Maryland’s Innovation

Today’s blog is very important for arts in education people. If the arts are to be taken seriously, we must join the mainstream reform efforts in general, and understand the best ideas in specific, in order to partner well with education improvement. Key among these ideas is finding comprehensive solutions including the one quoted today from Maryland.

“On June 6th, experts from around the country joined NCEE for an in-depth look at the groundbreaking work of the Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education – the most ambitious comprehensive state-wide school reform effort undertaken in the last quarter century.”

National Center for Education and the Economy (NCEE)

Maryland has delivered a bold set of recommendations for state-wide reform. They include things that I have talked about before, including supporting teachers, starting children well through state funded pre-school, and designing a system that delivers students who are college or work ready.

Maryland’s Blueprint4Schools:

In early 2019, The Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education made bold recommendations to the Governor and the State Legislature that span five policy areas:

INVEST IN HIGH-QUALITY EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND CARE: Significantly expand full‑day pre‑school, to be free for all low-income 3‑and 4‑year-olds and available to all other 4-year-olds with fees set at a sliding scale, so that all children have the opportunity to begin kindergarten ready to learn

  • Provide public funding for both public-school based and community based programs and all providers must meet rigorous quality standards to receive funding
  • Increase the supply of early childhood education teachers through tuition assistance and financial support for those pursuing credentials and degrees

ELEVATE TEACHERS AND SCHOOL LEADERS: Raise the pay and status of the teaching profession, including a performance‑based career ladder, a minimum statewide salary, and salaries comparable to similarly educated professionals

  • Redesign schools to be places where teachers are treated as professionals, with a system of incentives and supports—a career ladder—to continuously improve their professional practice and the performance of their students
  • Create a leadership development system that develops leaders at all levels—state, district and school—to give them the vision, skills and knowledge they need to implement the recommendations made in the Commission’s report and manage high-performing schools

CREATE A WORLD-CLASS INSTRUCTIONAL SYSTEM: An internationally benchmarked curriculum that enables most students to achieve “college‑ and career‑ready” status by the end of tenth grade and then pursue pathways that include IB, AP, or Cambridge diploma programs, early college, and/or a rigorous technical education leading to industry‑recognized credentials and high‑paying jobs”

  • Implement a fully-aligned instructional system including curriculum frameworks, syllabi, assessments, clear examples of standard-setting work and formative assessments to keep students on track
  • Establish a College and Career Readiness Standard (CCR) set to global standards and certifies that those who reach it have the required literacy in English and mathematics (and, when practicable, science) to succeed in first-year credit bearing courses in open enrollment postsecondary
    institutions in the state
  • Create a Career and Technical Education and Training (CTE) system that produces graduates ready and qualified to work in in-demand fields that will propel Maryland’s economic future”

PROVIDE MORE SUPPORT TO STUDENTS WHO NEED IT THE MOST: Broad and sustained new support for students and schools that need it the most, by:

  • Preserving the structure of the Thornton funding formulas, with a base funding amount per pupil and weights applied to the base for at-risk students, but updates it by:
    • Increasing the special education weight, to be revisited in two years following completion of a landmark study of the costs of educating students with special needs in Maryland
    • Increasing the weight for Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students
  • Adding additional funding for schools with high concentrations of students living in poverty to fund community schools that coordinate needed social services, before‑and after‑school and summer academic programs and expanded student access to school-based health services.

ENSURE EXCELLENCE FOR ALL: Create an Oversight Board that has the authority to ensure that the Commission’s recommendations are successfully implemented and produce the desired results.

  • Create an Independent Oversight Board that monitors and reports on the status of implementation in schools, districts and agencies across the state; and holds all state and local agencies involved accountable for carrying out their assigned roles.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

Share this article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More from EdSpeak

Discover the tools and strategies modern schools need to help their students grow.

Subscribe to EdSpeak!

The SchoolWorks Lab Blog, connecting teaching to policy through research.