Hogan’s Educational Priorities
Public education is a top concern for Maryland voters yet Larry Hogan’s education agenda threatens to weaken public schools and shift public money to untested charter schools and private education.
Governor Hogan is pushing hard for charter schools but gives no details on how those schools would be monitored for quality and effective use of public money. The performance of charter schools varies widely with for-profit and new charter schools faring worse than non-profit, established schools. While some charter schools report improved achievement, there is widespread concern that lack of oversight can lead to schools who push out poor performing students to improve the schools’ scores. The NAACP has called for restricting or banning for-profit charter schools because of concerns that they serve only a limited population while taking resources away from neighborhood public schools.
Hogan frequently argues that vouchers help students escape low performing schools in favor of private schools, yet the vouchers largely go to students already enrolled in private school. Of the nearly 2,500 students awarded public money for private schools in Maryland last year, nearly 2000 were already enrolled in private school.
The data shows that public money spent on private schools has not improved student achievement. On April 23, 2017 the Washington Post reported that “students in the nation’s only federally funded school voucher initiative performed worse on standardized tests” compared to students who were not part of the voucher program.
We need leadership that fights for quality public schools.
In March, 2017, The Maryland General Assembly made efforts to prevent the siphoning off of public money to for-profit enterprises by passing the Protect Our School Act. According to Newsfeed, “it stops the state from using federal Title I funding dedicated to high-poverty schools for private school vouchers”. It also prevents public schools from being involuntarily converted to charter schools or being transferred to private operators. A large coalition of advocacy groups supported the bill which Governor Hogan vetoed.
Betty Weller, President of the Maryland State Board of Education said that “(Governor Hogan’s) narrow agenda of private school vouchers and for-profit charter schools is not supported by the vast majority of Maryland families who are relying on public schools in their neighborhood”. Maryland lawmakers overrode the Governor’s veto and the Protect Our School Act became law in July, 2017.
Maryland has some of the best public schools in the country. We need leadership who will fight back against state and federal efforts to weaken and privatize the public school system. Taking public money and funneling it to for-profit charter and private schools threatens the quality of the neighborhood schools that Marylanders depend on. We need a governor who supports free, high quality education for all Maryland children.