Queen Anne's County Commissioners

From left, Queen Anne’s County Commissioners Steve Wilson, Jim Moran, Chris Corchiarino, Jack Wilson and Philip Dumenil.

CENTREVILLE—The Queen Anne’s County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday, Sept. 28 to write and sign “a letter of disgust” to Gov. Larry Hogan over the selected nominees for the Kirwan Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB), a state-sponsored board tasked with overseeing the execution of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education reform bill.

“They picked basically the worst school systems in the state to represent,” Commissioner Jack Wilson said during the board’s most recent meeting. “And I just think it’s a horrible travesty.”

Wilson, who put the issue on the record during a roundtable discussion, pointed out that four of the nine representatives are from Montgomery County – which has the largest school system in the state – three are from Baltimore City, one comes from Baltimore County, and the last is from Anne Arundel County. Four of the 24 jurisdictions in Maryland are currently represented in the AIB.

“The rural counties were completely shut out,” Wilson said. “Not a single rural county is a part of this, and this is the accountability board that will oversee all of our education in the State of Maryland until the end of time.”

Queen Anne’s County, whose letter will be based on one sent by Caroline County Commissioners earlier this week, is the latest of many jurisdictions and representatives to decry the AIB’s nominees.

According to a press release from Hogan’s office, “there has been a sustained bipartisan outcry” from across the state, including responses by senators Michael Hough, Mary Beth Carozza, Jack Bailey, and Paul Corderman, as well as Del. Kathy Szeliga, who represents Baltimore and Harford counties, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, the Maryland Legislative Latino Caucus, and the Senate Republican Caucus, among others.

“Every student in Maryland deserves access to a world class education and to be fairly represented in the decision-making process that governs school policy,” the governor said in the release. “To operate in a manner that hurts our efforts to further equity and inclusiveness does a tremendous disservice to our young people.”

A “landmark, generational piece of legislation,” according to the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future bill is a multi-billion-dollar plan that seeks to transform Maryland’s education system at the state and local level. According to the Maryland government website, the AIB was established in February by the General Assembly and charged with designing a Comprehensive Implementation Plan for the Blueprint while also accepting similar plans from any unit of government involved in the bill.

In addition to assessing the efficiency of the Blueprint, the AIB also has the option to withhold funding from any agency that does not have an approved implementation plan, according to the Maryland government’s online manual.

“I do not think we can have accountability without accounting for representation from all of Maryland,” QA Commissioner Chris Corchiarino told the Bay Times.

Delegate Steve Arentz, representing District 36 shared the same concerns, endorsing a letter from the Eastern Shore Delegation encouraging the Governor in the push to expand the representation and insure a diverse group representative of our State on this board.

“The Accountability and Implementation Board is critical to the future successes of Maryland’s schools, but only if it is representative of all areas of the state,” the letter noted.

Luke Parker is a journalist and award-winning film critic covering government, schools, crime, and business. To send a tip or question, email lparker@chespub.com. For updates, like Luke Parker — Journalist on Facebook or follow him on Twitter: @lparkernews

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