Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Do As I Say


Now, here’s a tweet that will make you think:

The Governor has chosen not to provide a face-to-face State of the State address to members of the the General Assembly.  Instead, it will be presented virtually.  

Maryland Gov. Hogan to deliver State of the State speech Wednesday evening by video due to coronavirus precautions Pamela Wood, Baltimore Sun

 “While we honor the historic and constitutional significance of this annual tradition, it is important we follow the proper health protocols,” Hogan said in a statement Monday.

Well, well, well.

And what about proper health protocols for teachers and school staff, Governor Hogan?

Hogan and many of the members of the General Assembly have already received the coronavirus vaccine, having been given a prioritized status. This year’s legislative schedule has been carefully modified to protect members from undue exposure, and their workplace has also been modified according to recommended health care guidelines for the occasions where members must be physically present. 

And that’s all as it should be. 

But to sit atop all that extra medical care and workplace protection and say it is perfectly fine to require face-to-face instruction in Maryland’s schools - - while you yourself won’t even give one ceremonial speech in person - -  is hypocrisy of the highest order. Hogan yet again shows us who’s important and who isn’t. He surrounds himself with circles of protection while refusing to provide even a sliver of that for Maryland schools.

I don’t begrudge the Governor or the legislators their health protections or workplace accommodations. But I do expect that members of our Maryland school communities be given the very same standard of care if teachers, staff, and students are required to be physically present during a pandemic which is still very much alive and spreading. The General Assembly’s time would be much better spent hearing this kind of a speech instead:

Maryland teachers don’t need platitudes or press conferences, they need a real reopening plan 

This piece, written by MSEA President Cheryl Bost, and signed by Willie Flowers, president of the NAACP Maryland State Conference, John King, former U.S. Secretary of Education and founder of Strong Future Maryland, and Gustavo Torres, executive director of Casa de Maryland, appeared as commentary in the Baltimore Sun. It contains the kind of specific and useful content that has been consistently lacking in pronouncements from Governor Hogan and State Superintendent Salmon. 

In conclusion, Ms. Bost asserts:

We must take the reasonable, responsible and evenhanded steps that our students, educators and families need us to in order to safely and sustainably return to school buildings across the state.

There’s nothing even-handed about switching the State of the State to virtual to “follow proper health protocols” while ignoring those very same health protocols for teachers.

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