Education for All Marylanders

Children need a good education from Pre-K through 12th grade to be successful in today’s globalized marketplace. They also need opportunities for post-secondary education –whether at a two-year community college, a trade school, or a 4-year college or university. I am committed to enhancing educational opportunities for all children in Maryland.

Funding for Public Education

I support full funding for public education and have worked with other Baltimore County legislators to ensure that our local schools receive the funding needed to ensure a quality education for every child in Baltimore County. An important component to ensuring that Baltimore County receives necessary funding is making sure that funding formulas and education policies are meeting the needs of students and are held to standards that make Maryland education competitive globally.     

A crucial aspect in making sure Maryland schools are competitive and providing the best possible education to our children is through the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission. The Kirwan Commission was created in 2016 with the charge to make policy recommendations that would make Maryland’s Pre-K – 12 educational system one of the best performing systems in the nation. The Commission is composed of educators, policy analysts, legislators, and other key partners who were tasked to review and recommend new funding formulas and polices to better our current education system.

I fully support the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations to improve education through recommendations such as expanding full-day pre-school, raising the status and standards of teaching, increasing teacher salaries, developing a curriculum based on “college and career readiness,” and other key aspects to make Maryland education a 21st century model system.

Upgrading Our Aging Public Schools

I am working with others to address the conditions of Baltimore County’s aging public school buildings – which include several in District 11: Pikesville High School (recently renovated) and Dulaney High School (which is now scheduled to be newly rebuilt). I have visited many area schools and have seen the effects of burst pipes and poor maintenance and repairs; and I’ve heard from many parents about the problems caused by a lack of air conditioning in June and September and sometimes even poor heat in winter.

Legislation to Promote Higher Education

HB 548 – Career and Technology Education – Training in Soft Business Skills

2020 Legislation

“Soft Business skills” are critical career skills that are essential to everyone’s success, regardless of career path;  Other states have adopted similar requirements in recent years and others have special recognition for courses teaching these skills.

This bill requires career and technology programs in public schools to integrate into the academic curriculum training and exposure in “soft business skills”; such as employee and employer relationships, business etiquette, group work skills, and appropriate professional communication skills.

Although the bill didn’t pass, the language was incorporated into the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, so in effect became law.

HB 976: Community Colleges – Vocational Certificates, Apprenticeship Training Programs, and Associate’s Degrees – Tuition Assistance (HB 976)

This piece of legislation aims to increase the skills of our labor force by making community college more accessible. Maryland needs a skilled labor force.  In particular, middle skill jobs make up the largest part of the labor force in the U.S.  By 2020, two-thirds of all jobs in the economy will require post secondary education and training beyond high school.  (Citation:  Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce.) The goal is to support students who are serious about getting their degree or certification and entering the work force. This bill did not receive a vote by the House Ways and Means Committee.

Public Institutions of Higher Education – Financial Aid – Reduction Prohibited (HB 266)

I am very proud that this bill finally passed in 2017. It restricts public institutions of higher education from engaging in the negative practice of award displacement. Award displacement occurs when a student’s receipt of a private scholarship (including state legislative scholarships, like mine) leads to the reduction of the aid package originally offered by the higher education institution.

Unfortunately, many students are affected by this practice every year. Award displacement is a misuse of private donor funds and a practice that could discourage future donor support to private groups that try to help young people afford college.

This law  ensures that students with unmet financial need will not have their institutional aid packages reduced after receiving private scholarships.

Higher Education- Institutions of Postsecondary Education-Consumer Protection Provisions (2016) (HB 741)

This law protects students from misleading practices used by some for-profit higher education institutions in Maryland. For-profit colleges are now required to prominently post a net price calculator on their websites, so students considering applying know exactly what their costs will be. A guaranty fund was also created through this legislation to help reimburse students when a for-profit school suddenly closes. This law is an important step in ensuring that no student is deceived into taking on large amounts of debt to pay for education of questionable quality.

Legislation on K-12 Education

Teachers and Teacher Preparation Programs – Evidence-Based Reading Instruction (HB 493)

This bill responds to the need to improve the reading instruction skills of teaching candidates by requiring teacher candidates to pass a test of evidence-based reading instruction. The Maryland State Department of Education has already approved this test but does not require it for certification. Fifteen other states require this test for certification. This bill did not receive a vote by the House Ways and Means Committee. As a result of the bill, during the Summer of 2018, the Maryland State Board of Education voted unanimously to require a Foundation of Reading test for teachers.

Financial Education

Since 2012, when it was established, I have been co-chair of the Financial Education and Capability Commission, which is focused on helping students afford a college education and enhancing financial literacy in Maryland.   Since its creation, the commission has made a number of recommendations to the legislature that would increase the use of 529 savings accounts by Maryland families; increase support for programs and tools that would help Maryland high school students afford and complete college; improve Maryland’s college financial aid system; and expand student access to college advising while in high school.

Another piece of legislation that I’m very proud of helps students when they are applying to college by requiring public institutions of higher education to provide all first-time, full-time undergraduate freshmen with information on the cost of higher education at the institution. HB 18 (2014) now requires public institutions of higher education to either mail or provide electronically to all college-bound students information from the Financial Aid Shopping SheetThis sheet was created by the U.S. Department of Education to help college-bound students fully understand the costs they would be incurring at all the schools they are considering.