Wins for support staff bonuses, fight against discrimination in schools

And other legislative updates in this month’s Up the Street

Veteran education support professionals Stacy Tayman of Calvert County (left) and Brad Fisher of Baltimore County (right) testified in support of legislation sponsored by Sen. Craig Zucker (center) to improve low ESP wages. Photo (c) Stephen Cherry.


Bills to prevent discrimination and increase salaries for education support professionals become law without Hogan’s signature

Thanks to lawmakers and education advocates, legislation to improve salaries for education support professionals (ESPs) and anti-discrimination measures became law without Governor Hogan’s signature last Friday. Despite Hogan’s silence on both the Anti-Discrimination Act in Bill 850 and the ESP Bonus Bill in Bill 831/Senate Bill 1349, their enactment still marks a success. important for legislators, educators and students. The bills were not included in Hogan’s previous public bill signing ceremonies, and a day before the deadline to sign, veto, or allow bills to become law without his signature, he included them in a group of these.

With HB850, for the first time private schools will be held to the non-discrimination standards that apply to public schools. Sponsored by Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins (D-Montgomery) in the House and Sen. Cory McCray (D-Baltimore City) in the Senate, the legislation prohibits public schools and private schools that receive state assistance from doing discrimination based on race, ethnicity, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. The MSEA and a coalition of allied organizations, including Disability Rights Maryland and FreeState Justice, have fought for this legislation for years, and the urgency to ensure such protections could not be greater.

SB831, sponsored by Sen. Craig Zucker (D-Montgomery), and HB1349, sponsored by Delegate Shaneka Henson (D-Anne Arundel), recognize the work of ESPs during the pandemic with cash bonuses in FY23 and FY24. The MSEA saw this legislation as the next step, but not the last, to improve support staff salaries and a way to address the support staff recruitment and retention crisis.

Hogan blocks guardrails for virtual education and tax relief for union members

Hogan has spent the pandemic criticizing educators’ efforts to provide a comprehensive virtual education and has consistently rejected legislation designed to improve the virtual education experience for all students, vetoing US Bill 1163. House and Senate Bill 362. HB1163, sponsored by Delegate Alonzo Washington (D-Prince George’s), and SB362, sponsored by Senator Paul Pinsky (D-Prince George’s), would have developed specific safeguards to support equity and higher quality virtual education if and when virtual instruction is provided. The MSEA testified in support of the safeguards, which would require the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to provide local school systems with guidance related to teacher professional development and support to implement the virtual education best practices and to establish guidelines for virtual learning. Since the legislature will not reconvene until after the election of a new governor and a new legislature, there will be no opportunity to override Hogan’s misguided veto. The MSEA will build on this year’s work and partner with future legislation to ensure that students receive the education they are due when virtual options are employed.

Hogan also vetoed a modest tax break for union members in Bill 172. Sponsored by former public school teacher and House Majority Leader delegate Eric Luedtke (D-Montgomery), the law would have allowed union dues to be deducted up to $300 from your income tax when filing state taxes.

Capital budget has building funds for K-12, Higher Ed

The $4 billion capital budget that lawmakers and Hogan signed into law on May 16 includes $466.7 million in general obligation debt for public education projects, including $304 million for public education projects. construction of public K-12 schools and $195 million for institutions of higher education, including community colleges.


Education Experts Wanted by Blueprint Accountability and Implementation Board

Educators have the opportunity to advise the Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB) that implements Maryland’s Blueprint for the Future. AIB seeks experts in four key policy areas: early childhood education, student support, career pathways, and high-quality diverse educators. Applications close at midnight June 20 and applicants can use this link.

Teacher shortage and mental health grab lawmakers’ attention

The shortage of educators nationwide and the difficulty in recruiting and retaining them were central to the discussion of the U.S. Department of Education’s budget proposal for the federal fiscal year 2023 during the hearing. from the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies on May 25. “The profession is in crisis,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona told lawmakers.

Cardona requested $468 million in its proposed budget to expand the community schools program to 800 schools across the country. He highlighted the need for mental health supports as part of expanded holistic services to address pandemic recovery, poverty, inequity and other conditions that can lead to family and community crises, such as domestic violence. ‘school. Items in the proposed budget include $1 billion to hire mental health staff and provide mental health training to educators, $350 million for recruitment and retention of educators, and a $1,775 increase (10%) per student for Pell Higher Education Scholarships.

Cardona Elementary School Murders Outrage; Educators support the action

Following the murder of 19 fourth graders and two teachers, Cardona also addressed the terrors of gun violence in schools with the Congressional committee. “We need help, and we need help now. … The time for thoughts and prayers alone is over. We need action,” Cardona said a day after the school shooting. Uvalde students and educators are the latest victims of decades-long school gun violence as the NRA and many Republican lawmakers blocked laws to restrict access to weapons of war the shooter d’Uvalde and others have used.

Committed to the safety of students and educators, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) continue to call for tougher laws to limit access to firearms, ban firearms, assault like Maryland did and pass a national red flag law like Maryland’s to prevent those who pose a threat to themselves or others from being able to buy a gun, among other measures. They are holding rallies for National Gun Violence Awareness Day (Friday, June 3) demanding a future without gun violence and establishing Wear Orange Weekend June 3-5, asking their supporters to wear orange in the honor of communities affected by armed violence.

Chronic inaction by federal leaders on gun safety inspired students to lead the March for Our Lives in 2018 after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Florida. Due to the appalling gun violence that has continued to claim student lives since then, they are staging hundreds of protests across the country on June 11, with a large rally in the Mall of Washington, D.C.

Maryland gets AAA bond rating, showing fiscal responsibility

Treasurer Derek Davis announced Thursday that Maryland’s sound financial planning has earned it the highest possible bond rating from the three major bond rating agencies: S&P Global Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings. Maryland is in the enviable position of continuously holding that AAA rating longer than any other state, and that bodes well as Maryland forecasts a $1.05 billion bond sale.


Moore Wins in Polls, Western Democrats Pick Him, Lierman

As the July 19 primary approaches, poll numbers are improving and support for MSEA-recommended candidates is growing. Among Democrats, gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore and delegate comptroller nominee Brooke Lierman (D-Baltimore City) won a straw poll at the Western Maryland Democratic Summit. A recent public poll suggests a two-way gubernatorial primary race, with Wes Moore closing in on Comptroller Peter Franchot, whose poll numbers have been flat for months.

State Approvals, US Races

The endorsements have been rolling out at a rapid pace over the past month. In the gubernatorial race, Wes Moore racked up endorsements for Adrienne Jones, Speaker of the House (D-Baltimore County), Majority Senator Susan Lee (D-Montgomery), Delegate Debra Davis (D-Charles County), Delegate Rachel Jones (D-Calvert and Prince George’s), and former Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler. In the Attorney General race, Anthony Brown received endorsements from Senators Brian Feldman (D-Montgomery) and Ben Kramer (D-Montgomery), Deputy Majority Whip Cory McCray (D-Baltimore City), Delegate Ben Brooks (D-Baltimore County), Delegate Charlotte Crutchfield (D-Montgomery), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 3, State of Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO, American Federation of government, the Transport Workers Union of America and NARAL Pro -Choose Maryland. And in the comptroller race, U.S. Representative John Sarbanes, Baltimore County Council Chairman Julian Jones, Maryland Professional Firefighters (International Association of Firefighters), State of Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Locals 32BJ and 1199 have endorsed Brooke Lierman.

In the race for Congress from Maryland 4e district seat vacated by former 4 Anthony Browne District Representative Donna Edwards was officially endorsed by the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education PAC and also received an endorsement from United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.