Wednesday, July 8, 2020
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Hogan won’t sign ESSA plan for Maryland

Gov Larry Hogan, Republican of Maryland, said he wouldn’t endorse the state school board’s plan for turning around low-performing schools, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Hogan at a cabinet meeting, Sept. 14 (Joe Andrucyk / Flickr CC)

State board members were hamstrung by a new law, he said, one that limits ways they can reform the bottom 5 percent of schools in the state. Mr Hogan vetoed the Protect Our Schools Act earlier this year, but the Democratic legislature met to override the veto.

The plan for accountability will soon head to the US Department of Education, which will determine if the plan complies with new federal requirements in the Every Student Succeeds Act that govern funding for schools. Mr Hogan’s decision not to endorse the plan won’t keep the feds from approving it, but the Republican administration in Washington might take his refusal to sign off on it as a strong message, the Washington Post reports.

The plan reduces the weight of test scores in the formulas used for determining how schools are doing, compared to the weight given to test scores in the past. The Maryland State Education Association, the teachers’ union that represents almost every public school teacher in the state, enthusiastically supported the new Maryland law, mainly because it forced the state to count standardized test results for no more than 65 percent of a school’s grade.

As for giving the governor what he wanted—more test-based accountability—there wasn’t much the state board could have done in drafting the accountability plan, especially if they wanted to keep it compliant with the new state law. But that was only one part of Mr Hogan’s objection to the plan, according to a brief report on WYPR-FM. He also objected to how the state plans to intervene when a school is identified as failing.

  • Rivalries and Political Infighting Marked States’ ESSA Planning (Ed Week)

Mr Hogan “is kind of doubling down on this right-wing school reform agenda,” the Sun quoted Delegate Eric Luedtke, a Montgomery County Democrat, as saying. “I think somebody needs to explain to the governor there are more ways to improve schools than privatization.”

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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