To the editor:

I am a Montgomery County resident and taxpayer, a parent of three children who attend Montgomery County Public Schools, an MCPS teacher, and a proud member of the Montgomery County Education Association. My daughters’ teachers and my colleagues are among the smartest, most generous, hard-working, caring, and creative people I know, and it breaks my heart to read and hear insulting, uninformed comments about the Apple Ballot that must come from people who don’t know many teachers personally, have not spent significant time in public school classrooms, or whose antiquated, inaccurate notion of what a teachers’ union is contributes to the continued erosion of social trust that any functioning society needs in order to survive.

The Apple Ballot process involves an incredible amount of uncompensated time spent by real people, including teachers like me, who ultimately reach consensus on the candidates through a rigorous interview process that is, obviously, not well known or understood by those outside it. Everything I do is in service of my kids– both my biological children and those I teach. The same is true of my daughters’ teachers and my friends and colleagues in MCEA. Union members, including the Board of Directors of MCEA, are teachers. Who better than teachers to come together and make a collective, democratic decision about which candidates will best serve the needs of the students of Montgomery County?

I urge people to avoid falling into the trite, pernicious narrative of the greedy, lazy teacher and the “mob boss” stereotype of union leadership; it could not be farther from the truth. Teachers in MCPS are out there doing their best every day, not for the money or any particular perks, but because we believe in the limitless potential of a society that teaches its children well. Members of the public should educate themselves on individual candidates before voting on them, of course! But anyone who wants to know who teachers think will do best by the students and, ultimately, all the residents of this county, should check the Apple Ballot.

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