Governor Larry Hogan, I thank you in advance, as your words throughout the press conference on January 21st inspired me to borrow some of them in expressing my thoughts as a teacher in Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS).
As a longtime educator, I agree with you wholeheartedly about “the terrible learning loss that’s being caused by the disruption of the pandemic and why it’s so critical that we all work together to get all of our students back into the classroom.”
As you cited school districts across the nation that have taken punitive measures against their educators and school staff to force them into school buildings without having received full vaccinations and without a clear safety protocol or proper safety measures, we do not want our elected leaders to have to take such authoritarian actions here in Maryland. We hope that the Board of Education immediately begin good-faith effort to return to the classroom by working with the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County (TAAAC) to create a data-driven, measurable, equitable, needs-based safety protocol that accounts for the care and safety of all Anne Arundel community members, including our beloved school staff, students, and their families.
Our children and AACPS educators and support staff simply cannot afford anymore endless roadblocks or anymore moving of goal posts. The last ten months since school buildings have closed due to the pandemic has given the Board of Education plenty of time to work with TAAAC to get all of our kids back into the classrooms and reopen our schools through the lens of equity, not just for students, but also for our school staff.
Every single day, school staff lament about how much our heart breaks for our students who have fallen so far behind in school and have lost hope of ever catching up. And who have not yet even had a chance to meet us!
I call on every leader in the state to join educators and school staff in making this an immediate priority with critical thinking, integrity, and demonstration of care for everyone who will be returning to school buildings, including the adults.
Finally, you shared that you “have always believed that every single child in Maryland deserves a world-class education regardless of what neighborhood they happen to grow up in and as Governor, advancing that goal is one of [your] most important priorities and responsibilities.”
We look forward to you signing the bi-partisan supported bill you originally vetoed, the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. As you know, this bill will provide an updated equitable funding formula (which was last revised nearly 20 years ago) that now includes funding to fill the learning loss students have endured during the pandemic, thereby leading us forward towards advancing one of your most important priorities and responsibilities.
As a longtime resident and now an educator on Piscataway, Nentego, and Susequhannock native land, also known as Anne Arundel County, I extend my sincere gratitude for the transformative leadership you will begin to demonstrate on behalf of all Maryland public education community members during this difficult time.
HyoYoung Minna Kim
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