Delegate Kathleen Dumais

Democrat, Maryland House of Delegates District 15

Maryland is a Race to the Top Finalist

From the Office of Speaker Mike Busch, July 27, 2010

The Obama Administration just announced that Maryland is among the 19 finalists for the second round of Race to the Top funding.

If selected, Maryland could receive up to $250M in education funding from the federal government. If Maryland receives the maximum funding, every county in the State could receive additional education funding from the federal government.

You’ll recall that during the 2010 legislative session, the General Assembly passed the Education Reform Act of 2010 (HB1263) that started the third wave of education reform and made Maryland more effective in competing for the Race to the Top funds. The bill passed both chambers with bipartisan support and twenty-two of the 24 school systems supported the State’s application.

The legislation:

o Increases the length of time for a new teacher to achieve tenure from two years to three years. Previously, a teacher was eligible for tenure after two years in Maryland. At two years, Maryland had one of the lowest teacher tenure durations in the country: 33 states require 3 years for teacher tenure and 8 states have more than 4 years.

o Requires schools to provide mentors to new teachers in danger of not achieving tenure.

o Allows counties to provide locally negotiated incentives to attract high-performing teachers to low-performing schools. The legislation allows counties to provide stipends to teachers and principals in the lowest achieving 5% of Title I schools. Incentive pay programs have been piloted in Prince George’s County, and parts of Baltimore City and Queen Anne’s counties. Currently, 90% of Maryland teachers are “highly qualified”, yet Maryland ranks last in the country for distribution of highly qualified teachers to the State’s lowest performing schools.

o Requires student growth data to be a “significant factor” in teacher and principal evaluations.

The Education Reform Act coupled with the 82% increase in education funding since 2002 has lead to Maryland schools being ranked first in the country for two consecutive years by Education Week magazine.

The other finalist states are: Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.

The next step is for each State to conduct interviews with the federal Department of Education and the final awards will be announced in September.

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