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What Does Maryland Legislation Mean To YOUR Child?

As the Maryland General Assembly ended Monday, many of the bills passed dealt with education. Most people don't know which bills were passed, much less how these bills will impact them and their children.

House Bill 945/SB 771 - Initial Teacher Certification: Almost everyone knows that Maryland is suffering a teacher shortage. In many jurisdictions, classes are crowded, teachers are teaching out of area, or classes are simply not offered or covered. This bill attempts to alleviate that problem by allowing more people to get certified. It will allow more people to move from another career into teaching. One of the problems of the bill is that it will also allow the State of Maryland to make certain changes to the skills needed to be a teacher. This might mean that your child's teacher will be trained in counseling but may not have basic academic skills.

House Bill 1493 - Public and Nonpublic Schools – Child Sex Offenders – Prohibition on In–Person Attendance: This bill, passed last minute by the Maryland Legislature, will be a plus for any child in a public or private school. The text of the bill prohibits a child from in–person attendance at a public school or a nonpublic school that receives State funds if the child has been convicted or adjudicated delinquent of certain offenses; requiring each local school system to provide alternative educational options for children prohibited from in–person attendance in a certain manner; and generally relating to the prohibition of in–school attendance by children convicted or adjudicated delinquent of certain offenses.

This bill was authored and sponsored by: Delegates Mangione, Adams, Anderton, Arentz, Bouchat, Buckel, Chisholm,Fisher, Ghrist, Grammer, Griffith, Guyton, Hartman, Hinebaugh, Hornberger, Howard, Hutchinson, Jacobs, S. Johnson, Kipke, R. Long,McComas, Metzgar, Miller, M. Morgan, T. Morgan, Nawrocki, Otto, Pippy,Reilly, Rose, Schmidt, Stonko, Szeliga, Tomlinson, Valentine, and Wivell.

Thanks to them, your child will not have to go to school and sit next to a dangerous felon. Thanks also to FOX 45 and Chris Pabst for reporting on the story that spurred this legislation.

Senate Bill 33 - More Opportunities for Career–Focused Students Act of 2024: This bill will require that schools inform students about career opportunities and training, including apprenticeships in much the same way the inform them of post-secondary academic education. This is a plus for those students who don't want to go to college but want to get career training/apprenticeships out of high school.

Senate Bill 738 - Freedom to Read Act: Don't let the title of this bill fool you. It is about the Progressive's right to control local jurisdictions and school districts when it comes to books that will be in the libraries. It will also complicate the method for parents to challenge pornographic books that may be in their child's school media center. It limits challenges to school library books to parents, students, teachers and school staff only, thus denying the tax paying public their right to determine what reading materials their tax dollars pay for.

Another interesting part of this bill is that it gives protection to school and county employees, librarians, that will keep them for being fired for refusing to follow county and school policies.

This means you will have to monitor the books your child checks out of the school and public libraries. But, in today's times, this is nothing new.

HB 4 - Institutions of Higher Education - Admissions Standards - Prohibition on Consideration of Legacy Preference or Donor Preference: If your child is going to a college that receives State funds, this bill prohibits certain institutions of higher education from considering a legacy preference or donor preference as an eligible criterion for admissions standards at the institution; and generally relating to admissions standards and institutions of higher education.

HB 76 - Health Occupations - Pharmacists - Administration of Vaccines: This is another one of those sneaky bills that may sound good to a beleaguered parent who doesn't want to schedule a doctor's appointment for vaccines but this is another bill that can cause more trouble than it solves. The harm is in the wording because now children as young as three can get vaccines at your neighborhood pharmacy as long as there is an "adult caregiver" with the child. That may not always be a custodial parent or relative.

In short, make sure you can trust anyone left in charge of your child.

HB 200 - Community Schools - Alterations: If you don't know what Community Schools are, you will. These are schools in your school district that will be providing "wraparound services" to students who attend there and their families. These wraparound services include medical, dental, vision, expanded school-based health care centers, additional social workers, mentors, counselors, THERAPISTS, psychologists, and restorative practice* coaches.

Community schools provide family and community engagement and supports, including informing parents of academic course offerings, language classes, workforce development training, opportunities for children, and available social services as well as educating families on how to monitor a child’s learning.

They will enhance student enrichment experiences, including educational field trips, partnerships, and programs with museums, arts etc.

As a parent, some of this may sound great. One stop shopping for everything right? Well, first of all, these schools are specifically designed for certain areas with a high concentration of poverty. That means that not all students in a district will receive the same level of services as those provided in "community schools."

Also, the idea of a mental health therapist having open access to your child should scare any parent as should the implementation of "restorative practices" which are mental health therapies for ALL kids whether they need it or not. Those who have behavior issues will not face consequences for their bad actions, but soft-spoken therapy and time out of class.

If your child is in one of these schools, monitor what you sign on enrollment and demand that you are notified about and give permission for any treatment, physical or mental, given to your child.

We're not claiming that the staff have ill intent at these schools, but we support parents being involved in what happens to their child while in school.

There are more bills that will affect Marylanders more as they become law on July 1st. Next year, some of the bills that didn't get through this year will be brought up again next year.

We encourage parents and taxpayers to know your local legislators, be involved in the political process, attend school board meetings, etc.

Here is the website to follow Maryland Legislation:

April 13, 2024

Jan Greenhawk is a former teacher and school administrator for over thirty years. She has two grown children and lives with her husband in Maryland. She also spent over twenty-five years coaching/judging gymnastics and coaching women’s softball.

Source: This article was originally published on the Easton Gazette.

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