With our national public education system at a crossroads, it has been mine and my colleagues’ foremost concern to protect our public schools from privatization.
This past session, I joined others in the General Assembly and voted to pass and then override Governor Hogan’s veto of the Protect Our Schools Act. This legislation ensures that a school’s success is not measured by test scores alone, but instead also considers “opportunity” indicators like class sizes, access to arts education, attendance rates, and overall school climate. This legislation will also prevent the state from privatizing low-performing public schools by forcing them to convert to a charter school or issuing private school vouchers over the objections of the local community.
In Maryland, we have some of the best public charter schools in the nation, and this law will protect these local operators and let them remain a part of the range of options offered by local school systems, without threat of corporate takeover. But charter schools are not always the best option for local districts. Community schools have also proven to be an extremely effective strategy in low-performing districts – and have shown tremendous signs of success in Baltimore and across the country. I was honored to be one of the co-sponsors on this bill and to speak up for its passage.
Moving forward, my colleagues and I are continuing to champion the effort to institute stronger community schools in Maryland.