Maryland Politicians Have Failed Our Children
The behavior of the teacher unions, public school bureaucrats, and school boards throughout the state of Maryland have been a total disgrace. They have repeatedly and unwarily kept students out of the classroom, limited their access to education, and intentionally excluded parents from the decision-making process. Their actions have led to radical changes in how Maryland children are educated.
A year ago, it was clear that there was no science-based reason not to resume in classroom teaching, as kids are highly unlikely to get COVID-19 or pass the virus. Experience in Europe, Japan, and select states demonstrated that schools – by taking proper precautions - could and did reopen.
Shamefully, state and local politicians in Maryland decided “they know what’s best for us” instead of allowing physicians to guide their patients in the choice best for that individual. Clearly, educating our kids was not a top priority going into the 2021 legislative session. Police reform, business tax waivers, allowing boys to use the girls bathroom, and banning the release of balloons was top of the agenda. None of this matters if society is not educated and there is no work force. Schools are closed and parents can’t return to work. Despite these setbacks, counties are more focused on creating half-days for teachers and sending students home despite the 2-year learning loss. In addition, their is no regard on how this union-pushed half-day agenda impacts parents that work. A parent's scramble for child care to fill the void only adds stress and unnecessary expense to the average citizen. The school system is actually impeding society.
This appalling behavior will have a profound impact on both the short and long-term effects of society. The lack of recovery services, learning delay, student aggression, and the mental health crisis all a direct result of mandating kids to cover their face at school. Marylanders have concluded that the public school system (with all too much ease) has abandoned them and their children.
Prior to COVID-19, Maryland schools were already not doing a good job of education as student test scores and graduation rates were well below the national average. Too often the response has been to dumb down the curriculum or simply advance kids to the next grade even when students are not qualified to move on, to only end in frustration and failure. Ill-prepared for college or vocational tech, what on earth are they doing?
The grim reality is leading to the growing support for more genuine school choice. More than 30 states are creating or expanding educational choice programs. Many states are employing scholarship programs financed by state income tax credits to enable public education choice and end the public school monopoly. Oklahoma just overcame fierce union opposition and substantially expanding its private school scholarship programs. With their reforms, there will be a big push for a massive expansion next year.
A more far-reaching incentive is to have school funds follow the child instead of being restricted to a specific school. The tool for this would be a substantive K-12 Education Savings Account (ESA). These taxpayer accounts would allow eligible parents to use the money not only to send their child to a private school or for a parent to leave a job in order to homeschool, but also to pay for tutoring, online courseware, and textbooks. Dollars would follow the child, not the school. In other words, if you send a child to a non-public school, the per-student cost that the government pays would be transferred from the public school to the alternative one.
What can the citizens do? Ask the local Board of Education, City, and County councils for a letter of support. Contact your Senator and Delegates, ask how they will move this incentive forward. This should be the number one priority going into the 2022 Maryland General Session as elections are around the corner. The teacher union's grip on our schools, short-sightedness, bureaucrat greed, and out-of-touch elected officials have failed our children. If a child’s educational opportunities are based on zip code, then Maryland is not the place to live.
Fellows & Editors
December 13, 2021 Copyright DelmarvaPTC.org