April 3, 2019

Senate Passes Transformational Kirwan Blueprint Legislation

In a 43-1 vote, Senators voted Wednesday afternoon to pass Senate Bill 1030 dubbed the Education Blue Print for Maryland’s Future. The legislation lays out a historic commitment to Maryland educational outcomes and is a direct result of the recommendations made by the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (also known as the Kirwan Commission) chaired by University of Maryland Chancellor Emeritus Dr. William ‘Brit’ Kirwan.

The bill distributes $255 million in fiscal year 2020 consistent with the funding priorities identified by the Kirwan Commission. Of that $255 million, highlights include $75 million allocated toward teacher salary incentive grants, $65.5 million toward special education grants, $54.6 million toward grants for schools with high levels of poverty, $31.7 million toward full-day pre-kindergarten for each local school system, and $23 million for transitional supplemental instruction grants.

The bill signals a sustained and coordinated effort in five main policy areas as recommended by the Kirwan Commission. These areas include:

· Early support and interventions for young children and their families, including full–day prekindergarten that is free for low–income 3– and 4–year olds and expanding services and supports for 0–2 year–olds and their families;

· High quality and diverse teachers and school leaders, including elevating the teaching profession comparable to other fields with the same education and with comparable compensation, establishing a career ladder so that excellent teachers remain in the classroom, and increasing the rigor of teacher preparation programs and State certification standards;

· A college and career readiness (CCR) standard set at the level required to virtually guarantee success in the first year of a community college program, with Maryland schools focused on getting most students to CCR by the end of 10th grade, and nearly all by the end of high school; providing supports for students who are not on track for CCR; and providing post–CCR pathways for students who achieve CCR, including early college programs that allow a student to earn an associate’s degree at no cost while in high school and Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathways that lead to an industry–recognized credential;

· Additional resources, supports, and services for students who need them to achieve the CCR standard, including English learners, students with disabilities, and students from low–income families, with particular attention on students in schools with high concentrations of poverty; and

· A strong accountability system with the authority to hold all entities accountable for implementing The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future effectively to ensure that all students are successful.

Having now passed its originating body, Senate Bill 1030 moves to the House of Delegates for consideration. All legislation must successfully pass both the Senate and the House of Delegates before midnight on April 9th to be sent to Governor Hogan for his approval or veto.