As an early career educator in Charles County Public Schools, I know how important it is to pass the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future and create strong public schools in our neighborhoods. It is of the utmost importance that we recruit and retain educators who will continue to make a difference in students’ lives. The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future increases teacher pay, making the profession more sustainable, desirable and experienced. Educators who dream of making a difference in the lives of students can dedicate the necessary time to the profession without having to work second or third jobs to make ends meet.

Forty-seven percent of new teachers leave the profession by their third year and that is negatively impacting students. This creates a consistently young/new workforce rather than a growing, seasoned and experienced workforce. Enrollment in teacher preparation programs is plummeting, drying up the pipeline of new teachers and contributing to an annual teacher shortage in every school system in the state.

I am tired of watching my talented, qualified and passionate colleagues leave the profession because they are forced to choose between eating and making their student loan payments. Students in our community are missing out on great educators who want to help students reach their full potential through innovative ideas because educators are underpaid. It is time to pay educators what they deserve by passing the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. Reach out to your legislators and encourage them to pass the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future in the 2020 legislative session.

Chelsey Short, Waldorf