Better Education – Restore Maryland’s #1 Rating
Put Maryland Schools Back on Top
Until a few years ago, Maryland’s school system was ranked #1 in the nation. To get back on top, we need to commit to supporting not only a rigorous curriculum, but expand learning opportunities when our kids are not in school including summer programs and exciting activities outside the classroom. Year-round opportunities for kids also help families facing dire financial hardships during the prolonged summer break and provide peace of mind for parents knowing their children are in a safe learning environment.
Education Funding is a Priority
As a parent and a college instructor, I support full funding of our public education system. Governor Hogan’s first budget proposed a $275 million cut to schools. Last year he wanted to cut $30 million from after school and college preparation programs. Maryland currently has the highest median income in the nation, but ranks 16th in school spending when adjusted for regional cost differences. Education is a winning investment in our future because employers and entrepreneurs need a workforce ready to tackle the challenges ahead. Let’s put our students first in line for those jobs by restoring our #1 ranking in education.
Local Control of School Schedules
Control of the academic calendar should also be returned to local school boards. I will sponsor legislation to reverse the Governor’s executive order mandating that the school year start after Labor Day and end by June 15. Research has shown that students retain knowledge better when school breaks are shorter. Long summers also put a strain on parents who struggle to afford child care. Instead of long summers, these families need more early childhood education opportunities to provides a safe place for kids to learn and play while parents work to support their families. Local school boards, not a mandate from the governor, should determine a school calendar that is in the best interest of kids and the community.
Improving Low Performing Schools
I support the Protect our Schools Act as Governor Hogan continues to undermine efforts to identify and improve low performing schools. The Governor has refused to support the plan sent to the U.S. Department of Education for approval and may be signaling Betsy DeVos that he would not mind if they reject the law passed by a supermajority in the Maryland General Assembly. If the Department of Education declines this plan, we already know that Governor Hogan marches in lockstep with Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos in their attempt to privatize education.
Education for Job Training
For Maryland to be competitive in the 21st century economy, we need a workforce that is ready for the challenges facing the state, country and world we live in. A high school education alone is not enough. We must make higher education affordable for our students. Several states offer free tuition at community college and one of our regional competitors, New York, is the first state to offer free in-state tuition at state colleges. If young Marylanders are going to succeed in this economy, they should not be discouraged from seeking the education they need because the high cost of higher education or the fear of being buried under mountains of student debt. For the future generations charged with solving the problems of increasing poverty, sustaining an increasing population, and global climate change, better education cannot stop with a high school diploma. I’m confident that our next generation will make the world a better place if we can give them the tools to succeed.