A major topic of the legislative session is the Blueprint for Maryland's Future, also known as "Kirwan" or the Commission on Innovation & Excellence in Education. The legislation is the culmination of years of work by a blue ribbon panel studying how Maryland funds education and what we are paying for. Much of the focus has been on the total cost, how to allocate funds, and how to obtain the revenue necessary, but I also want to talk a bit about what the money will be used for.
The Blueprint for Maryland's Future focuses on five policy areas. Here are the highlights:
- Early Childhood
- Expand full day pre-k to low-income 3 and 4 year olds.
- High Quality & Diverse Teachers
- Increase teacher preparation and raise pay.
- College & Career Readiness
- Improve the pre-k through 12 curriculum so students are college and career ready by 10th grade.
- Use 11th and 12th grade to focus on college credit; dual enrollment; and career & technical education certifications.
- Transitional Supplemental Instruction for third graders who are not proficient in reading.
- Resources for Students Who Need Them
- New funding for students in a school with a concentration of poverty.
- Increased wrap-around services for impoverished schools.
- Increased per pupil funding for students with special needs; students in poverty; and English language learners.
- Building on the new Inspector General for schools, establish an implementation oversight board to ensure the funds are having the desired impact.
As soon as the legislation to implement the Blueprint is released, I will share it. For now, those interested can read the Commission's January 2019 interim report here.
As always, you can keep up with what I am doing by following me at @mkorman on Twitter or by clicking "Like" on Delegate Marc Korman on Facebook.
Late last year, the Maryland State Highway Administration released a new draft document to help it address the simple reality that not all state roads can be treated the same. Context Driven -- Access and Mobility for All Users, addresses how roads through different land use types can be treated. I recently wrote the State Highway Administration with some questions and thoughts on the document.
Since my last newsletter, I have filed two new pieces of legislation. The Electric Bus Transition Act (HB 432) commences the process of moving the Maryland Transit Administration's 800 bus fleet to all-electric over time. The Maryland State Agency Transparency Act (HB 421) requires several state boards and agencies to video stream their meetings and post their minutes and agendas online in a timely fashion. The bill includes the Public Service Commission (state regulator of utilities); Maryland Transportation Authority (state setter of toll rates); the Maryland Stadium Authority (a state construction agency); and others.
I am excited that the Maryland General Assembly now has a bipartisan and bicameral Transit Caucus.
The Transit Caucus' 2020 priority legislation include:
- The Transit Safety & Investment Act, to require state of good repair capital funding for the Maryland Transit Administration.
- The Public Private Partnership (P3) Oversight Reform Act, which would revise the P3 statute to improve oversight and accountability.
- Pedestrian Safety Act, legislation to increase penalties for traffic infractions and target the funding for pedestrian safety.
- Electric Bus Transition Act, my bill described above.
- Southern Maryland Rapid Transit Project Act, to advance the Southern Maryland light rail project.
- The Western Maryland Transit Study Act, to study commuter rail to Hagerstown and western Maryland.
Woodward High School on Old Georgetown Road will be undergoing a multi-year reconstruction to serve as a holding school and then a new permanent high school. You can read the presentation about the project here.
Congratulations to Sharon Bland for her appointment to the Montgomery County Committee Against Hate & Violence. And congratulations to Wendy Pulliam on becoming an emeritus member of the Commission on Juvenile Justice.
- The Bethesda-Chevy Chase Democratic Breakfast Club will next meet on Monday, February 3rd at 7:30am to hear from Montgomery County Councilmember Andrew Friedson. The meetings are held at the Original Pancake House in downtown Bethesda.
- The Bethesda Urban Partnership's Play In A Day event will be on Saturday, February 22 at 8pm at Imagination Stage. More information is here: https://www.bethesda.org/arts/Play-In-A-Day/play-in-a-day.htm
- The Walter Johnson High School Used Book Sale will be on Saturday, February 29 and Sunday, March 1st, starting at 9am both days.
- The BCC High School Used Book Sale will take place on Saturday, March 7th and Sunday, March 8th starting at 10am both days. More information is here: https://www.bccptsa.net/used-book-sale
- The Bethesda Urban Partnership Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards will take place on Friday, March 13, 2020 at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club. More information is available here: https://www.bethesda.org/arts-and-entertainment/bernard-ebb-songwriting-awards
If you know of a District 16 resident who merits recognition or condolences or an upcoming event, please email email@example.com.