Welcome Back to a New School Year!
I can only imagine how excited everyone is for the start of the new school year. Although we enjoy our summer break there is no greater feeling than returning to our students and setting them on the path to success. I hope your summer break gave you the time to rest, reflect, and recharge. We are best able to pour into our scholars when we have taken the time to tend to ourselves. The time away from our students, while re-energizing, has also made us excited for their return to the classroom. Vacation was fun, but that does not mean that we also did not miss the joy that our students bring to our lives.
As we embark on the 2023-24 school year, we do so knowing that our students return to us after a long summer, exacerbated by the unprecedented climate occurrences and heartbreaking continuation of communal violence. We must be prepared to receive many students whose primary concerns are not reading, writing, and arithmetic but food, shelter, and survival.
We also understand that our profession is under attack across the nation. From banned books, to mandated curriculum that teaches incomplete and inaccurate history, as educational professionals, we are not being trusted for our expertise and our work is being devalued. AFT-Maryland has worked tirelessly to make sure the devaluation of educators’ knowledge does not take hold in Maryland as it has in other states.
We can look to the success of Baltimore city students and the integral role education professionals play as evidence of why Maryland should not be influenced by anti-education forces that tie the hands of educators and strip needed resources from those of us who contribute to our students’ achievement. In Baltimore, we have students who were Regional Scholastic Art and Writing Award winners, students who learn farming from Great Kids Farm, students who compete and place in national robotics competitions and much more.
Our students could not accomplish all they do without nurturing professionals who support them, and your union is here to support you. AFT-Maryland is proud of all of our members who answer the call to service to shape the future of our city, state, and country. Have a great school year!
Kenya Campbell, President