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Governor Larry Hogan Condemns Bill Trapping Kids in Failing Schools

Legislation Jeopardizes $250 Million Per Year in Federal Funding, Weakens Accountability Standards, and Protects Failing Schools

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today reaffirmed his commitment to veto legislation, misleadingly dubbed the “Protect Our Schools Act,” passed by the Maryland General Assembly that would weaken accountability standards used to determine school performance, prevent the state from intervening in failing schools for years, and severely limit the state’s options for fixing failing schools.

The legislation – according to the legislature’s own fiscal analysts – jeopardizes $248.6 million each year in federal Title 1 funding if the low accountability standards mandated in the bill put Maryland out of compliance with federal standards. Baltimore City schools stand to lose $51 million per year in Title 1 funding, at a time when the legislature and city leadership are requesting additional state funding for schools.

“Members of the legislature just voted to trap thousands of our kids in failing schools and jeopardize over a billion dollars in education funding over the next five years – all to protect the teachers unions and preserve the unacceptable status quo. It’s an utter disgrace and one of the most irresponsible moves our legislature has ever made,” said Governor Hogan. “Just one day after we worked with the legislature to provide over $23 million in funding to Baltimore City schools, their own legislators just voted to potentially cost them $51 million this year alone and $250 million over five years – how can they justify that to their constituents?

“But the cost to our children is even greater than these potentially lost funds. This is designed to hide the failures of school leaders and administrators who have been operating these schools for years at the expense of the very children they claim to be serving. Every child in Maryland deserves a great education, regardless of which neighborhood they happen to grow up in, but this legislation would make that nearly impossible. Our children should never be treated as a political football by the legislature – it’s a moral outrage and they should be ashamed of themselves,” continued Governor Hogan.

The legislation is an attempt by the teachers unions to preempt the state’s plan to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a landmark, bipartisan initiative passed by the Obama Administration in 2015 that requires states to develop new accountability measures and strategies to fix failing schools. For more than a year, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has been holding dozens of meetings and listening sessions across the state to get community-level feedback as they work to develop Maryland’s ESSA plan, and the governor has submitted recommendations to MSDE for consideration. This legislation, which was unanimously opposed by the State Board of Education, would directly interfere with MSDE’s ability to craft a plan based on the input of education experts, teachers, students, and parents.

 

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