools by $2.9 billion each year and other policy and accountability measures, Gov. Hogan rejected the fact that schools face funding shortfalls. His pivot to blame school districts for mismanagement — and introduce legislation to repeal the Protect Our Schools Act — is nothing more than a distraction from the pressing issues facing every student, educator, and school in the state. Learn more about the governor’s political games here: What Gov. Hogan’s Education Announcement Is Trying to Distract You From.

CAMPAIGN 2018Election Day is 43 Weeks Away

Despite healthy job approval ratings, Gov. Hogan is polling below 50 percent when voters are asked if they are willing to re-elect him. A new Gonzales Poll out this week shows how challenging winning re-election will be for Hogan and gives the top Democrats battling to face the incumbent governor renewed optimism. This poll is on the heels of another statewide survey statewide survey that found Hogan leading an unnamed Democratic candidate 45 percent-35 percent with the rest undecided.

We will have competitive primaries and critical local elections across the state to track and consider throughout the year, but this governor’s race is going to be one of the most competitive in the country, and when you consider what’s at stake for education funding and policy in 2019 and beyond, we know how important it will be to have a true education champion in the governor’s mansion.

Note to readers:

Up the Street is sent by email, published on the MSEA Newsfeed page, and linked through MSEA’s social media properties on Facebook and Twitter. Our enewsletter system went through an overhaul this winter. Please share this sign-up link with friends and colleagues if they would like to join the Up the Street list.

The Kirwan Commission Delivers a Preliminary Report was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

What Gov. Hogan’s Education Announcement Is Trying to Distract You From

January 9, 2018 - 5:45pm
Hint: Think $2.9 billion in annual school underfunding on his watch.Photo from Governor’s Office.

On Monday morning, Gov. Hogan held a positively Trumpian press conference, attacking school systems in jurisdictions that didn’t vote for him (Baltimore City and Prince George’s County in particular), bizarrely attempting to relitigate old fights (introducing a bill called the Protect Our Students Act, an attempt to cozy up further to Betsy DeVos by supplanting last year’s Protect Our Schools Act), and trumpeted a focus on accountability, proclaiming that “when it comes to the problems in our local school systems, it is not a funding issue.”

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@glenn0577 Yup. He is literally bringing back a bill to reverse a decision we overrode him on last March or April. He knows it won't pass. Just more grandstanding.

 — @EricLuedtke

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Regardless of the governor’s political communications tactics, we know the truth: this is a funding issue. According to an independent two-year study commissioned by the Maryland State Department of Education (which is governed by the governor’s own appointees), Maryland public schools are annually underfunded by $2.9 billion dollars. That’s right: on average, every school in Maryland has $2 million less than it needs.

In what must have been a huge, totally not on purpose at all coincidence, across the street from Gov. Hogan’s press conference, the Kirwan Commission was finalizing its initial recommendations to close that $2.9 billion funding gap.

But Gov. Hogan doesn’t want Marylanders to focus on the massive funding deficit that happened under his watch and the work of the Kirwan Commission to end it. And he certainly has shown no interest in addressing and closing that funding gap himself.

Among the other things Gov. Hogan doesn’t want to talk about:

  1. The teacher to student ratio is increasing, meaning larger class sizes and less individualized instruction.
  2. In the last decade, the number of school counselors has dropped by 1.8%, the number of school librarians and media specialists has dropped by 3.8%, and the number of school support staff has dropped by 6.9%. The state has added just 385 teachers despite gaining 40,500 students, or one new teacher for every 105 new students.
  3. Maryland teachers make 84 cents on the dollar compared to peers in similar fields with similar levels of education. And far too many support staff don’t make a living wage and must work multiple jobs to make ends meet.
  4. Maryland spends 5% less in high-poverty schools than in wealthier ones, baking inequity into the system and creating opportunity gaps that result in achievement gaps.
  5. The two systems Gov. Hogan spent the most time in his press conference castigating, Baltimore City and Prince George’s, are the two that are most underfunded by the state, according to the independent report mentioned above, at $677 million in annual state underfunding (Prince George’s) and $386 million in annual state underfunding (Baltimore).
Why Gov. Hogan Wants to Change the Subject

Most Marylanders simply disagree with Gov. Hogan when it comes to public education. According to a November poll:

● Marylanders ranked education and schools as their highest priority issue for the next governor and legislature to focus on, with at least double the support of any other issue like taxes, jobs, or transportation.

● 72% of Marylanders said they favor “fill[ing] the multi-billion dollar funding gap that public schools in Maryland are currently facing.” Only 21% oppose it.

● 50% of Marylanders believe that the state is spending too little on education; just 10% think it is spending too much.

Gov. Hogan has shown no interest in actually addressing the funding gap that independent analysts and everyday Marylanders know challenge their schools. He’d much rather create a smoke and mirrors show to change the conversation, casting blame on others to deflect attention from his stubborn disinterest in fixing the chronic underfunding of Maryland schools.

It’s unfortunate that this ploy involves trying to convince Marylanders that they have, in Hogan’s words, a “crisis of confidence” in public schools, undercutting the work of educators and students and playing into the DeVos-style privatization policies that Hogan loyally champions.

Across the state, Maryland educators and public education supporters are organizing to keep the focus on the Kirwan Commission and the need to address the shameful underfunding of our schools. We’ll keep the focus there, no matter what PR stunt Gov. Hogan thinks of next.

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Thank you to the incredible educators who stayed out late on a school night to advocate for students at tonight's Kirwan Commission hearing!

 — @MSEAeducators

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What Gov. Hogan’s Education Announcement Is Trying to Distract You From was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Since 2007, Maryland Has Added Just 385 Teachers Despite Gaining 40,500 Students

December 14, 2017 - 4:52pm
ESP jobs have declined while district leader and supervisor jobs have grown at 10 times the rate of teacher positions.Photo © Stephen Cherry

Schools are fundamentally human-powered community centers. At their core, they require well-trained and dedicated adults who know how to inspire, motivate, mentor, and communicate with the children in their care. It doesn’t take reams of academic literature (but maybe it does take working in these school positions) to understand that the more positive interactions children have with caring and qualified school employees, the more success they will find — academic and otherwise.

This comes down to many different sources of positive engagement throughout each school day:

It’s their bus driver, who is the first school employee most children see in the morning and the last they see in the afternoon.

It’s their teacher(s), who may get to spend an extra minute connecting one-on-one with a struggling student in a class of 20 students but not in a class of 35.

It’s their school counselor, who has to limit the time she can spend with each student because her caseload is double the industry-recommended standard of 250 kids.

It’s the building manager, who technically isn’t considered an “instructional” employee, but works hard to get to know the students who don’t have strong adult mentors at home and encourages them to stay focused on school.

https://medium.com/media/5adbfb208b245483e6414869e9b57d74/href

And on and on and on. These relationships are the unseen factors between the lines of spreadsheet data that policymakers in Annapolis and district offices over-analyze. They aren’t the only factors — and they certainly can’t cover up the effects of concentrated poverty if there aren’t enough of them — but they are necessary even if they aren’t singularly sufficient.

Let’s take a simple metric: the students-per-teacher ratio. It doesn’t mean class size or planning time or any other metric about how to deploy staff in a building — it just looks at how adequately staffed your school is when it comes to classroom instruction.

We can see that the students-to-teacher ratio matters by looking at National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores. Known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” the scores are the only standardized assessment that compares student success in each state. The last time NAEP was given to students was in the spring of 2015, and states that performed higher in NAEP generally had smaller students-to-teacher ratios.

Source: 2015 data from Urban Institute and National Education Association.

Each of the three states with the smallest students-to-teacher ratios — New Jersey, Vermont, and New Hampshire — rank in the top five for eighth grade NAEP scores in math. In fact, 15 of the 25 states with better NAEP math scores than Maryland had better students-to-teacher ratios, while only four of the 24 states with lower NAEP math scores had fewer students-per-teacher. There are outliers, but staffing ratios are clearly an important factor in the mix.

School-Level Staffing Has Stalled Out Since the Recession While Central Office Staff Has Expanded

When you crunch the numbers for what has happened with Maryland school staff since 2007 — right before the Great Recession stalled out state education spending —it’s ugly. That important students-to-teacher ratio? It grew from 14.3 to 14.8. During the last decade, Maryland schools only added one teacher for every 105 students gained in enrollment.

But teachers only make up about half of all school employees in Maryland schools. What about school counselors? There are 44 fewer school counselors now than there were in 2007. That’s not the only important position that has seen real declines despite the state school system taking on 40,500 more students. There are 1,915 fewer support staff positions — building managers, secretaries, food service workers, bus drivers, and many other important roles that make our schools function — in public schools now than a decade ago.

Meanwhile, district central office staff continued to grow while school-level staff stagnated and declined. The number of superintendents, deputy superintendents, program directors, and supervisors in the 24 district offices increased by 109 from 2007 to 2016 — or 10 times the percent increase of teachers during the last decade.

Source: Data from the Maryland State Department of Education.Can the Kirwan Commission Correct the Derailed Legacy of Thornton?

The truth is, a lot of progress was made in the Thornton Bridge to Excellence Plan’s five-year implementation. By adding nearly 3,960 teachers from 2003 through 2007, Maryland schools drove down their 15.7 students-per-teacher ratio down to 14.3. Schools also added 2,200 instructional aides and 2,125 support staff in those five years.

Positive results followed. Maryland ranked #1 in Education Week’s state rankings from 2009–2013. Maryland led the country in Advanced Placement performance rankings in the decade that followed these staff increases. And Maryland made tremendous gains in NAEP math and reading scores from 2003 to 2013 — which were mostly due to true progress despite claims to the contrary by public school critics that have been debunked by National Center for Education Statistics statisticians.

The individualized attention students received following the Thornton ramp-up mattered in their academic performance. But following a decade of increases in the students-to-teacher ratio, and decreases in school counselor and support staff, these results have reversed. Maryland has dropped to #5 in Education Week’s rankings and Maryland plummeted to the mid-20s in NAEP scores.

Officials struggle to explain dramatic drop in national test scores

Test-based results only give us one data point of comparison — but the 2015 NAEP scores can be largely explained by the analysis of the Kirwan Commission’s own consultants (Augenblick, Palaich and Associates), who found that Maryland schools were underfunded by $2.9 billion in the 2014–2015 school year. What were the top five areas that the consultants identified as needing additional resources?

  1. Small class sizes
  2. Staffing to support (but not limited to) the following areas: art, music, PE, world languages, technology, CTE, and advanced courses
  3. Significant time for teacher planning, collaboration, and embedded professional development
  4. Additional instructional staff, including instructional coaches, and librarian/media specialists
  5. High level of student support, such as counselors, nurses, behavior specialists, or social workers, for all students

In other words: staffing, staffing, staffing. After years of understaffing — years of students having fewer and fewer interactions with educators in school — it finally culminated in an adverse effect on student learning. Maryland educators have been warning the public about this for years — if only policymakers had been listening.

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Stressing the importance of planning time gets the "yes" signs up from educators!

 — @MSEAeducators

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So the question is: Will the Kirwan Commission listen to educators calling for more support in their work with students?

Since 2007, Maryland Has Added Just 385 Teachers Despite Gaining 40,500 Students was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Student Poverty? Class Size? We’re On It.

December 11, 2017 - 8:45am
Meet six MSEA activists tackling student poverty, class size, educator salaries, and more.This is our moment — if we are to be successful in our work influencing the recommendations of the commission to right the $3 billion annual funding deficit that our schools face, we need to educate each other, our communities, and our representatives in Annapolis.

Meet Liz, Ronnie, Dwayne, Betty, Jeff, and Vernon — six MSEA activists who are committed to making the most of a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

They, like other members across the state, have stepped up to raise educators’ voices as the Kirwan Commission addresses the underfunding issues that are in the way of progress.

That’s why you’ll find these members and members like them hosting building and house meetings, making calls, lobbying in Annapolis, attending town halls, and more to make sure educators are heard and their voices respected.

The issues you’re facing in your classroom, your building, and your school are issues MSEA is raising up. Our priorities as we work closely with the commission are to increase staffing to reduce caseloads and class size, address the poverty and non-academic issues that affect our students, and increase the salaries of hard-working educators.

Read on to see how these six members found the connections between their on-the-ground experience in their classrooms and schools and their fight for a world-class education for their students.

Liz Jones, Montgomery CountySocial JusticeLiz Jones, High School English Teacher

LIZ: “I work in one of the wealthiest districts in the state, and yet there are students and entire schools without proper resources. This isn’t acceptable to me. Our system is broken.

“The reality is that we have students who are hungry, who have stayed up late the night before, and who are exhausted from supporting their families with after school jobs or taking care of younger siblings.

“Students are craving a place that values them and allows them to process and discuss the negative stereotypes they face each day, both in their own lives and through the images on the news.

“Students are craving a place that values them and allows them to process and discuss the negative stereotypes they face each day, both in their own lives and through the images on the news.

“Our schools can level the playing field for our students whose lives are made harder by the injustices they face through no fault of their own. I think it is part of my responsibility to create opportunities for my students in ways that honor their individual talents, needs, and life experiences.”

MSEA: When MSEA asked members like Liz to describe the biggest barriers to learning in their classrooms, poverty and student behavior ranked at the top. Making up for the inequalities outside the classroom is a burden felt by nearly every educator in every district.

MSEA chief lobbyist Sean Johnson reports that “the research linking socioeconomic status and poverty to student achievement is so concrete as to be completely daunting.”

A RAND Corporation survey adds that “compared with teachers, individual and family characteristics may have four to eight times the impact on student achievement.”

Understanding Teachers' Impact on Student Achievement

Poverty dramatically and negatively affects the well-being of children, particularly in the areas of physical health, mental health, safe housing, access to technology, parental support, family planning services and education, youth employment, and nutrition.

Each of these factors play a large role in whether students are able to learn and do well in school — making it imperative that these opportunity gaps be closed if we want to provide equitable education in our communities.

Ronnie Beard, Frederick CountyPowerRonnie Beard, Special Education Instructional Assistant

RONNIE: “Education is power. A high-quality education means our students will be deep and critical thinkers — and make real contributions to their communities.

“A school system is only as good as the resources it provides its students. The power of the kind the Kirwan Commission can provide through funding and support means educators have the tools and conditions they need to prepare students for the workforce — that means a leg up on earning power, social power, and professional power.

“We can use our power as a union to improve instruction, services, and resources by electing state legislators and members of our local school boards whom we can trust.”

“We need a strong, united, and powerful front to create change for the better in our school systems. We must educate our communities so they understand what their children need and deserve from our schools. We can use our power as a union to improve instruction, services, and resources by electing state legislators and members of our local school boards whom we can trust.”

Maryland Schools Are Underfunded by $3 Billion

MSEA: We’re hard at work building power and influence as we look toward the Kirwan Commission recommendations.

If realized, every one of our priorities — from community schools to increasing educator salaries to decreasing workloads and class sizes — will give those in the system more power. For educators, more time and resources to give to their students; for students, the support each one needs for success; for communities, the promise of rewarding futures for their children.

We’ll be using our access to educate legislators in the GeneralAssembly on how increased staffing in schools exponentially increases the power of academic programs. We’re looking for expanded planning and professional time, release time for mentors, time to engage with parents, in-creased para-educator support, and more teachers in special content areas like the arts and career and tech training.

Dwayne Hancock, St. Mary’s CountyOur UnionDwayen Hancock, Building Services Manager

DWAYNE: “As a union, our power is in our numbers — plain and simple. Where else in Maryland can you get 73,000 people organized for common goals?

“Yes, we want contracts that treat us fairly, but we organize mainly to improve public education through supporting great schools for every student.

“Just like our collectively bargained contract binds us together to hold administration accountable to every member, our union membership unites us to fight for our students, schools, and communities.”

“We can do our job as a union by making sure that we have the funding we need to do our jobs — that means improving school instruction, services, and resources. Our united front — and our constant presence in every educational setting — makes us highly qualified as expert and vigilant advocates.

“Just like our collectively bargained contract binds us together to hold administration accountable to every member, our union membership unites us to fight for our students, schools, and communities.”

MSEA: It’s simple: the educators who work with students everyday know what they need to be successful. MSEA leaders, local presidents, and building reps are connecting with tens of thousands of educators in conversations around their needs and priorities for funding and innovation. We’ll then fight, together, for those changes.

History has proven that organized voices — louder and more powerful voices — are the ones lawmakers respond to. And there’s no larger, stronger force for public education in Maryland than MSEA.

It’s going to take a movement of our members to win passage for a bold new investment in and vision for public education through the Kirwan Commission and the General Assembly in both 2018 and 2019.

By building and using the power of our union, we can make sure that educators’ voices are heard and respected by policymakers on the Kirwan Commission.

Betty Goldstein, Calvert CountyCommunityBetty Goldstein, Second Grade Teacher

BETTY: “The African proverb, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ is one of two quotes listed in the signature line of my work email.

“I would love to see our public schools become the hubs of our ‘villages’ especially in communities with high poverty, but until we can find the political will, there are too many roadblocks like funding, staffing, space, and nitty-gritty details like transportation.

“Imagine what we could do if the local school contained outreach for various community resources, making it a kind of one- stop shop for parents and allowing school system employees to work more closely with outside organizations to provide support.”

“Imagine what we could do if the local school contained outreach for various community resources, making it a kind of one- stop shop for parents and allowing school system employees to work more closely with outside organizations to provide support.

“Relationships would develop. The negative view of school some parents may carry from their own lives could be changed. Schools could become a place where the entire family feels welcome and supported.”

MSEA: Building communities is at the heart of everything educators do for their schools and students — from teaching and learning to sports, school musicals, and homecoming games.

The Kirwan Commission presents an opportunity to give greater and wider support to programs aimed at strengthening communities by addressing the effects of poverty, neighborhood and family violence, and parental and family dysfunction through the community school model.

Community schools create a hub of non-academic services as a natural extension of the school building. In a community school, mental health, nutrition, dental and vision care, adult ESOL and training classes join sports and other community activities in the building. The schoolhouse is reclaimed as an educational, social, supportive, and interdependent community landmark. In centralizing services, stigma is reduced, health improves, classroom issues decline, and communities thrive.

In every school, we want to do more to close the achievement gaps. Doing well in school requires empathy for others, self-respect, self-control, collaboration, and motivation.

There is enormous momentum to ramp up social-emotional learning and restorative practices as a preventative and alternative to punitive discipline. That’s why scaling up training programs, staffing, and additional support resources in our schools is an urgent need.

Jeff Farr, Washington CountyOur StudentsJeff Farr, Language Arts, Alternative Program

JEFF: “My students get less one-on-one learning since we lost support staff.

“My students get less listening since we lost counselors. My students get less discovery since they have never had a librarian/ media specialist. What my stu­dents do get are a lot of labels — special needs, at-risk, tru­ant, adjudicated, disruptive, suspended, expelled. When they also don’t get the fund­ing, they get another label: forgotten.”

“What my stu­dents do get are a lot of labels — special needs, at-risk, tru­ant, adjudicated, disruptive, suspended, expelled. When they also don’t get the fund­ing, they get another label: forgotten.”

MSEA: The last time Maryland re­vised its funding formula — through the Thornton Commis­sion in the early 2000s — staffing levels and educa­tor pay increased while the student to teacher ratio decreased. Those changes helped get students the support they needed — and helped give educators the working conditions they needed to be successful.

But after the recession, the student to teacher ratio has climbed and educator salaries have largely stagnated. At the same time, educators are overwhelmed by class size, caseloads, and non-aca­demic barriers to success — largely driven by poverty.

The Kirwan Commission can reverse these trends, if it produces the funding to reduce class sizes, increase paraeducators to lessen caseloads and class size for special ed and elementary teach­ers, and to increase mental health staff to meet standard staffing ratios.

We also must address educator sala­ries. Part of that equation may be locally developing a career lattice that allows educators to grow and earn more money without having to leave a profession they love and in which they are accomplished.

Kirwan Commission Takes Major Step Forward on Teacher Pay

For ESP, the time is right for a region­ally-indexed living wage guarantee. It is clear that the second-class status feeling of many ESP is driven in large part by lower salaries, and it should be a moral obligation for the state to ensure that every school employee can support a family on their salary.

Vernon Fains, Baltimore CountyPolitical ActionVernon Fains, Visual Arts Teacher

VERNON: “MSEA’s PAC has played a valuable role in organizing Maryland educators to be better advocates for themselves and in support of can­didates at the local and state level who support public education.

“These advocates have been on the front lines across the state to educate elected officials and the public about the damaging effects of too much testing on our students. Organized members have allowed MSEA to build collective power and make a positive impact on how much the state tests our students. When pro-public education officials make decisions, our students and schools are the biggest winners.

“Our jobs are incredibly political. They’re not partisan, but they are political — because most decisions around public education are made for us by elected officials. Elected officials make decisions about salary, class size, workloads, benefits, retirement and much more.”

“Our jobs are incredibly political. They’re not partisan, but they are politi­cal — because most decisions around public education are made for us by elected officials. Elected officials make decisions about salary, class size, workloads, ben­efits, retirement and much more.

“These decisions affect our jobs, our students, our families and com­munities.

“PAC organizes our political power so we can educate members, and the public about the issues that affect us and connect us. PAC gives educators a strong voice and opportunity to impact decisions made by elected officials.“

MSEA: If we’re going to make the most of this opportunity with the Kirwan Commission — and make real progress on salaries, on workload, on caseloads and class size, on getting programs and opportunities to the educators and students who need them — it’s going to take time and effort and a strong push to elect leaders who support our cause.

That’s why you’ll be hearing a lot from MSEA about the 2018 elections in the coming year and that’s why we need a strong PAC.

What’s your issue? Learn how you can get involved — email ourmoment@mseanea.org.

Student Poverty? Class Size? We’re On It. was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Mitigating the Stress Contagion

December 8, 2017 - 12:42pm
Compassion fatigue is real, rampant, and often unacknowledged.

A new work-life survey from the American Federation of Teachers and the Badass Teachers Association, a grassroots education activist organization, confirms it — teachers are more stressed out than ever before. USA Today broke it down: “More than half of the educators point out their mental health is an issue: 58% said their mental health was ‘not good’ for seven or more of the previous 30 days. A similar survey in 2015 found just 34% of respondents felt the same.”

Survey shows need for national focus on workplace stress

Educator stress isn’t new, but it’s been exacerbated by a number of things in the past 10 years — testing and curriculum mandates implemented with little support, lack of autonomy in the classroom, paperwork, growing class sizes, stunted funding, student welfare, crisis management, safety concerns, lack of school board and community respect, civility, insufficient professional development and collegial supports, economic concerns … the list goes on.

Like police officers, firefighters, health care staff, and counselors, educators are confronted daily with a barrage of professional demands plus the mix of student issues they face. The resulting exhaustion is called compassion fatigue. It’s real, it’s rampant, and it’s often unacknowledged.

With more and more students coming to school suffering their own trauma and adverse childhood effects (ACEs), educators experience vicarious and secondary trauma which appear as physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms that affect their cognitive abilities, relationships, and world view.

Nurturing Resilience — Post-Traumatic Growth

This cyclical transferring of stress is almost contagious — ‘round and ‘round it can go — unnamed and unaddressed until no one is able to perform to the best of their ability. Student stress and trauma is felt deeply by educators already challenged by inadequate supports and students are further stressed by a system unable to serve their needs academically, emotionally, and socially.

Add the stress educators carry themselves to the compassion fatigue and vicarious and secondary trauma they feel for their students and the mix can be overwhelming. The result can be shutting down to students when they need a gentle voice the most — and burning out.

“It is clear from a number of recent research studies that teaching is one of the most stressful professions, and that teachers need adequate resources and support in their jobs in order to battle burnout and alleviate stress in the classroom,” said Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, co-author of a University of British Columbia study about the relationship between students and educator stress.

“If we do not support teachers, we risk the collateral damage of students.” It’s obvious that school and district-wide recognition and action to combat educator stress — along with attentive self-care by educators themselves — is needed to address and mitigate this increasing problem. It won’t be a moment too soon.

Mitigating the Stress Contagion was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Toolkit: Tips and Tools for Blended Learning

December 8, 2017 - 12:41pm
Tech lover and Frederick County language arts teacher Alia Knight-Dahl makes room for deeper learning in her blended classroom.Alia-Kinght Dahl is a Sixth Grade Language Arts Teacher Monocacy Middle School Frederick County.

Blended Learning in Action/Hyperdoc Handbook These are my go-to resources for finding and creating rigorous lessons that help students dig deep and work at their own pace in my blended classroom.

MobyMax.com A Common Core aligned, complete online curriculum for k–8. When used with rotations, it’s like having an extra teacher for every student because it provides personalized lessons to fill holes in student learning.

Quirky Shoes A big flower in my hair and a pair of cool and quirky shoes show students that I’m a risk taker and it is ok for them to be their unique selves too!

ReadWorks

ReadWorks.org I can assign articles and have students respond to multiple choice and/or written response questions that are text dependent and rigorous. Students can annotate text. I can even differentiate by giving different levels of the same article!

Screencastify

Screencastify.com A Chrome extension that allows me to record video lessons or record my computer screen to create tutorials, deliver a lesson when I have a substitute, and have students create tutorials for each other.

PlayPosit

PlayPosit.com allows teachers to embed a variety of question types into the video of their choice. I can take a video that covers my course content and infuse it with questions so students have to v be actively engaged while watching.

Phone Alarms for time management, apps like Plickersand Kahoot! for formative assessment, photo and video apps for archiving what we do in class, and Twitter to share with the world.

Toolkit: Tips and Tools for Blended Learning was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

“Students Need to Be Something Other Than Just a Student.”

December 8, 2017 - 12:40pm
An interview with 2017–18 Maryland Teacher of the Year Josh Carroll.© Stephen Cherry

The 2017–18 Maryland Teacher of the Year is Josh Carroll, a STEM and English teacher at South River HS and a member of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County. ActionLine recently caught up with Josh to learn about what inspires and guides him as a teacher.

In your teaching, do you think back to a teacher you had as a student who inspired you, or whom you try to emulate?

My coaches in high school made a huge impact on me, and they taught me a lot about responsibility, accountability, work ethic, team work, and how we treat each other and what our common goals are. I use a lot of what I learned as an athlete in the classroom. I coach three sports at South River, and I use those lessons not just on the cross country course or on the track, but in the classroom. I try to take what I learned as a student athlete as far as responsibility, accountability, and holding kids to a high expectation regardless of how I’m working with them.

What role do you think athletics play in preparing students for their lives post-graduation?

Students need to be something other than just a student. I hope that whether they find themselves involved with athletics, with clubs such as robotics, or with dance, music, or the arts — with multiple ways to express themselves, a uniquely whole person develops.

I know for a lot of the kids that I work with, seeing them change as a person through sports is very powerful — watching them become better organizers, better time managers, and better, more dedicated students. I see that in students who make those same types of commitments through other extracurricular activities, and I think that’s the piece that’s really important to me. We always hear about what’s the first to be cut — arts, athletics, sports, music, dance — and yet those are so key in developing the whole student. I really feel passionate that we need those programs in our schools.

You place an emphasis on project-based learning (PBL) in your teaching. How has that approach helped your students be successful in mastering the material?

I have my students collaboratively seated so that at any given moment I can turn a lesson into a PBL. I feel that’s valuable to our students because we don’t work in isolation. As they continue on through college, into their internships, and into their careers, they’re going to need to have that skill set, to not only be able to effectively work independently, but to work collaboratively with co-workers, with peers, and with their fellow interns.

© Stephen Cherry

If you had a magic wand and could change one thing about our public school system, what would it be?

In some ways there’s a lot of answers I want to give you, and in other ways we do things very well. And I do want to stress that our public school systems do things very well. If I had a magic wand, there would be fewer standardized assessments for kids. I understand the value in them because we use that data to track student progress — to see that they’re acquiring skill-sets that we want them to have, that they need to have, to be successful in their careers — but right now we’re putting too much stress on our students through testing. I see that in their behaviors, I see that in their physical appearance, and I see that in how children have changed over my 19-year teaching career. There’s too much.

Is there any advice that you would have, looking back, for people who are just starting their careers about what they can do in those first few years to get through, to get to the point where they’re feeling comfortable, successful, and really making a difference in their careers?

I was one of those teachers…after two years I was done. I loved what I did, but I was so physically exhausted every day, and emotionally drained, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay with it. I was very lucky to have a principal at Glen Burnie who was proactive in helping, and found me a mentor. I think that’s a key point we have to bring to new teachers: not just an advisor who’s in the building one day a week, but somebody who can also really understand your content, and I was so lucky to have a mentor in the English department who was able to help me formulate strong lessons. I was teaching books I had never read before and I was a day ahead of the students. I know that happens in other disciplines as well. I see new teachers come in and being asked to teach courses that they themselves aren’t too versed in, but it falls under the umbrella of a social studies, or a technology. Having a mentor in your department is incredible. Someone who every day as that resource was a great help to me, and helped me transition.

The other thing we have to do for our newest teachers is to really be considerate of what types of classes they are teaching. Are they only being tasked with the most challenging courses, or classes, where every single day is a struggle — or are we allowing them to have that time to see a variety of classes, some of the stronger classes that help them fine-tune and develop better classroom management skills, and better, more effective ways to deal with a variety of students? I know when I was hired, the classes that I was assigned were the only classes that were left. In other words, the classes no one else wanted. That was incredibly challenging. As I said, after year two, the principal really became involved, and I had a new department chair who was wonderful and she really helped me — and not just me, but the other teachers in our department to connect better.

So how do we keep mountains of teachers from fleeing the profession every year? We need to provide them with better mentors, we need to provide them with better class schedules or class schedules that are effective for them, and we need to make sure that we really do provide them with the tools that they need to be successful.

“Students Need to Be Something Other Than Just a Student.” was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Mary Stein: MSEA’s ESP of the Year

December 8, 2017 - 12:39pm
“An activist from the heart.”Howard County nurse and community activist Mary Stein is MSEA’s ESP of the Year.

“An activist from the heart” is how one endorsement read. Another said, “Her efforts have helped us win countless elections and legislative victories.” And finally, “she is ever vigilant to make sure nurses are treated as the professionals they are.”

That’s the impression MSEA’s 2017 ESP of the Year Mary Stein leaves with colleagues when she commits to a cause — and she commits frequently. Stein, a cluster nurse in Howard County, is a longtime activist for her profession, students, and families.

https://medium.com/media/5bc8bd4fcca7fd10bdfc0fac55dd44b5/href

As a community and union leader, Stein has advocated for on-the-job policies that benefit nursing mothers and babies, organized and mobilized colleagues through the Howard County Education Association (HCEA) ESP Coalition, helped lead HCEA as a director and committee member, and represented MSEA on Maryland’s Working Matters Coalition to secure paid sick leave for all workers — an issue she’s passionate about.

Sign the petition to override Governor Hogan’s veto and support paid sick leave for ALL workers here.

About Us

“I’ve seen the issues students face when left for long periods in the health room or who have had to come to school sick when parents had no sick time or resources,” Stein told MSEA delegates at MSEA’s annual convention in October. “We got the bill passed, but the governor vetoed it — with your help, we will override that veto in the 2018 General Assembly!”

Mary Stein: MSEA’s ESP of the Year was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

“Kids Before Content. Love Before All.”

December 8, 2017 - 12:38pm
2014 National Teacher of the Year Sean McComb inspires at MSEA’s Early Career Educator Summit.Early career educators Richard Warren Jr., John Wombach, Sarah Gizaw, and Arame Richardson with 2014 National Teacher of the Year Sean McComb.

“The day after the conference,” said music educator John Wambach, “I started drafting a behavior reflection document — using specific language from one of the workshops — that my students now complete when they are disrupting another’s education.”

Wambach attended Organizational and Instructional Classroom Management Strategies, one of seven breakout sessions developed for educators in the first five years of their practice at MSEA’s second Early Career Educator Summit on November 4.

Energizing and Inspiring

Workshops and talks on issues like classroom management, teaching English language learners, special education, differentiated instruction, multiple intelligences, and building home/school relationships addressed some of the barriers that challenge early career educators.

Through EdTalks led by early career teachers, workshops, and an inspiring message from Baltimore County’s Sean McComb, the 2014 National Teacher of the Year, the focus was on making connections, growing a strong education practice, and finding the support and encouragement new educators need.

https://medium.com/media/68ee37f86e355a2ee70bb95ace8bcba6/href

McComb used a famous quote to make a strong statement about his teaching philosophy: “Michelangelo said, ‘I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set it free.’ What we must do as teachers is see the possibilities in each student and teach until we’re able to set them free.”

“Sean’s comments really resonated with me,” said Richard Warren Jr., a science teacher in Somerset County. “He reminded us of our purpose — kids before content, love before all, and the challenge for us to ‘hypersee’ what our students can be.”

Lasting Reminders

“What stuck with me most from the conference was how to apply the growth mindset philosophy to my classroom management,” said Wambach. “I think it’s so important, especially in a music class, to tell kids that they’re not there yet but that they will be soon.”

Wambach’s Montgomery County colleague, Spanish teacher Sarah Gizaw said, “I really appreciated the emphasis on building student–teacher relationships from start to finish throughout the day as a consistent reminder of how much we need to invest in building rapport with our kids. I realized this early on and it made all the difference with some of my most challenging students.”

“Kids Before Content. Love Before All.” was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Dwayne Lovett — Paying It Forward One Student at a Time

December 8, 2017 - 12:37pm
Education specialist Dwayne Lovett knows what it takes to reach students at his North Dorchester County High School.Dwayne Lovett with officers and members of the North Dorchester Gentleman’s Club.As an adult, I knew I could make a difference for someone in the same way. Being that person at school — interacting with students and being that role model they need — is what drives me. — Dwayne Lovett

Since I began my journey in Dorchester schools, it’s been my hope to make a significant impact in our community. When I first began working at North Dorchester High School, I saw students — mostly male — with academic and personal problems. They came to me for advice and encouragement. I was sure other students must have felt the same and I felt something needed to be done to support them.

My goal has always been to make a difference in my community. I started an organization so that I could help the young men in our schools and they could help each other. Since 2010, the Gentlemen’s Club has been a growing trend in our middle and high schools. We’ve grown from 15 to 60 members. The success of our program has inspired other schools to start their own clubs.

My drive comes from our students. They help me get up every day at 5:00 a.m. and arrive at school with a smile. I know from my own experience what that means. When I was their age, I was that helpless, hopeless kid.

As an adult, I knew I could make a difference for someone in the same way. Being that person at school — interacting with students and being that role model they need — is what drives me.

I keep it up outside of work. I’m a member of the Good Shepherds Association, Higher Ground Drug Ministry, the Talbot County Addictions Program, and I’m the volunteer assistant program director for Mid Shore Fresh Start Recovery Center. You can also find me assisting at the Maryland Food Pantry or at my church in Easton where I’m a licensed minister and assistant choir director.

My calling has been to work with the young and for the last 32 years, I’ve strived to make a difference in a child’s life every day. I’ve served the community and youth in every stop along my career — from detention centers to group homes to our public schools. I believe I am making a difference.

Dwayne Lovett — Paying It Forward One Student at a Time was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Working Together — Allegany County Educators and Community Stakeholders

December 8, 2017 - 12:36pm
Educators work to build understanding and support for community schools in the City of Steeples.Photo: Hamtalk.org

Educators and community members gathered in Allegany County on November 9 for a discussion about public education sponsored and organized by the Allegany County Education Association. ACEA is a merged local association that represents teachers, services providers, and education support professionals.

Led by ACEA, a panel of educators and civic stakeholders — including representatives from the business community and the NAACP — discussed what Allegany schools need to prepare students for post-high school job training or apprenticeships, two- or four-year college, and a changing workforce in Western Maryland and beyond.

Lack of funding was a big focus, with hopes that the new education funding formula recommendations due from the Kirwan Commission would make a difference for the mostly rural county.

Kirwan Commission Takes Major Step Forward on Teacher Pay

“The county commissioners have funded our public schools at only the required maintenance of effort for the past seven years,” said ACEA President John Reuschlein. “Like elsewhere in our state, too many of our classrooms are overcrowded. Students are simply not getting the attention educators know they need and deserve.”

Other topics included the purpose of assessments, the value of career, technology, and trade skills, the impact of large class sizes, and regaining professional respect for educators’ skills, value, and contributions.

“ACEA’s forum gave community members a chance to challenge the panel directly about the concerns and visions they have about our schools. In turn, we could all share the passion and commitment we have for our students and community,” said middle school counselor Shawnee McElfish. “There was no one in the middle — we were able to speak directly and frankly to one another. It was an invigorating and energizing process, one where we all felt like winners.”

“Improving our schools is the job of the entire community,” said Reuschlein, “We’re looking forward to more forums that will keep us talking, sharing, and working together.”

Working Together — Allegany County Educators and Community Stakeholders was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

550+ Meetings and 10,000+ Educators

December 8, 2017 - 12:34pm
Here’s what MSEA members are doing right now to get Maryland schools on par with Finland, Singapore, and Massachusetts.What do our students deserve? More than MSEA members responded with better pay, more staff, and increased student services.“This really is our moment, and members are responding to it. Legislators will hear from 73,000 members come January with a strong message of unity and purpose for improving our schools — and they won’t stop hearing from us until they listen and take action.” — MSEA President Betty Weller

Educators across Maryland are talking about — and organizing around — the once-in-a-generation opportunity to increase school funding through the work of the influential Kirwan Commission, whose initial recommendations are due before the end of December.

For the last two months, MSEA President Betty Weller, Vice President Cheryl Bost, and other leaders have been talking to building reps and local leaders about the commission’s goal to get Maryland schools on par with world-class education systems like those in Massachusetts, Finland, Singapore, and Shanghai on issues like student resources and services, teacher prep, teacher pay, staffing and more.

Kirwan Commission Takes Major Step Forward on Teacher Pay

Have You Filled out YOUR Card?

At each meeting, school leaders were asked to seize the opportunity — the outcome of which will affect 15 or more years of public education funding in the state — and get as much input as possible from the members in their building.

They’re distributing feedback cards that ask for responses to two prompts:

  1. The schools our students deserve should have …
  2. Here’s what I’m going to do about it … .

Building reps are delivering with more than 550 meetings connecting with more than 10,000 educators across Maryland. These meetings aren’t slowing down — if you haven’t heard from your building rep yet, chances are you will. An additional 7,500+ educators, parents, and community members have signed MSEA’s petition calling for increased school funding at ourmomentmaryland.com.

Our Voices

“We’ve said over and over again that educator voices must be part of this process,” Weller said, “and this campaign is proving that we want to be heard.” MSEA is tallying stacks of the feedback cards filled with what members want and need to do their jobs.

MSEA President Betty Weller rallies building representatives in Calvert County.Community Outreach

With so much in the balance, MSEA is asking educators to host house or community meetings to raise awareness about the work of the Kirwan Commission and what’s at stake for Maryland. “We need our communities to join us in lobbying our representatives in Annapolis — sharing their concerns for their children and schools with lawmakers whose jobs may hinge or whether they are for or against the progress we want to see.”

3 Ways the New Kirwan Commission Timeline Can Help

Ready to pitch in? Contact ourmoment@mseanea.org and ask how you can help support MSEA’s work to improve Maryland schools.

550+ Meetings and 10,000+ Educators was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Making Blended Learning Work in Your Classroom

December 8, 2017 - 12:32pm
Each attempt at using new tech involves taking a risk and models for our students how we handle bumps in the road — even failure.Alia Knight-Dahl is a sixth grade language arts teacher at Monocacy Middle School in Frederick County and a member of the Frederick County Teachers Association. She is a member of the Vanguard Leadership Program for technology mentors. Alia is the writer of the blog A. Dahl’s House: The (mis)adventures and musings of your friendly, neighborhood teacher.

The day they hung my first interactive whiteboard in my classroom, I shed tears of happiness! For the learners I care for, technology is a key unlock knowledge a step to climb over an academic barrier, a bridge toward deeper understanding, and the catalyst that allows ea student to express mastery in a new way. It is not the destination, but the path.

Each attempt at using new tech involves taking a risk and models for our students how we handle bumps in the road — even failure. We don’t give up. We have to explore, employ, and share new technology to ensure that stu- dents are able to use technology to both create and express undestanding. I love tools with multiple applications. While finding things that work for you is a lesson in trial and error, it is so worth the trial!

Making It work

All of my digital materials are located in Google Classroom. It’s my toolbox for sharing screencasts, instructions, assignments, and Guardian (which sends parents an email of all assignments and missing work). Save a tree (or seven!) by letting students view materials and turn in work online.

I use the Share to Classroom extension to immediately share a link, or the actual website that I’m using, to my Google Classroom and it pops right up on my students’ screens. This makes student access to the materials for rotation easy.

Utilizing Google Classroom, to be the Teacher I Want to be - Flipped Learning Network Hub

In my blended learning environment, I often use a multi-day rotation model of instruction. My classes usually do a whole group and two rotations in a 45-minute class period, with a quick closing/exit ticket. In a larger block, you might do whole group and/or three or four 20-minute rotations, with a closing/exit ticket.

In a recent lesson, students started with a screencast I created that modeled how to annotate an article to summarize key details. The video was 10–15 minutes and students could rewind and replay as needed. They were given a quick Google Form to see who needed extra help. I pulled those students for a small group of targeted instruction during one of their rotations, before moving on to independent practice in the full rotation.

During the rotation stage, students rotated through three stations (20 minutes per station). They completed a PlayPosit video (with embedded questions) based on strategies for finding main ideas.

PlayPosit Interactive Video

The PlayPosit included audio of each question to support students with accommodations. Another station used MobyMax content for finding the main idea in informational text. A final station also used MobyMax, but had students complete tasks that targeted skills personalized for the academic needs of each student.

Learn Twice as Fast | MobyMax

1:1 or 1:25

My classroom is 1:1 with Chromebooks, but a similar outcome could be gained with pencil and paper pre-assessments, worksheets at some stations that hit the whole group content at another station, and small groups rotating through 15–20 minute rotations in MobyMax over the course of several days.

Before my class was 1:1, I used a weekly computer chart and students had a certain day of the week that was their computer time. I also used the school computer lab often to get kids the access they needed.

Explore, Learn, and Share!

These are resources you can use in your classroom right now. Try them out, set up a classroom if necessary, and log on with a demo student account of your own.

YouTube is an excellent resource for video tutorials for almost any classroom tool. Watch tips from educators and users to get your sea legs. Every attempt won’t be successful, but as with our students, failure is sometimes part of the journey to success!

Making Blended Learning Work in Your Classroom was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Betty Weller: We’re Making the Connections on School Funding, Student Services, and Student Success

December 8, 2017 - 12:30pm
“This is a chance to improve the future success of our schools.”Betty Weller, MSEA President

I’ve been travelling the state over the last month to meet with members and talk about the opportunity we have to improve school funding through the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission. This is a chance to improve the future success of our schools and the resources available to students and educators.

I want to thank the hundreds of educators I’ve met — and the thousands who have participated in building meetings on Kirwan — for sharing your ideas on what needs to be prioritized by the commission. We are carrying your voice and perspective on issues like salary, class and caseload size, pre-k, career and technical education, and community schools to decision-makers on the commission and in the legislature.

But we can only make your ideas reality through effective mobilizing. So, to the hundreds of members who showed up and spoke out at public commission hearings in Stevensville, Frederick, Baltimore, and Largo — thank you. Your activism during this critical moment will benefit you and your students.

But we also need to focus on what’s happening every day in every school where students are facing serious emotional traumas and social constraints that hinder their learning. It’s no secret: we need more resources and staffing for mental health support for these student

To access these resources and the opportunity to receive funding exclusively available to MSEA members in Title I schools, visit firstbook.org/MSEA. I hope these resources are useful to you, your students, and their parents as we continue to fight for solutions that will reach every family in every community through the education funding our schools deserve.

Betty Weller: We’re Making the Connections on School Funding, Student Services, and Student Success was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Kirwan Commission Takes Major Step Forward on Teacher Pay

December 1, 2017 - 5:01pm
Also examines how teachers can move up in the profession without moving out of the classroomA Calvert County teacher testifies before the Kirwan Commission at its public hearing in Prince George’s County in October. (Credit: MSEA)

After more than a year of receiving reports, testimony, and feedback on how to deliver on the promise of giving every Maryland child an excellent education, the Kirwan Commission — a state panel made up of 25 legislators and education stakeholders — is finally moving closer to preliminary recommendations. And one of the most important possible commitments is bringing teacher salary in line with the pay of other highly-skilled professions.

Here’s the Commission’s expected timeline:

December: Continue discussion of preliminary recommendations, get closer to consensus languageEarly January: Vote on and adopt preliminary recommendationsJanuary-April: Study the cost implications of the preliminary recommendations while subcommittees of Commission members develop more specific recommendationsApril-Summer: Discuss, vote on, and adopt final recommendations (including changes to the state’s school funding formula)Eliminating the Teacher Pay Penalty

A month ago, we published a story on MSEA Newsfeed explaining how the earnings of Maryland teachers are penalized — relative to professionals with comparable levels of education and skills — for the public service of educating our state’s children. In 2015, that pay gap was 16 cents on the dollar, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

In its latest draft language, the Commission is planning to recommend that Maryland fully eliminate that gap by a year to be determined during the cost analysis that will take place early in 2018.

But in the meantime, the Commission moved forward on a plan to raise Maryland’s average teacher salary to the equivalent of New Jersey’s and Massachusetts’ average teacher salary within the first four or five years of the Kirwan Plan’s implementation. If teacher salaries grow in those states at the same rate they have for the last 15 years — a conservative estimate considering the recession that took place during that time — Maryland’s average teacher salary (including other certificated staff on the same salary schedules) would need to reach approximately $90,000 to catch up to their pace.

That’s a 32% increase from where Maryland teachers are now (average teacher salary was $68,357 in the 2016–17 school year). And that’s just the first step in closing the pay gap between teachers and other highly-skilled professionals, like architects and accountants.

Big pay hikes for teachers proposed, along with a career ladder

Moving Up Without Moving Out

Salary is just one component of how the Commission is considering elevating the teaching profession. They are examining how to build additional planning and collaboration time into the work day, as in Finland’s top-performing school system. They are also looking into teacher leadership positions within schools so we can keep excellent educators in the classroom working directly with kids instead of moving to administrative positions just to get a more competitive salary.

While the Commission is working towards a goal of having every teacher matched against their counterparts in other professions, its members want teacher leaders to gain additional compensation as they move up “career ladders” and take on responsibilities, like instructional coaches, department chairs, and eventually master teachers. They want to develop a statewide Y-shaped framework where exemplar teachers have a choice between rising up a teacher branch or an administrative branch — with the tops of both paths making the same high salary.

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Being a classroom teacher is the most fulfilling job I've ever done, but school systems need to make room for thoughtful, ambitious educators to grow WITHIN the profession rather than feel like they have to leave the classroom entirely in order to make the next career leap.

 — @samirpaul

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Outside of some broad parameters, the exact details of the career ladders and salary structures would remain subject to collective bargaining in each of Maryland’s 24 school districts.

Improvement Needed: What About Other Educators?

Of course, schools wouldn’t run effectively and high quality instruction wouldn’t be possible without the incredible work that support staff do every day. In most schools, we need many, many more of these professionals in order to meet the needs of students.

Unfortunately, the Commission has not yet seriously addressed how we can support non-teacher staff in their work for students. There’s no other way to put it: it’s disappointing. We will continue to push the Commission to adopt our ESP proposals:

  1. Pass a state law guaranteeing every single person who works in Maryland public schools receives a living wage for their work.
  2. Significantly expand the number of para-educators who work in our schools — especially to support students in elementary school grades and students in special education.

We’re making important progress on the changes that Maryland educators and students need to build the best possible school system in our state. But we’re not there yet — and your voice and activism are critical to making sure that Commission members and legislators understand what matters to educators. Stay tuned to MSEA Newsfeed for more updates on the Commission and how to get involved, and text MSEA to 84693 to get breaking education news updates.

Kirwan Commission Takes Major Step Forward on Teacher Pay was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Maryland Has a Teacher Pay Problem

October 30, 2017 - 5:14pm
Is the state finally ready to help pay teachers what they deserve?Photo © Stephen Cherry

In today’s debate over what should be done to improve education in America, there is a lot we disagree on. While some of this conflict in the public discourse is due to entrenched ideologies, much of it is caused by mixed academic research on almost all things education policy.

But among the least disputed ideas is this: the most important in-school factor in a child’s education is the quality of teaching they receive — in fact, RAND Corporation, a leading non-profit think tank, says teachers “have two to three times the impact of any other school factor, including services, facilities, and even leadership.”

So if teachers are the most important in-school factor in education, and public education is the most important issue to Marylanders according to public polling, why in the world are we underpaying our public educators?

This isn’t just simple logic. There’s solid research that shows huge benefits for students in school systems around the world that greatly elevate the public prestige and compensation of their teachers. In 2011, two European researchers looked at Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores and average teacher salary for each OECD country. Sure enough, that simple logic played out in a strong relationship between the two factors:

The researchers concluded that “A 5% increase in the relative position of teachers in the income distribution would increase pupil performance by around 5–10%.” By reducing staff turnover and creating the demand to make the teaching profession more selective, increasing teacher pay is one of the most effective education reforms available to elected officials and school leadership.

Unfortunately…

Maryland Teachers Make 84 Cents on the Dollar

In August 2016, the Economic Policy Institute released a damning study on the pay gap between teachers and other professionals with four-year college degrees. It showed that all across the country, teachers pay a financial penalty to serve the public mission of educating our kids instead of entering more lucrative professions.

In Maryland, that teacher pay penalty is 16 cents on every dollar earned. That’s right — instead of incentivizing high school and college students to join the profession responsible for our state’s educational success, we do the exact opposite.

Of course, this is ignored by anti-public education advocates who want more public funding shifted to the private education sector.

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Did you know? Maryland is one of the highest-paying states for teachers https://t.co/DDcS2AK9EG

 — @MarylandCAN

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MarylandCAN — a pro-privatization group started by Donald Trump’s educator advisor — argues that because Maryland teachers have a relatively high average salary compared to other states, we should send funding to other priorities. But that ignores the fact that while Maryland teachers, on average, earn the 8th highest salaries in the nation, they actually make the 9th lowest when benchmarked against state median household income. Maryland’s average teacher salary is 87% of the state’s median household income.

2016–2017 data from the Census Bureau, the Maryland State Department of Education, and the National Education Association.

Not only does Maryland have the highest median household income in the nation — and therefore a larger tax base with which to pay teachers a competitive salary — but it does the worst job in the Mid-Atlantic region at making teaching competitive with other jobs in the state’s economy. That’s a recruitment and retention double-whammy: uncompetitive within the state economy and with nearby states.

Perhaps this wouldn’t be quite so demoralizing for Maryland teachers if it wasn’t getting worse…but it has since the Great Recession, despite median household income rebounding.

Data from the Census Bureau, Maryland State Archives, and National Education Association.

As the chart above shows, Maryland made great strides following the implementation of the Thornton Funding Formula in the mid-2000s — cutting the gap between average teacher salary and median household income in half (from 14% to 7%) — only to lose that improvement in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Even as the state has returned to fiscal health and median household income has increased by about $9,000 since 2011, the average teacher salary has only increased by $4,700—half as much — as state and local education funding flatlined.

So, with uncompetitive teacher salaries (that are only getting more uncompetitive) and worst-in-the-nation teacher working conditions, is it any wonder we see news stories like this every year?

https://medium.com/media/a9d64b7ccf6d66a27c88aae401336ae9/hrefThis Is a Must-Fix for the Kirwan Commission

Here’s the good news: the Kirwan Commission appears ready to make a strong recommendation on increasing teacher pay. In the video below, the chair of the Commission, Brit Kirwan, tells a reading specialist in Howard County that closing the gap between teacher pay and comparable professions is under consideration.

https://medium.com/media/de469d91cd71e84646ef01148f3f0765/href

If the Commission does in fact make that recommendation, that means average teacher salary would likely need to increase to more than $90,000 by 2025 — including $2,500+ increases each year — or the kind of growth started by the Thornton implementation but discontinued when the recession hit in the late 2000s. According to the international study cited earlier, that could improve student achievement by as much as 25%.

But this potential progress is far from guaranteed. It’s up to educators and our public education allies to consistently remind commissioners and legislators of the importance of elevating the teaching profession by erasing the teacher pay penalty. It will take all of our voices to close the gap.

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Thank you to the incredible educators who stayed out late on a school night to advocate for students at tonight's Kirwan Commission hearing!

 — @MSEAeducators

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Maryland Has a Teacher Pay Problem was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Top 10 Moments at the 2017 MSEA Convention

October 27, 2017 - 3:34pm
Convention breaks records, builds momentum for big year of activism ahead

The 2017 MSEA Convention is in the books, and it was one of the biggest and best ever. Here are some of the highlights:

1. Betty Weller’s Final Convention Speech as MSEA PresidentMSEA President Betty Weller addresses Convention delegates. (Photo © Stephen Cherry)

“For the last five years as your president it has been my privilege to fight alongside you and be inspired by you,” declared MSEA President Betty Weller. “Rest assured that whether in the remaining time of my presidency or in my retirement, I will still be fighting next to you, still be inspired by you, and still be in the streets beside you so that we can make the most of this moment.” Watch the full speech below.

https://medium.com/media/67a6eb47258d8900b42c8488bf6afef5/href2. Record AttendanceA packed house at non-delegate registration. (Photo © Stephen Cherry)

The 2017 Representative Assembly was the biggest in a decade, and the 3rd largest in 20 years. Workshop attendance soared as well, more than doubling last year’s mark. All told, more than 2,500 people came to the 2017 Convention.

3. 2018 Gubernatorial Candidates Talk Education(Photos © Stephen Cherry)

As the Baltimore Sun put it, “the eight Democrats running for governor climbed a convention center stage here, courting one of the most coveted endorsements in Maryland: the support of the sprawling and powerful teachers union. … They promised members of the state’s biggest teachers union to provide universal pre-kindergarten statewide, to raise teacher pay, to invest in school buildings, to better help students from high poverty areas, and to listen to teachers more than incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan does.”

In her remarks, President Weller called the candidates “what might be the strongest, most diverse field for Maryland governor that we have ever seen.” Click a candidate’s name below to watch Betty’s interview with them:

4. Record-breaking Year for PAC Fundraising(Photo © Stephen Cherry)

In another sign of how energized educators are to elect pro-public education candidates and win on issues that matter to students, fundraising for MSEA’s Fund for Children and Public Education crushed the previous record that was set just last year. This year, delegates raised more than $41,000 in two days.

5. Brit Kirwan Hears from Delegates on Funding PrioritiesBrit Kirwan hears from RA delegates about their funding priorities. (Photo © Stephen Cherry)

Educators know that we have a once in a generation opportunity to increase school funding and address the $3 billion underfunding of Maryland schools through the work of the Kirwan Commission. The namesake and chair of the commission himself, Brit Kirwan, spent nearly an hour with delegates—fielding questions, getting feedback, and sharing the commission’s work thus far. “We have no chance of implementing [the commission’s] report, in my opinion, without MSEA’s support,” asserted Kirwan. “You are so critical to this effort.”

6. Lethal Ladies of Baltimore Wow Delegates(Photo © Stephen Cherry)

A Friday morning performance from the Lethal Ladies of Baltimore—a step team of students at the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women —electrified delegates and set the tone for an exciting day ahead. The step team is featured in the award-winning Fox Searchlight movie “Step.”

7. More than 100 First-Time Delegates Join the RAFirst-time delegate and MCEA member Liz Jones poses for a photo with former MSTA President Pat Foerster. (Photo © Stephen Cherry)

For the fourth year in a row, more than 100 first-time delegates joined veteran activists, putting the strength and diversity of the association on full display.

8. ESP of the Year Mary Stein Inspires RAESP of the Year Mary Stein at this year’s RA. (Photo © Stephen Cherry)

Howard County nurse Mary Stein was honored as MSEA’s second-ever ESP of the Year and recounted her long career of activism to RA delegates, particularly her advocacy for earned sick leave. “I had the great privilege to have lunch with President Obama and Senator Barbara Mikulski to discuss this important matter as it related to the impact on students, the elderly, and the people who care for them. Because I was passionate about this coalition I made an impact with our president and our senator.” Watch Mary’s full speech below.

https://medium.com/media/a0da9e2d572af6eb8f4ad347fd06bedf/href9. Delegates Debate New BusinessDelegates voting at the 2017 RA. (Photo © Stephen Cherry)

Delegates debated more than two dozen New Business Items (NBIs), passing measures on issues ranging from equal justice, student trauma, special education, dyslexia education, and many more. Look for quarterly updates on MSEA’s work to fulfill passed NBIS at marylandeducators.org/convention.

10. Locals Big and Small Win Membership AwardsFCTA President Missy Dirks accepts the award for Outstanding Membership Plan from Membership Organizing Committee Co-Chair Heather Goodhart. (Photo © Stephen Cherry)

Local associations across the state were honored for their hard work expanding membership in teacher, ESP, and administrator units. Awards went to the Association of Classified Employees AFSCME Local 2250, Association of Public School Administrators and Supervisors of Allegany County, Cecil County Classroom Teachers Association, Education Association of Charles County, Education Association of St. Mary’s County, Frederick Association of School Support Employees, Frederick County Teachers Association, Harford County Education Association, St. Mary’s Association of Supervisors and Administrators, and Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County.

Already looking forward to next year’s MSEA Convention? Circle October 19 and 20 on your calendar and come join us!

Top 10 Moments at the 2017 MSEA Convention was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Educators Out in Force at Final Kirwan Commission Hearing

October 27, 2017 - 1:17pm
Addressing salary, class size, and poverty among top issues

They came in buses and in carpools. They came from down the road, over the Bay Bridge, and through rush hour traffic on the Beltway. At Wednesday night’s final Kirwan Commission public hearing, educators packed the room, stood in the aisles, and made their voices heard.

Here are some of the highlights of what they said:

“Low pay and assisting our students at hard to staff schools is overwhelming and increases teacher turnover. Our ask is that you focus on assisting us in meaningful improvements to…address the needs of our highest concentrations of poverty.” — Theresa Dudley, Prince George’s County teacher and Prince George’s County Education Association president“Class sizes matter because in my classroom there are 30 people whose stories matter. … Small class sizes reduce the gap between the highest and lowest achievers.” — Allison Heintz, Anne Arundel County teacher“Community schools should be the new norm in Maryland.” — Sheena Washington, Prince George’s County teacher“We have young, talented, and qualified teachers leaving the profession before they finish five years because they are burnt out before they even get a chance to hone their craft.” — Liz Jones, Montgomery County teacher“I have to take on a second job because I’m a second-year teacher. I’m asking for the ability to teach and to live.” — Ryan Curry, Prince George’s County teacher“As an educator, I know what my students need. Our kids deserve high quality schools with small class sizes.” — Pam Bukowski, Anne Arundel County teacher and Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County vice president

A full room of other educators wore red, cheered on their colleagues, and held up “yes” signs to show their support.

And some even led their colleagues in chants:

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Calvert County teacher Nancy Crosby leads educators in a chant: "when I say Kirwan, you say fund it!

 — @MSEAeducators

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The need to address the $3 billion in underfunding in our schools is clearly there. Hearings like this one show that the public support is also there. But educators and public education allies will need to keep the pressure up on elected officials to make sure that they support recommendations from the Kirwan Commission that are a true game-changer for all Maryland educators and students.

Educators Out in Force at Final Kirwan Commission Hearing was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

We’re $3 Billion Behind and We’re Pushing Back

October 17, 2017 - 7:29pm
This Is Our Moment—Educators are leading by pushing the Kirwan Commission to make the right decisions.MSEA President Betty Weller introduces MSEA’s This Is Our Moment campaign at a Calvert Education Association building rep assembly October 16.

Every educator has stories — the kind that give you goosebumps or bring a tear to your eye. Those are the stories that help keep educators in the classroom — but what also helps are working conditions that lead to student and educator success. That’s why MSEA educators are organizing to influence the Kirwan Commission, the group charged with updating the public school funding formula, which will affect a generation of students.

MSEA’s This Is Our Moment campaign is reaching out to educators, parents, and community members in school and neighborhood meetings across the state. It’s an opportunity to collect input from everyone: What do you want to see changed? What does a first-class education look like? How can we provide it? In Calvert and Anne Arundel counties, association reps recently learned exactly how and what they can do to help from MSEA President Betty Weller and Vice President Cheryl Bost.

Our Moment: Calling All Building RepsThis Is Our Moment: Anne Arundel County teachers learn how they can help influence the Kirwan Commission and improve public school funding for the next generation of students.

“Who remembers the Thornton Commission, the last group that updated the education funding formula,” MSEA President Betty Weller asked Calvert County building reps on October 16. “It’s been 15 years since the school funding formula was last updated.

“Since then, the number of kids in poverty has doubled, we have more students receiving special ed services, and more English language learners than ever. Our class sizes are increasing and we have even more state and federal mandates. The current funding formula hasn’t kept up with these changes.”

What’s Changed Since 2002?

Weller was in Calvert to introduce the campaign, share the resources, and stir up building reps to organize their buildings, share their stories, and, importantly, show up to the next Kirwan Commission public hearing on October 25 at Largo High School. (Read how educators and community members showed up in force at the public hearings in Baltimore and Western Maryland.)

Calvert Education Association President Dona Ostenso and her team will be the teachers in the red t-shirts at the Kirwan Commission public hearing at Largo High School on October 25.

“If we want more funding in education to improve teacher salaries, have smaller class sizes, more time to plan, and additional resources,” said Calvert Education Association President Dona Ostenso, “we need to stand together and speak up like we did last year when we fought to restore our steps and teacher pay. We won that battle and now our contracts are funded for the next three years. It’s time to step up.

“Let’s organize once again and make sure our voices are heard at the public hearing next week.”

An hour later, Ostenso had 25 teachers signed up for the bus ride to represent Calvert schools and their profession at Largo High. “And that’s just the beginning,” she said.

In Anne Arundel County, a similar gathering took place when local president Richard Benfer and MSEA Vice President Cheryl Bost rallied teachers at the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County building rep assembly. “Over the next couple of months,” Bost said, “hundreds of building reps like you will be holding building meetings with tens of thousands of educators to let them know about this great opportunity, get their feedback for what they want to see from increased funding, and tell us what they’re willing to do to make it happen.

A teacher reviews some of the This Is Our Moment resources.

“Your role is to hold one of these 10-minute meetings in your building. We’ll deliver all the feedback collected from these meetings to the Kirwan Commission — and together we’ll build the power to get them done. We have resources for every building in the county — meeting scripts, sign-in sheets, commitment cards, a slide show, and a video to use during the meeting.

“This is our moment,” Bost said. “The more people we can talk to about what the Kirwan Commission and their recommendations means to the future of public education, the better our chances for success.”

Learn more at OurMomentMaryland.com.

We’re $3 Billion Behind and We’re Pushing Back was originally published in MSEA Newsfeed on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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