And other legislative updates in Up the Street this week
MSEA pushes for sustainable workloads and workforce in 2022 legislative priorities
On Wednesday, the legislative session of the 2022 General Assembly will meet, and the MSEA’s legislative priority list this year focuses on limiting the workload of educators and creating safe, healthy and learning environments. favorable for all students.
The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future focus on hiring thousands of additional educators can have a transformative impact on the success of students, profession and schools. Smaller class sizes and improved staff ratios increase the possibility for students and educators to deepen and strengthen their relationships – a crucial step in supporting academic and socio-emotional growth, especially in the aftermath of stress, challenges. trauma and inequalities stemming from the pandemic and the long-term racial and economic injustice. These stronger relationships underpin the life-changing relationships that can develop between educators and students and can set students on the path to success and achievement. They will also help educators reduce the often crippling workloads that plague far too many schools across the state.
But currently in Maryland, like in just eight other states, class size is an illegal subject to negotiate. It cannot be brought up at the bargaining table, even though it has long been a major concern for educators and parents and impacts the amount of individualized attention students receive. The ability to negotiate class size as a student-centered improvement will ensure that Blueprint transformation lives beyond its implementation.
The pandemic has demonstrated that while virtual learning may continue to exist to some extent, it is not optimal. While focusing on the best conditions for in-person learning, MSEA will advocate for clear policies, safeguards and expectations for e-learning. Virtual education must ensure equity and opportunity for all students and educators while protecting quality and connection with local systems. Virtual learning educators should be employees of the local school system, and oversight, operations, and curriculum should be led by local boards.
Mask Mandate Exit Ramps Approved As Omicron Variant Producing The State’s Highest Case Rates
The Administrative Executive Legislative Review Committee (AELR) approved, by 11 votes to 5, emergency regulations that went into effect Wednesday to extend the term by 180 days – until the end of the school year – of the compulsory school mask, unless one of the three conditions is met which allows it to be lifted. These conditions are as follows: 80% of students and school staff in a school are fully immunized; the county where a school is located has at least 80% of the county’s population fully immunized; or a county has experienced a moderate or low transmission rate of coronavirus cases for 14 consecutive days. The options allow the mandate to be lifted in individual schools or in entire districts. Without the AELR’s action, the original masking regulations would have expired on February 25.
Guiding programs moving forward: educators must be part of expert review teams
Implementation of the Blueprint for the Future of Maryland depends on levels of responsibility that include Local Expert Review Teams (ERTs) to visit districts. MSEA has fought to ensure educators are included in ERTs, and now the Maryland State Department of Education has called for the participation of educators and administrators. It is the granular level of involvement that can ensure the Blueprint delivers on its promise to serve all students, regardless of color or zip code. Part-time, ERT members will be responsible for visiting affected schools within Maryland’s 24 school systems to facilitate on-site reviews, focus groups, and pre-visit data reviews and post-visit reports. . More information on ERTs and the application are here.
NEWS AND NOTES
Republicans are suing the congressional district map; Legislative redistribution in progress
Based on the decennial census completed in 2020, Maryland is due to draw new maps of legislative and congressional districts. Some Republicans are trying to reverse the congressional map adopted by the General Assembly in the December special session, although many previous attempts to reverse the district maps have failed. Delegate Neil Parrot (R-Washington) and conservative Judicial Watch have filed a lawsuit and Republican-backed Fair Maps Maryland is also suing to replace the congressional district map drawn by the Maryland Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission (LRAC) and adopted by the General Assembly. The plaintiffs claim that the constitutional requirements of state districts to be compact and to respect natural boundaries and counties also apply to congressional districts, although congressional districts are not referenced in the constitution of the state. ‘State.
The LRAC has also released a proposed map for legislative districts that the Senate Committee on Redistribution and District and the Committee on House Rules and Executive Appointments will consider during the regular session beginning Jan. 12. . This will be a priority action at the start of the session, as the new districts will be used for the 2022 elections and the February 22 filing deadline for candidates in this year’s election.
Counties call for full funding for schools and waiver of the requirement to follow enrollment
Declining public school enrollment associated with the pandemic that threatened to significantly underfund public schools in FY2022 could impact state funding in FY23, unless that the legislature grant the same remedy only for fiscal 22. The education subcommittee of the Maryland Association of Counties Legislative Committee, the Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland and the Maryland Association of Boards of Education wrote to the Senate Speaker Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) and House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) to exclude artificially low 2021 enrollments from school funding decisions for FY 23, as this was done in fiscal year 22.
Prince George County Democrats pick Toles for 25e District House Headquarters
The Prince George County Democratic Central Committee has selected former County Council member Karen Toles to fill the 25e District seat vacated when Delegate Dereck Davis became state treasurer. Toles will complete Davis’ four-year term which ends in one year. She had already submitted a file to run as a candidate in the district.
Republicans address allegations, change course
State House Republicans re-elected Deputy Minority Leader Jason Buckel (R-Allegany). He brought in delegate Haven Shoemaker (R-Carroll) as minority whip on his ticket after minority whip delegate Christopher Adams (R-Middle Shore) disassociated himself from Buckel. Adams ran for the Minority Leader on a ticket with the Minority Whip candidate, Delegate Matt Morgan (R-St. Mary’s).
Campaigns continue to take shape and gain popularity
The state Democratic Party on Wednesday hosted a virtual forum for governorship candidates on education issues (the forum can be viewed here). Still in the gubernatorial race, former Anne Arundel county executive Laura Neuman is considering a gubernatorial bid, which would make her the first female Democrat in the race. Neuman served as county manager as a Republican, but has since become a Democrat. Democratic gubernatorial candidate John King has chosen Michelle Daugherty Siri, executive director of the Women’s Law Center of Maryland, as his lieutenant governor candidate. In the Republican race, former Republican National Committee chairman and Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele has said he will not be running for his party’s nomination for governor this year.
Prominent names are supporting the current candidates for governor and attorney general. More than a dozen Senate and House committee chairs support Tom Perez for the governorship. In the race for Attorney General, US Rep. Anthony Brown (D-4e District) secured the support of Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and State Senator William Smith, chairman of the Senate Judicial Procedures Committee; and retired Judge Katie Curran O’Malley received the support of Senate Majority Leader Nancy King (D-Montgomery), House Majority Leader Eric Luedtke (D-Montgomery) and four Democratic members of Baltimore City Council.
In the 4e Old US House District 25e District Delegate Angela Angel officially shows up to take the seat Brown is leaving. She joins an estate that includes State Delegate Jazz Lewis (D-Prince George’s) and former Prince George State Attorney Glenn Ivey.