Maryland teacher’s union president to step down after six years in job

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Whether it’s been an educational challenge, praise for student achievement or even questionable state legislation, Cheryl Bost has usually had a few words to say about it.

But Bost, an elementary school educator for 35 years who has served since August 2018 as president of the Maryland State Education Association, won’t be heard from so much come this August. That’s because she will retire from the education profession after July 31.

“I love teaching. I love my union work. I love being an advocate and speaking up for all the students and educators. It’s been fun,” Bost said in an interview Tuesday.

But stepping back doesn’t mean stepping away: On Tuesday morning, Bost could be seen in  a video with Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D), endorsing Alsobrooks in her race for U.S. Senate against former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in November.

In an interview later in the day, Bost recalled that Hogan called the teacher’s union “thugs” during his time as governor, when he vetoed the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future legislation in 2020. The legislature overrode the veto the following year.

“Larry Hogan, as governor, never worked with educators. He never met with the union. He vetoed the Blueprint,” Bost said. “If it was about public education, Larry Hogan was opposed to it in all shapes and forms.”

Her comments hours after a state Board of Education meeting in downtown Baltimore, where Bost has been advocating for teachers at least once a month. The topic Tuesday was an update on college and career readiness (CCR) standards, one of the priorities in the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education reform plan.

Although Bost said she supports the state’s college and career readiness goals, she noted that some of them were set prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She summarized how proposed additional CCR resources, such as smaller class sizes, school counselors meeting with families and having an “all hands-on deck is great. It is not reality.”

In terms of school counselors, Bost said that while the American School Counselor Association says Maryland public schools have an average of 319 students for every one counselor, “I can tell you in some of the high schools with 2,000 students, that’s closer to 500 or 600 students per counselor,” she said. “So, those things are still impacting implementation.”

Before Bost finished her testimony at Tuesday’s board meeting, she introduced Paul Lemle and Nikki Woodward, who will begin their tenures Aug. 1 with the state teacher’s union as president and vice president, respectively.

Lemle is a national board-certified teacher who teaches social studies at Reservoir High School in Howard County. Woodward is a 25-year educator in Montgomery County who is the teacher’s union’s vice president in that jurisdiction.

As for Bost, she plans to take a vacation out of state and just relax.

“I’m taking a couple of months to do nothing and see what the next adventure might bring,” she said.

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