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Legislators must override Hogan’s veto of education reform | READER COMMENTARY

William "Brit" Kirwan, who led the Kirwan Commission for education reform, testifies at the joint hearing on the legislation in Annapolis. Feb. 17, 2020
William "Brit" Kirwan, who led the Kirwan Commission for education reform, testifies at the joint hearing on the legislation in Annapolis. Feb. 17, 2020 (Amy Davis)

I am writing in support overriding Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (”Maryland school reform bill: The math doesn’t add up,” Dec. 7). In the past year, disparities in student background have been magnified and inequities have grown larger due to the only means of education brought on by the pandemic — distance learning. The time is now for a 21st century funding formula to correct these centuries-old inequities.

Current funding, based on an outdated 2002 school funding formula, is not equal to the task of bringing unsupported students up to grade level after they’ve worked (or not worked) for months at home alone. For such unfortunate students, and there are doubtless many, schools have once again closed down altogether. The blueprint provides targeted support for such students by providing individual attention and multiple opportunities to get them back on track. The blueprint ensures that there is adequate staff and extra services for these students to help them catch up and be successful in the classroom.

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The blueprint also will expand career and technical education and give thousands of Maryland students job-ready industry certifications right out of high school. We need to assure our future by preparing these now-threatened children for jobs that will make the job market and our economy rebound as well as sustain our local and national governments and our own security in this world.

For students working at or above grade level, the blueprint provides expanded opportunities. Such secondary students, with individualized support, will prepare for college and university studies while still in high school. The blueprint also provides for an increase in teacher salaries and added prep time. These reforms have proven successful in attracting and retaining good teachers.

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As a retired career public schoolteacher, I believe in the schools as both a community service and a common good, just as I believe in the desire and the ability of all students to do well. Given an equal opportunity and the support where needed, students thrive and ultimately succeed. Override the veto!

Dorothea Lankford, Brooklandville

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