The AFT-Maryland testified before the Senate Health, Education & Environmental Affairs Committee in support of the Protect Our Schools Act 2017. Baltimore Teachers Union member and Waverly Elementary/Middle School 5th grade teacher Lisa Harrison and AFT-Maryland Political Coordinator Todd Reynolds testified in support of the bill. Reynolds called for further examination of various assessments beyond simply standardized testing because students in Baltimore City face a myriad of challenges that need to be considered when assessing the quality and effectiveness of a school. Reynolds testimony cited indicators beyond assessments such as class size, advance placement classes and school climate.
Harrison spoke of the unique challenges she faces in her school with her students. She described how in her class, she only has one student who comes from a two parent household. She mentioned another one of her 5th grade students who was had been shot. She became emotional and her voice cracked while her eyes welled with tears as she told the committee of the difficulties that student has sitting for a two hour assessment. She drove the point home by telling members, “There will not be a job where they’ll [her students] will be asked, 'How’d you do on the PARCC test?'” Chairwoman Joan Carter Conway who represents the district Waverly is located thanked Harrison for her work and commitment to education.