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Education

Correspondence to Blueprint board seeks guidance, criticizes ‘lack of knowledge’ in school administrators

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Accountability and Implementation Board holds virtual meeting Oct. 13. Screen shot.

For Marylanders who still want to submit written correspondence on the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future vast education draft plan, they have until midnight Wednesday to do it.

There are two ways to submit responses: via email at [email protected], or through the feedback form posted on the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB) website.

The Blueprint is a multi-billion-dollar plan that seeks to revamp education in Maryland by improving early childhood learning, hiring and retaining high-quality and diverse teachers, preparing students for college and technical careers and providing more resources for students in need.

Besides receiving recommendations from educators, advocates and parents, the board will also receive suggestions from advisory committees focused on those four areas.

Rachel Hise, executive director of the AIB, said Tuesday recommendations from two of those committees have been submitted and written correspondence from the other two are scheduled to be received Wednesday.

Correspondence from educators, advocates and residents includes a 10-page letter from Strong Schools Maryland executive director Shamoyia Gardiner. She summarized how the Blueprint plan could be better in all four of those areas that, she said, require “a transformative vision.”

“Ultimately, the success of the Blueprint will depend on the quality of implementation standards the AIB sets in its own operation, the final iteration of the statewide comprehensive Blueprint implementation plan, and the outcome-driven criteria the AIB establishes to define success for students, schools, and school systems,” Gardiner wrote in the letter dated Nov. 10.

“Success will also require the AIB to be resolved in their transformational work, even when facing backlash from those stuck in the status quo and unwilling to co-create an equitable system of world-class public schools,” she said.

Brad Phillips, executive director of the Maryland Association of Community Colleges, told the board in a four-page letter that local school systems must receive adequate funding to implement college and technical education programs.

“Clear guidance is necessary but also, the amount of funding provided and how much will be required to fund pathways is also critical for both our high schools and community colleges to work collaboratively to increase the necessary funding to deliver high quality instruction,” he wrote in a letter dated Monday.

Several letters came to the board Monday and Tuesday from school administrators who criticized the part of the Blueprint plan which proposes that assistant principals and principals spend a percentage of their day teaching students.

Regina B. Rodriguez, an assistant principal at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, outlined some daily and monthly duties she has to find time for such as an impromptu meeting to develop a safety plan for a student “having a breakdown,” responding to some of the 255 emails from staff and parents and reviewing master schedules for the 2023-24 school year.

“Maryland is not only headed for a great teacher shortage, but with the added duties on administrators, there is going to be a shortage of dedicated administrators too,” she wrote. “It is obvious that there is a total lack of knowledge and a great lack of respect for the role that administrators play in schools.”

The Blueprint board is required approve a final comprehensive plan by Dec. 1 and submit it to the General Assembly and the governor.