Public schools are the most powerful tool we have to slingshot kids into a new social class, to make sure they’re ready to win in a rapidly changing world, and to nurture empathetic citizens who feel both ownership of and duty toward their community.
I went to public schools, I teach in a public school, and I own a home whose property value is tied inextricably to the excellent local public schools. Someday, I'll send my own future children to a public school. Whether or not you have kids, schools matter for all of us -- and that’s why public education is my top priority.
Schools are going to be a top priority in the Assembly, too. The education funding experts advising the influential Kirwan Commission reported that Maryland’s public schools are underfunded by $3 billion. The readjustment of the state funding formulas is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reshape schools across Maryland. Let’s use it.
In Annapolis, I’ll fight for...
State education aid that reflects Montgomery County’s growing need. The county is not the posh, sleepy suburb it once was, and we need the rest of the state to understand that fact, especially as the statewide Kirwan Commission prepares to issue recommendations and chart a course for the next generation. If we want to improve outcomes for all students in the county, we have to fight for resources. And that increased spending should come from the state’s general fund and a renewed commitment for casino revenues to be supplemental to state funding levels that show a real commitment to student success.
Computer Science classes at every high-school in the state, and resources to start at every middle school in the county. That means training teachers, adopting standards, and securing funding while not taking away from other creative disciplines like the arts. This is how we win the future. As important education legislation packages make their way through the Assembly during the two or three years after the Kirwan Commission report, I’ll advocate for STEM resources that show real dedication to student success.
The end of the opportunity/achievement gap. This problem is the result of hundreds of years of economic/housing inequity, school funding injustice, and structural racism. I've been a teacher long enough to know that the usual political lip service is not enough to make a dent in the problem. But I'll advocate for programs and funding that emphasize recruiting/coaching/retaining outstanding teachers from diverse backgrounds; state testing requirements that leave more time for learning while still giving us valuable data; and school climate that makes every student feel comfortable and ready to learn.
School construction funding that gets our kids out of portables and helps us accommodate the 3000 students of annual growth in MCPS.
- Public schools that serve all kids, not private school vouchers. State dollars should go first to public schools, especially considering the nearly $3 billion in unmet needs they face.