CENTREVILLE — During its Nov. 17 work session, the Queen Anne’s County Board of Education was given an introductory overview of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education reform bill.
Breaking down the 235-page bill, QACPS Director of Accountability and Implementation Matthew Kibler went through the plan’s five policy areas: early childhood education, high-quality and diverse teachers and leaders, college and career readiness pathways, more resources to ensure all students are successful, and governance and accountability.
The early childhood education area, Kibler said, includes expanded full-day pre-k for 3 and 4-year-old students, as well as increased standards for teachers and programs. Those standards include certified teachers and accredited programs, Kibler said.
The high-quality and diverse teachers and leaders section is designed to attract and retain qualified individuals to teaching roles. This section of the legislation contains a career ladder – with teacher and leadership tracks – that will focus on motivating teachers to grow in their profession as well as in the education field.
Kibler said that while the career ladder builds towards the school-level leadership position, the county would have the option to include district-level leadership as well.
In addition to focusing on college and career readiness – which also includes investments in career and technology education – the blueprint will add several academic, social service, and health resources. Some of those mentioned by Kibler included tutoring and mental health resources, as well as increased funding for special education, English learner students, and technology.
While details are still being figured out at the state level, after a couple of administrative processes, the county school system will be responsible for providing the state with its implementation plan soon after the end of the school year.
First, the Kirwan Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB), a nine-person committee tasked with overseeing the bill’s execution across the state, will distribute its guidelines for the plan on Feb. 15. Then, a follow-up rubric will be developed and distributed by the Maryland State Department of Education on April 1.
The county’s completed implementation plan is due to the AIB on June 15.
Though Kibler said there had been discussions related to shifting the due dates, because they are written into the law, he suggested that QACPS “continue planning” for the June deadline.
“It’s a big bill, but I appreciate that everybody is working together on it,” Kibler said.
Described as a “landmark, generational piece of legislation” by the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future was passed into law in February after the Maryland General Assembly overrode Gov. Larry Hogan’s 2020 veto.
Hogan vetoed the plan because he felt the blueprint – which will direct billions of dollars into education over the next ten years – was irresponsible amidst the economic challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, calling it “all taxes and no results” after its passing.