Centering health and equity, Prince George’s County educators launch fight for the schools students deserve
The nearly 10,000-member union is launching ‘From Pandemic to Promise: Re-Imagining Our Schools’ to prioritize equity in new contracts with district
FORESTVILLE, MD- On the heels of a massive rally protesting the understaffing of schools, Prince George’s County Education Association (PGCEA) announced the launch of ‘From Pandemic to Promise: Re-Imagining Our Schools’. The campaign aims to negotiate with Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) to achieve shared priorities for the future, including safe and equitable instruction, a reduction in crushing educator workloads, and increased staffing and planning time.
PGCEA educators will work over the next several months to ensure that their new contract with PGCPS includes several provisions vital to maintaining the quality of education of more than 136,500 students.
Dr. Donna Christy, president of PGCEA, said, “Among our top priorities are health, safety, and equity for our schools and communities. Educators saw all too clearly how the pandemic brought these issues to the forefront. We want to work together to put solutions to these problems on paper in a way that drives systemic change and holds the district accountable to ensure every child in our county receives a high-quality public education.”
The union will advance a platform built around emphasizing racial and social equity, reducing class sizes, decreasing reliance on impersonal standardized testing models, and generally reversing a decades-long trend of disinvestment in public education.
PGCEA will also emphasize transparency in the allocation of American Rescue Plan and Blueprint for Maryland’s Future funds so that the public has a voice in the process and resources are distributed fairly based on student needs. This historic, once in a generation funding must be used to build the bridge from pandemic to promise. The union will ask the district and County decision makers to join them in reimagining education, to do more together than just addressing gaps or rebuilding our schools for the future of our nation: our students.
Other important themes include the emphasis on following the latest science for in-person learning, building public engagement through the community school model and listening to parent voices in curriculum decisions, reinforcing retirement assurances for members, improving special education options, and increasing teacher recruitment and retention to ensure that the district can attract and keep the best talent possible.
Prince George’s County Educators’ Association (PGCEA) is an advocacy organization that actively represents classroom educators and other instructional personnel to negotiate over wages, terms and conditions of employment. PGCEA supports quality schools through its bargaining efforts to retain and attract teachers of excellence and promote opportunities for ALL students to learn.