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Readers Respond

Maryland must honor its commitment to equitable school funding | READER COMMENTARY

In 2019, leading Democrats in the Maryland General Assembly advocated for The Blueprint for Maryland's Future, a 10-year plan to improve education in the state during a news conference Tuesday, March 5, 2019 in Annapolis. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

With respect to the article, “Maryland’s $3.8 billion ‘Blueprint’ plan for educational reform hits early funding, timeline snags” (Feb. 17), the Maryland Education Coalition strongly opposes further delays to the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future implementation and any step back from investments in our children’s future.

Maryland is poised to set the pace for our nation with the novel and progressive Blueprint. Restoration of the $140 million gap in Gov. Larry Hogan’s education budget and, more specifically, the $126 million for Prince George’s County and Baltimore is paramount. Not to do so will undermine a fundamental principle of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future which is to provide equitable public education opportunities for all students regardless of ZIP code. It can’t be stated enough that the Education Effort Adjustment axed by the governor in his proposed budget is not a frill — it’s vital to assuring that chronically underserved students get the kind of excellent education necessary for their benefit and for the good of all Marylanders.

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The governor’s office claims that the Education Effort Adjustment is not mandated. We disagree, but moreover, we believe that a mandate is not the bellwether for what is right and wise. For 40 years, our cadre of education experts at the Maryland Education Coalition have successfully advocated for adequate and equitable funding for Maryland’s schools, but in recent years funding did not meet inflationary pressures. With our current surplus, there is no sound reason for further delays. The time is now to honor the commitment we’ve made to our children.

Shanetta Martin, Baltimore

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The writer is co-chair of the Maryland Education Coalition.

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