It will be held next week.
As teachers from across the country gather in Washington next week for the National Education Association Convention, they have one concern on their minds. In Maryland, it's how to keep the number-one ranking for the state's public schools. And that goes along with having the resources to educate the state's school children, including highly qualified teachers, experienced administrators to run the schools and up-to-date technology. "All of these things have a dollar sign behind them," says Maryland State Education Association President Clara Floyd.
For the past several years, Maryland's public schools have ranked number-one in the nation, but Floyd says teachers are concerned that this distinction could be lost if the state and local governments don't provide the needed the funding. "How do you continue to have what is needed in Maryland with making sure the state funds public education as it should," she says.
In some parts of the state, local governments have talked about drastic reductions in education funding due to reduced revenues. But Floyd urges these elected officials and citizens to think carefully before making that decision. "What is important: the students we teach; the schools we have; the education we want to give to the next generation. What are the choices that we're going to make," Floyd says.
But regardless of how much money school systems receive, Floyd says Maryland teachers will do the best they can with what they have, but it won't be easy. "There's no way you can keep up the kind of progress that you've made when these things happen," she says.
Following the recall election in Wisconsin, there have been issues raised about public sector unions, including teachers. But Floyd says that's not the relationship MSEA has with the state. "We've respected each other, even though we might have some disagreements at times," she says. "I just don't see Maryland getting to the point where what happened in Wisconsin will happen in Maryland."
In that election, public sector unions were involved in a campaign to remove Governor Scott Walker (R) who limited their collective bargaining rights.
But what about local government officials criticizing teacher unions? How do they respond? "If that happens, if that's going on in one of our counties, we have to show parents and show the community what will happen if funding is not there," replies Floyd.