Staff + students are about to be pushed back into unsafe conditions and human lives will be jeopardized. #StillNotSafe
Despite an abundance of evidence that the District’s reopening plan is unsafe and irresponsible, and that the vast majority of parents do not want to return their children to in-person instruction at this time, BCPSS continues to plunge forward with its decision to force thousands of teachers and PSRPs back into unsafe classrooms without adequate protection while at the same time taking away some of the leave options that our members desperately need. Now is the time to send a loud and clear message that we will not accept this reckless course of action and we will never stop fighting for the safety and rights of our members, our students, and the communities to which we belong!
To respond to the District’s failure to keep staff and students safe, and to send a strong message to Baltimore City Council and Mayor Scott, we are calling for all BTU members as well as parents, students, other BCPSS employees, and anyone else who supports safe schools to join us for a massive car caravan rally on Wednesday, February 3rd, from City Hall to District Headquarters at North Avenue. We will engulf the halls of power with our deafening cry for safety, equity, and a fair and reasonable reopening policy. We demand to be safe, not silent!
Please RSVP here for the event so you can be kept informed of any changes or updates to the plan. This action is open to everyone, not just BTU members, so please share with as many people as you can.
1) All staff have the opportunity to be fully vaccinated prior to returning to in-person learning
2) Ventilation upgrade work is completed before any students or staff are brought back into their facility
3) Minimum public health metrics must be met for at least a week (positivity rate and case rate) before expanding in person programming
4) A robust and proactive testing program for staff and students, both symptomatic and asymptomatic, before expanding in person programming.
Plans for Participants
Please read these guidelines so that we operate as a single body with a single purpose. We will drive by City Hall, honking our horns with a purpose, calling on the City to provide greater support to keep students and educators safe. We will then caravan to North Avenue, where we will continue to show our solidarity and convene in a parking lot prior to dispersing.
- Take direction from our bike marshals in safety vests.
- Follow the route of the lead vehicle.
- Drive with your hazard lights on so that all vehicles can keep sight of the route ahead, keeping 10 feet between cars.
- Follow traffic rules, including red lights and stops signs along the route unless otherwise directed.
- If you get separated from the caravan, follow the route according to the map.
Contact the BCPSS School Board
Virtually all Baltimore City educators have been frustrated with some feature of how City Schools has handled the COVID-19 crisis. The BTU strongly encourages all members to contact the Baltimore City School Board commissioners to share your perspectives, concerns, and experiences. The Board won’t know the issues educators are worried about unless you tell them.
Tell them about your concerns and priorities regarding SLOs, Assessments, Special Education, ESOL, the lack of equitable access to technology for our students and teachers, and any other area that has generated questions with no good answers.
You can also cc or bcc any BTU Field Rep or Zach Taylor at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. The BTU recommends that you contact all Board commissioners in your emails.
Linda M. Chinnia, Board Chair
Johnette Richardson, Board Vice Chair
Michelle Harris Bondima, Commissioner
Durryle Brooks, Commissioner
Andrew “Andy” Frank, Commissioner
Martha James-Hassan, Commissioner
Ronald S. McFadden, Commissioner
Vernon A. Reid, Jr., Commissioner
Shantell L. Roberts, Commissioner
Kyree Sykes, Student Commissioner
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. CLICK AN EMAIL ADDRESS BELOW TO AUTOMATICALLY GENERATE AN EMAIL WINDOW TO THE BOARD MEMBER OF YOUR CHOICE. 2. SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS 3. CLICK SEND! THANK YOU!
JOIN OUR CAMPAIGN TO TRANSFORM THE CITY SCHOOLS BOARD
The Baltimore Teachers Union is working in coalition with a variety of individuals and groups to pass legislation that would transform Baltimore City’s school board into a hybrid model that is accountable to the people of the city and puts us in line with the rest of the state.
Did you know that?
● Baltimore City is currently the only jurisdiction in Maryland whose entire School Board of Commissioners is appointed/unelected. In 2022, the board will expand from 10 to 12 seats, with the two additional seats being elected rather than appointed. Of the 23 other Maryland County School Boards, 19 are fully elected, and 4 are an appointed / elected hybrid, with only Wicomico County having more appointed than elected positions. We believe this glaring difference is a vestige of white supremacy that says self-governance and democratic structures that empower citizens to choose their own representatives is a right that black Baltimore can’t be trusted with.
● Mayor-Elect Brandon Scott supports expanding the amount of elected seats on our school board and has shared his belief in a hybrid board with a supermajority of the seats being elected.
● In order to avoid only the rich, powerful, and already politically connected a shot at running a successful campaign we will ensure that school board seat campaigns are eligible for public financing.
● Baltimore City is one of two jurisdictions in Maryland where board members are not paid for their work (see graphic breakdown on page 2). Other districts pay their school board members anywhere from 1k-25k a year. Although Harford County is unpaid, members may receive up to $3,600 for related expenses. We believe that commissioners should be paid for their important work, otherwise these positions will only be accessible to the professional class who can afford to work 20+ hours a month for free.
● Many leaders in positions of power tout their respect for the intellect and ability of our students yet we don’t trust our student commissioner with full voting rights to weigh in on the issues in which they will be most directly impacted. The student commissioner’s voting rights are explained here. We believe that the student’s voting rights should be expanded to include at a minimum the ability to vote on personnel, capital and operating budgets, school closings, reopenings, and boundaries, and to participate in executive/closed sessions and special meetings of the board. These changes are not radical and will simply bring Baltimore City in line with the rest of the state, whileensuring a structure where public officials in positions of power are accountable to the people they serve.
TO GET INVOLVED AND TO USE YOUR VOICE AND ABILITIES TO CREATE CHANGE: Please take 60 seconds to fill out this form yourself (if you haven’t already) in order to stay up to date with the campaign and ask friends / colleagues to do the same! https://forms.gle/kZgSYYpqMTkfS1Hf8
When you share this information with your friends, colleagues and across social media platforms, help us by using the hashtags #ElectedBmoreBoard and #OurSchoolsOurBoard in all your posts to spread the word!