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In 2016, the Maryland General Assembly created the Kirwan Commission to provide recommendations on how to make our schools strong. After hearing from experts and gathering best practices, they presented proven measures that would make our schools strong, like expanding career technical education, hiring more educators and raising their pay, providing additional support to struggling learners, and increasing special education and mental health funding. Now their recommendations are with the General Assembly and governor — and starting on January 8, 2020 there’s a 90-day window for legislators to vote on how to make this transformational change for our students a reality.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to give our schools the funding they deserve. Here’s what these reforms would mean for Maryland schools:

  • Maryland teachers make 84 cents on the dollar compared to peers in similar fields with similar levels of education. Right now, half of educators work a second job to make ends meet. Increasing funding for our schools would provide Maryland educators with a much needed pay raise so they can focus on their students, not how to make ends meet for their own families.
  • An astonishing 47% of new teachers leave the profession by their third year. Enrollment in higher education teaching programs is plummeting, drying up the pipeline of new teachers and contributing to an annual teacher shortage in every school system in the state. When we do a better job of supporting educators, we can make sure that the best and brightest educators come to–and stay in–Maryland’s classrooms.
  • 94% of educators buy school supplies for their students out of their own pockets. Fully implementing the Blueprint would make sure that every school, in every zip code, would have the resources their classrooms need.
  • Career technical education (CTE) can play a key role in preparing students for the jobs of the future and in helping our economy—but far too few schools have modern CTE facilities and programs. That’s why the Blueprint prioritizes expanding CTE programs in high schools across Maryland. This expansion will help our communities recruit businesses and attract entrepreneurs as our economy adapts to technological advancement.
  • The number of students receiving special education services has increased drastically, and special educators are already severely overworked. And on top of that, our schools simply don’t have enough school counselors and psychologists, many of whom have caseloads two and three times industry recommendations. Increasing school funding will increase both special education and mental health resources for our students and help make sure that all students get the individual attention that they need and deserve
  • When the school funding formula was written, about one in five Maryland students came from backgrounds of poverty. Today it’s nearly half of students. The opportunity gap is growing — we need to create lasting educational equity and a fairer and more prosperous future for all of our students and communities. Fully implementing the Blueprint will ensure that every student, from every zip code, has the same resources and opportunities to succeed.
  • Today, Maryland’s school funding formula is inequitable–schools serving students in poverty receive 5% less funding than other schools. The Blueprint would increase equity, target additional funding in areas of concentrated poverty, and level the playing field so that every neighborhood has a great public school.

It’s time for a long-term, sustainable solution that makes all of our schools STRONG. But in order for this to happen, we need you to take action.

Coalition Members

  • Advocates for Children and Youth, Co-Chair
  • Strong Schools Maryland, Co-Chair
  • ACE-AFSCME Local 2250
  • AFT – Maryland
  • Arts Education in Maryland Schools
  • Arts Every Day
  • Attendance Works
  • Baltimore City Youth Commission
  • Baltimore DC Building Trades
  • Baltimore Teachers Union
  • Baltimoreans for Educational Equity
  • CASA de Maryland
  • Center for Supportive Schools
  • Decoding Dyslexia Maryland
  • Family League
  • Greater Baltimore Urban League
  • League of Women Voters
  • Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform
  • Maryland Alliance of Public Charter Schools
  • Maryland Association of Boards of Education
  • Maryland Center for Economic Policy
  • Maryland Education Coalition
  • Maryland Family Network
  • Maryland Out of School Time Network
  • Maryland Parent Teacher Association
  • Maryland School Psychologist Association
  • Maryland State Education Association
  • Mental Health Alliance of Maryland
  • Northeast Community Organization
  • Parent Teacher Council of Baltimore City
  • Parents Place of Maryland
  • SEIU 1199
  • SEIU Maryland & DC State Council
  • Special Education Citizens’ Advisory Committee
  • The Intersection