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Governor should stop playing politics with education | READER COMMENTARY

High school senior Kimberly Vasquez sits in front of her laptop in her Baltimore home. The 17-year-old senior struggles to access her online classroom because the family’s low-cost broadband plan, Comcast Internet Essentials, does not provide the bandwidth for her and her two sisters to stream teleconferencing applications at the same time. (Handout/Capital Gazette).
High school senior Kimberly Vasquez sits in front of her laptop in her Baltimore home. The 17-year-old senior struggles to access her online classroom because the family’s low-cost broadband plan, Comcast Internet Essentials, does not provide the bandwidth for her and her two sisters to stream teleconferencing applications at the same time. (Handout/Capital Gazette). (Courtesy photo)

Recently, Gov. Larry Hogan had the audacity to say that Maryland’s students have had no education for the last year (”Health departments and hospitals move quickly to offer Baltimore-area teachers access to COVID vaccine,” Jan. 26). I would like Governor Hogan to visit my English to speakers of other language (ESOL) classes where we have spent 90 classes, all 45 minutes long, practicing using past and future tense verbs to describe our activities, reading stories about tornadoes and sled dogs and frijoles, and making slide presentations about our favorite foods and music.

I would like him to visit my ESOL English literature class where we have read two novels. We have written in the voices of our characters to more deeply understand their motivations, their passions, their relationships. We have written summaries and arguments and compare and contrast paragraphs.

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I would like the governor to visit my office hours every afternoon where my immigrant students from Digital Harbor High School come to complete make-up work for my class, get extra help with chemistry or American government assignments, or just talk about last weekend’s soccer matches. I would like him to also visit my sixth-grade son’s room where he has not only learned pre-algebra, geography and health, but he has played “Greensleeves” on his cello in perfect unison with his school’s orchestra.

I would like you, Governor Hogan, to visit my son’s Thursday debate club. The topic is year round school and, honestly, the kids’ command of the issues surrounding education is much more nuanced and robust than your own.

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In forcing this precipitous reopen at this time in the pandemic, while invoking the learning loss of children, particularly the learning loss of poor, Black, and immigrant children in Baltimore, Governor Hogan is forcing districts like mine to adopt concurrent teaching models that will steeply disadvantage the most vulnerable learners while offering very little to those who choose to attend in person.

Governor Hogan must stop playing politics with our kids’ educations. There’s nowhere I’d rather be right now than in my classroom with my students. But it’s not safe until community spread is contained and people are vaccinated.

Kelly Klinefelter Lee, Columbia

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