The Baltimore Movement of Rank-and-File Educators (BMORE) is a diverse group of educators committed to advancing quality public schools and the labor movement. We are a caucus of the Baltimore Teachers Union, working to transform the BTU from a service union to a social justice union. Educators should be proactively leading the efforts to advocate for, protect, and improve our profession and the communities where our students live. Public education serves the common good, and labor unions do the important work of protecting it from exploitation and privatization. We understand that public education is a tool for liberation and essential to a functioning democracy. We will work to counteract Baltimore’s history of structural racism by intentionally promoting the voices and leadership of educators of color within our group. We intend to amplify the power of the people through relationship building and providing educators the tools to organize their schools and communities.
1. We stand for a union that organizes teachers, responds to their concerns, practices democracy, and uses activism to fight for social justice.
2. We respect meaningful teaching and learning. Teachers and students alike deserve opportunities to grow and equitable assessments of our performance.
3. We owe our students rich, holistic educational experiences that support them as individuals with unique backgrounds and talents. We know that these experiences are impossible without a better resourced environment. We know that a strong contract allows teachers to fully invest themselves in their work.
4. We work to amplify the power of teachers, parents and students in the decision making process at the school, district and state level.
5. We will work to counteract Baltimore’s history of disenfranchising people of color by intentionally promoting the voices and leadership of black and brown teachers within our group.
6. We will advocate for policies that address the social and economic challenges of our neighborhoods and city.
BMORE and Race
BMORE is being intentionally created as a space to empower and further leadership by educators of color.
- When power is centered around people of color in a group, it creates a comfortable space for other people of color to show up, assert their voices, and feel affirmed.
- White people, even ones with progressive politics and racial awareness, have an unintentional tendency to dominate group dynamics.
- Teachers and students of color frequently see each other as mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, siblings and cousins. While family is not the only route to deep and caring relationships with black and brown communities, educators of color enter the classroom with this mindset.
- The Baltimore Teachers Union is a powerful institution in the city controlled by people of color. We want to keep it that way.
Norms and Expectations - BMORE will:
- Support members’ activism and help them organize to promote social justice education pedagogy and policy.
- Regularly engage in critical self-reflection, and conversations that push us outside of our comfort zones.
- Recognize our own race, class, gender, and educational privilege and use it to elevate the voices of group members and leaders who lack privilege.
- Focus on listening and asking questions more than sharing our own thoughts.
- Build deep relationships based in love and mutual respect with people of different backgrounds and characteristics.
- Step outside of our school buildings and engage with the communities where we work.
- Share the labor intensive work of organizing across our membership.
- Grow our own leadership based on members’ work for the group and community.
These norms and expectations are going to guide our behavior, and decision making at the Baltimore Movement of Rank-and-File Educators (BMORE).